In Revolution in Poetic Language, does Kristeva equate poetic language with the semiotic chora? Are they one and the same? Or, if they are separate, how does she describe their connection?

Expert Answers
e-tdc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Poetic Language is not the same thing exactly as the semiotic chora. However, they do relate in that the semiotic chora helps create the possibility for poetic language. 

Julia Kristeva describes the semiotic chora as the possibility or potentiality of a thing happening. In our case, though, since she is writing about language, the semiotic chora is the potentiality for communication ("a modality of significance in which the linguistic sign is not yet articulated"). For example, one can be driven to utter something, but it may not immediately mean anything to the person saying it or to the one listening. In that moment before it is understood, it is in the semiotic chora. For this definition she refers back to Plato's Timaeus, in which Socrates defined the word chora as space, or the place where things move and flow and where the potential is always held for things to be and act.

In this same way, the semiotic chora provides a framework for poetic language to exist or to become. However, poetic language requires an understood meaning to come out of the semiotic chora. The semiotic chora on its own is all space with no matter to fill it up. The symbolic is what fills up the semiotic chora. The symbolic is any mode of personal expression that must "depend on language as a sign system."

So, poetic language is the result of the semiotic chora being conveyed to us, and understood by us, through the symbolic.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question
Additional Links