While it is easy to jump over Saussure's, shall we say, pure sign theory and go straight to applications or theories that grew out Saussure's discussion of sign, the four fundamentals of sign as posited by Saussure are still the critical underpinnings. These four fundamental assumptions of sign posited by Saussure, as spelled out by Columbia University's Media Center, are that sign is: diadic, arbitrary, relational, differential.
Sign Is Diadic: That sign is diadic means it is based on two: it has two inseparable parts or components. Sign may not be considered as a singular concept. The diadic parts are the signifier and that which is signified: signifier/signified. These are inseparable in experience. If we use the signifier "couch," there is a signified object or concept that is inseparably associated with it. At the same time, "couch" refers to multiple signifieds, such as your idea of Country plaid and my idea of Contemporary stuffed leather.
Sign Is Arbitrary: Signs developed through the...
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