The Value of Signs: Saussure’s rebuttal
We’ve reached the final installment of our series on Ferdinand de Saussure and the scintillating study of semiology. In our last post we left our friend Saussure in a rather unflattering light, when we explored the first scientific evidence against his hypothesis: that the relationship between the sign (a word) and the signified (the concept a word represents) might not be as arbitrary as Saussure …
Why do sounds close to “mama” appear in so many languages?
Mother, maman, mommy, amma, mama, em, mum, mamma, mutter, mare, maty, ana . . . Across languages an uncanny pattern appears for the word “mother.” Why? Is it evidence of universal language? Is this evidence of sound symbolism at work, when a phoneme (sound) has meaning completely unto itself? If you are a linguist, baby talk is not a cute and meaning-lite semi-language used with …
Origin of linguistic universal
First recorded in 1970–75
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019