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Saussure's Philosophy of Language as PhenomenologyUndoing the Doctrine of the Course in General Linguistics$
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Beata Stawarska

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190213022

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190213022.001.0001

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Saussure’s general linguistics as linguistic phenomenology

Saussure’s general linguistics as linguistic phenomenology

(p.120) 5 Saussure’s general linguistics as linguistic phenomenology
Saussure's Philosophy of Language as Phenomenology

Beata Stawarska

Oxford University Press

This chapter challenges the dominant structuralist reading of Saussure by resituating his project within its historical context and documenting the formative influence of the Polish theoretical linguists Baudouin de Courtneay and Mikolaj Kruszewski, whose idea was to develop “something like a phenomenology of language.” It traces the phenomenological impetus in Saussure’s autographed writings, populated as they are with references to the phenomenon, the speaking subject, language acts, and consciousness, and shows that this influence is largely effaced within the edited version of the Course. It draws on materials from Saussure’s Nachlass to make the case for a consciousness structured like a language, with a focus on linguistic innovation by analogy. The chapter suggests abandoning the official doctrine associated with Saussure’s general linguistics, considering that the distinctions between la langue and la parole, and synchrony and diachrony, were drawn within the ongoing process of analogical innovation, without opposition or hierarchy.

Keywords:   Baudouin de Courtneay, Mikolaj Kruszewski, linguistic phenomenology, analogy, linguistic innovation, la langue, la parole, synchrony, diachrony, Saussure’s Nachlass

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