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February 5, 2007

The Study of Signs

Murfin and Ray, Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

While reading Hirsch’s essay “Objective Interpretation” I had to kick myself because I didn’t have my Beford Guide with me and he kept using the words “parole” and “langue.” I still understood the main points of the essay because he was fairly good at explaining his points, but it annoyed me to keep reading these words that I didn’t know. So when I looked them up, both referred me to the section on semiotics, which is the “study of signs, sign systems, and the way meaning is derived from them” (436). I thought this was really interesting because it even encompasses things such as facial expression and other body language. In terms of language though, parole, which is French for word, has to do with the relationship between the words that are around (before and after) each other in text and the meaning of a specific word in terms of the other words around it. Langue is more about the relationship with a system of language. For example, the word “blog” has the meaning it does for all of Jerz’s students because we all share a knowledge of that meaning in terms of the English language.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at February 5, 2007 10:02 PM


Great example. I'm glad to see you thinking of how the assigned readings work together, since the ability to make complex cross-references and synthesize knowledge from multiple sources is extremely important in the 21st C, where access to data is quick and easy, but turning that data into useful knowledge still takes considerable time and mental effort. I see great evidence of that kind of effort here. Keep up the great work, Lorin.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 6, 2007 7:55 AM

I liked your connections. I too was kicking myself for not having my dictionary with me while reading the Hirsch essay. I liked your connections back to the present day. I didn't really understand these words until I read your explaination. Great job Lorin.

Posted by: Tiffany at February 7, 2007 11:31 PM

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