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Course in General Linguistics Paperback – June 28, 2011

ISBN-13: 978-0231157278 ISBN-10: 0231157274

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (June 28, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231157274
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231157278
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #617,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

I am delighted that Wade Baskin's classic translation is back in print, especially since Saussy and Meisel's judicious updating and summary of recent scholarly discoveries make this an invaluable resource for English readers.

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Good edition - cheap and easy to read.
LES MOTS
This work is easy to read and provides a foundation to much of modern linguistics, social psychology, anthropology, philosophy and, one might argue, computer science.
kaioatey
This is where it all begins and the translation of this edition flows well and is perfect for the beginner and novice alike.
Christopher J. Sugar

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Kenaz Filan on April 13, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Saussure is important as a linguist (although many of his theories have since been put out to pasture) ... but he is most important for his contributions to the theory of Structuralism (and, later, Poststructuralism). His idea that you could not study language as individual units, but rather had to examine it as a structure and study how the units interacted within the structure, was enormously influential in modern and postmodern philosophy.
This book is not particularly difficult; it's a bit dry, but what can you expect from a linguistics class? If you read it carefully, you'll have no problem grasping what he is saying... and, when you are done, you will be well on your way to understanding what people like Lacan, Derrida and Foucault are trying to say. (You'll also be well along your way to understanding Claude Levi-Strauss, who attempted to do for anthropology what Saussure did for linguistics). If you want to understand modern philosophy, Saussure is as indispensible as Marx or Freud. Combine this with *Saussure for Beginners* and you'll pick up Saussure's train of thought in no time.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Vinay Varma on July 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book comprised from lecture notes of Saussure to his students in Geneva (compiled posthumously by his students) is a work which changed the course of lingustics since its publication. In this book he makes distinctions which have later become central to discussions of linguistics like:

1. Sign as the unity of signifier (letters, sounds, image) and signified (meaning implied by the signifier)

2. Language (langage) as the unity of langue (code - language as a system) and parole (usage)

3. Syncrhonic (language as static system) and diachronic lingustics (langauge as an ever changing, evolving system)

4. Retrospective (language evolution so far) and prospective linguistics (future evolution of a language).

Many linguists have added a cloud of debate over these concepts, but non explains as lucidly as the master who propounded these. For those confused bout semiotics, semiology etc., this work is a reference point for the original meaning of the term 'semiology' as intended by Saussure. Many of Saussure's binary distinctions became the central to an approach to social sciences called structuralism which still holds sway in social sciences.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Christopher J. Sugar on February 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
If you need to know the foundation of structuralism then you need to read this book. This is where it all begins and the translation of this edition flows well and is perfect for the beginner and novice alike.

One problem with this translation that potential readers should be aware of: If you are reading this to get a better understanding of the terms used by structuralists (signifier and signified) then you need to get the other version. This edition uses the words signification and signal.

Although the rest of text is fine, the exclusion of signifier and signified is, I believe, the only major drawback to the book since these were the terms adopted by structuralist and post-structuralist.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Steward Willons VINE VOICE on September 3, 2009
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What is there to say about Ferdinand de Saussure's most important work that I could possibly say in a short Amazon review? This is a foundational work of incredible importance. If you're looking at this listing, I probably don't need to sell you on the book itself.

My comments strictly pertain to this particular edition (ISBN 978-1443253352 - Philosophical Library publishing) because I found it very disappointing. I assumed that because the publishing date was later, there had been some improvement to the translation, a new critical introduction, or some other such feature. There are no such features to be found. You get Saussure's text and that's it.

The real outrage is in the incredibly poor printing. Much of the book looks like it's actually a photo-copy. In fact, a number of pages have blemishes on the text, as if there was a hair between the page and Xerox machine. It literally looks like this edition was photo-copied from a previous edition. I've never seen anything like it.

My advice is to avoid this edition and buy one of the earlier, more inexpensive ones. You're certainly not getting any additional quality for the increased price. This will be the last title I purchase from Philosophical Library Publishers.

Fredinand de Saussure's Course in General Linguistics - FIVE Stars
This edition - ZERO Stars
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A critical reader on August 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
Many of these comments pertain earlier editions of this work, but readers should be aware that the 2011 Coulmbia University Press edition is a big improvement. Using Wade Baskin's classic translation, it includes introductory material and notes that take account of recent scholarship, including the discovery of a lot of new material by Saussure himself.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Fateh A. Bazerbashi on November 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
The thirties of the last century cradled the birth and growth of structuralist Linguistcs in many horizons like phonology ,grammar , etc ... and if we were about to ask who embraced that stream , we would - undebatably - find the name of Ferdinand De Saussure.

This fine book of his explained his structural approach to language and established a series of theoretical distinctions that have become basic to the study of linguistics.

Saussure made a differentiation between the (actual speech) or what we call a spoken language ,and the knowledge underlying speech that speakers share about (what is) grammatical.

For Saussure speech represents instances of grammar and the mission of the linguist is to find the underlying rules of a particular language from examples found in speech.

this is different than the descriptivist's p.o.v ,since the structuralist sees grammar as a set of relationships that account for speech ,rather than a set of instances of speech.

Once you grasp the main concepts of this oeuvre you can go further by reading Bloomfield's works on Structuralism.
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