Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2015

International Migrants Day

December 18 -- International Migrants Day, Día international del migrante, Journée internationale des migrants.

The best things to do on this day, rather than bringing up a controversial topic that people do not want to discuss honestly, or showing a photo that people want to dismiss as an anomaly, would be to ask 1) do you know what migrants are doing around the world right now, as most of us are staying cozy at home and preparing to relax with family? And 2) have you done an Internet search for photos of migrants (who happen to be reaching a record number in 2015)? If one does the latter, one will not have much left to discuss or be able to dismiss migrant crises around the world.

Le Symbole, les symboles

veuillez m'aider à comprendre les usages et les distinctions entre ces définitions (générale, saussurienne, et freudienne) :
Il faut dire tout d'abord que le mot "symbole" a beaucoup de définitions. Si nous considérons le dictionnaire Trésor, il'y a deux catégories principales avec plusieurs définitions dans chaque catégorie. Mais prenons-en une assez générale et compréhensible pour nous fixer un point de départ :  "Signe, objet matériel ou formule, servant de marque de reconnaissance entre initiés."
Tournons ensuite au symbole saussurien. 

Et le symbole freudien ? Voilà le problème. Il y'en a plusieurs, puisque Freud emploie ses mots, même les termes techniques, très librement.


“If structuralism divided the sign from the referent, [...] [post-structuralism] goes a step further: it divides the signifier from the signified” (Eagleton, Literary Theory, p. 111).

Branches of Linguistics

So how do you categorize the multitudinous subcategories of linguistics? I am going to go with the following five divisions (a.k.a., categories, domains, fields, specializations):

1. Foundational Linguistics
2. Theoretical Linguistics
3. Descriptive Linguistics
4. Applied Linguistics
5. Mathematical Linguistics

Please feel free to quibble with this organizational schema. Feel free to entirely overthrow it, for that matter. It is just what makes the most sense to me for now.

These are all generally accepted categories except for the term “Foundational Linguistics.” I could call that category “General Linguistics” but the other gets more at what I mean. Plus, I am already using the tag/label “general linguistics” on this blog to refer to general (non-technical, non-domain-specific, I-don't-want-to-worry-about-classifying) discussions of linguistics and language.

So “Foundational Linguistics” refers to what a linguist cannot not know (and must know in the following alphabetical order, or el…

"One River, One Boat"

The poet laureate of South Carolina, the state I live in, is Marjory Wentworth. She has written and read a poem for every gubernatorial inauguration since she became poet laureate in 2003. Yesterday, January 14, 2015, Governor Nikki Haley had her second inauguration, but this time the governor's office informed Wentworth that she would not be reading a poem this time. She had already written a (fairly political) poem that speaks forcefully to the state's contemporary life and identity. The stated reason for which she was not included was time. Two minutes to read a poem simply would not fit into the governors inaugural schedule. The reader may be the judge of the sincerity of that reason, but in any case, I wanted to share the poem. It manages both to express local identity and a state's social imaginary and to balance that with the need for constant revision of such imaginaries and for introspection and self-examination in regard to identity. Note especially the first an…