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The Cours de Linguistique Générale Revisited: 1916-2016

The Third Polis Institute Interdisciplinary Conference


Prof. Christophe Rico, Pablo Kirchuk

In 1916, three years after the death of Ferdinand de Saussure, the Cours de linguistique générale (CLG) was published in Geneva. This foundational work marked the beginning of a discipline that has profoundly influenced the development of the humanities ever since.

What sources influenced the CLG? Do the main concepts of this seminal work have the same validity today as they did in 1916? How has the recent development of language sciences influenced its reception? How does this text account for meaning and communication within the context of speech (parole)?

In order to explore these questions, one hundred years after the publication of Ferdinand de Saussure's seminal work on General Linguistics, Polis--The Jerusalem Institute of Languages and Humanities held an interdisciplinary conference that gathered 14 international specialists from various disciplines: general linguistics, pragmatics, philology, dialectology, translation studies, terminology, and philosophy.

The first section of this work reassesses the sources and further influence of the CLG on modern linguistics. The book's second part discusses some of the main concepts and dichotomies of the CLG (constitution of the linguistic method, arbitrariness of sign, main dichotomies), under the light of both the original manuscripts and recent linguistic developments (influence of dialectology or translation studies). The third and last part handles the pragmatic and semantic dimensions of language, suggesting new avenues of reflection that could not yet have been fully taken into account within the CLG itself.

Uniting 14 scholarly articles, together with an introduction, an index locorum and a collective bibliography, this volume hopes to encourage readers with its reappraisal and reinterpretation of Saussure's ground-breaking work and thus contribute to the future development of linguistics and humanities.