Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) is generally considered one of the main founders of modern linguistics and semiotics. The book that was derived from his teaching, the Course in General Linguistics, had a lasting impact on the intellectual life of the 20th century and remains today an object of debates and controversies.
This Guide for the Perplexed introduces the reader to the ways in which Saussure developed his revolutionary insights on language in the context of the linguistics of his time. It also provides clear definitions and explanations of the basic notions that form the substance of his work, with relevant examples of how they apply to the understanding of language and other symbolic systems. The book demonstrates how Saussure's ideas have subsequently been used in the humanities and social sciences. It concludes by pointing to the continuing relevance of the theoretical and practical problems that were articulated by Saussure.
This is the ideal book for those studying Saussure, structural linguistics or semantics and semiotics, offering a clear overview and explanation of all the key aspects of this fascinating linguist's work.
"During the last decade, the tide has turned in Saussure studies. No longer the reference point of a half-baked structuralism (and some even more foolish cultural theory) based on a book he never even wrote, Saussure is coming to be regarded as a remarkable linguist in his own right, making a significant contribution to the understanding of communication and culture. The current volume, by someone who is not just a competent semiotician but a giant of contemporary semiotics, explains and assesses Saussure's bequest to sign study. Paul Bouissac's Saussure: A Guide for the Perplexed prints the bigger picture, not just the legend, and helps to open up a whole new era in the analysis of the cultural sign." Paul Cobley, Reader in Communications London Metropolitan University, UK