Speech Is Not The Same Thing

768 Words Mar 22nd, 2016 4 Pages
People usually speak because they want to communicate with one another. However, most people do not realize that speech and language are not the same thing. Michael Agar (1994) says that speech is how an individual uses language to communicate. Thus, speech is dependent on what a person says, so “there’ll be individual and social variation” (p.37). In comparison,
Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure developed a model to explain language as a system consisting of signs and symbols and the order in which these are placed is what “ties them together” (Agar 1994, p. 37). It has come to be known as Saussurian systems, which may seem abstract but can be found in our everyday interactions. According to Saussure, “the symbol, the unit of study, the thing one grabs on to and focuses on [is] a sign” (Agar 1994, p.39). He also said that a sign is made up of two parts: the signifier and the signified. In his book, Semiotics: The Basics, Chandler (2002) defines the signifier as being “commonly interpreted as the material (or physical) form of the sign- it is something that can seen, heard, touched, smelled, or tasted” (p. 24). Therefore, “when the perceivable sound (a signifier) means something (a signified) to the people who perceive it, then the two together make up a sign…”(Agar 1994, p. 40). One of the examples we discussed in class was how if you hear barking, you assume and come to the conclusion that there must be a dog nearby. The signifier is the barking, and the signified…
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