Semiology in 1980

  • Georges Mounin
Part of the Topics in Contemporary Semiotics book series (TICSE, volume 158)


The word semiology comes from the Greek σημaα and. σημεȸov meaning sign. The Greek usage is the source of an old and vexing confusion because it originally meant not only “sign” with the same meaning that we still assign it today (which will be explained below), but also “indice”1 or “symptom”: in Epicurus, “blood is the sign of the wound.” If, therefore, following the correct etymology, one defines semiology as the science of signs, one then runs the risk of referring to it as a science of symptoms or indices, because this is one of the oldest usages of the term semiology found in French.


Literary History Combinatory Rule Literary Text Current Anthropology Linguistic Sign 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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    R. Barthes, Mythologies (Paris: Seuil, 1957).Google Scholar
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    Julia Kristeva “Sémiologie,” Encyclopaedia Universalis ,14 (1972), 860–863.Google Scholar
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    Jacques Bréhant, 1965, “Commentaires historiques et médicals sur la crucifixion du Christ-Son interpretation dans l’art,” in La Presse Médicale ,Nos. 19, 20, 55: 1, 135–1, 140; 1191-1196; 3235-3240.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Georges Mounin
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ProvenceAix-MarseillesFrance

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