Language and Communication

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


When one science is successful it is almost always besieged by others seeking to borrow its principles, its methods, its concepts, or its techniques. The fame of Linnaeus and his System of Nature touched off wave after wave of systems and systematics. Cuvier’s reconstructions, which founded paleontology upon comparative anatomy, gave birth to an endless variety of comparative attempts. Each epoch believes itself safe from what it considers scientific childhood diseases which attack only preceding centuries. However, it may suffice to observe our present-day scientific life along the model propounded by Serge Moscovici in La Psychanalyse, son image et son public,1 to be persuaded to the contrary. A detached observation of the past and present uses of the words cybernetics, information, structure, and signifier, for example, besides providing us with a catalogue of scientific blunders necessary for anyone’s mental hygiene, would prove that our epoch, too, even in the scholarly and scientific world, is not immune from the ravages of fashion. We, too, use certain words which are otherwise scientific in a quasi-magical, and thus purely literary mode.


Linguistic Communication Linguistic Activity Literary Mode Universal Subject Word Communication 
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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  1. 2.
    See G. Mounin, “La Notion de code en linguistique,” in Linguistique contemporaine. Hommage à Eric Buyssens ,Edition de l’Institut de Sociologie (Université Libre de Bruxelles, 1970), pp. 141–149.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Eric Buyssens, La Communication et l’articulation linguistique (1943; rpt. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1967) pp. 12–26.Google Scholar
  3. 9.
    G. Mounin, Introduction à la sémiologie (Paris: Minuit, 1970), pp. 195–217.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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