By Lia Formigari
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Then, and only then, have we a concord and a discourse with the immediate emergence of the primitive combination, which we may call the most primitive of discourses” (Sophist 262c–d). ). , the capacity of the elements of a system to relate to one another according to certain rules) has a syntactic presupposition (the fact that its elements are ordered in a certain way) and a semantic one (the fact that its elements are signifying words). Both criteria are actualized in sentences formed by onoma and rhema.
It is also useless to try to point out objects: this can be done only for names, and only for names of things that are material and in our presence, and even in this case, only in relation to their visible qualities. ) (X, 34). Not even the language of the deaf-and-dumb or of mimes can escape the vicious circle that leads from words to words, from signs to signs, since movements and gestures are also signs (III, 5–6). In the following paragraphs, Augustine presents a series of metalinguistic observations in support of the above theory.
Not even the language of the deaf-and-dumb or of mimes can escape the vicious circle that leads from words to words, from signs to signs, since movements and gestures are also signs (III, 5–6). In the following paragraphs, Augustine presents a series of metalinguistic observations in support of the above theory. There are cases in which a sign denotes a class that includes the sign itself: ‘word’ is a word and therefore signiﬁes itself along with all other words (IV, 10). In the sentence “utrum homo sit homo”, the word homo (man) can be considered from the viewpoint of the sign (the word man) or from the viewpoint of the thing it means (a man: VIII, 24).