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If you want to know more: paradigmatic selection and syntagmatic combination

I am still doubtful about Barthes’s assertion in Mythologies, according to which every linguistic object is, to start off with, “pure matter” (1993: 109), to be linguistically formed in any way imaginable. I don’t know whether there is not also a kind of Piercean referential potential in words which is actualized in language use.

Be that as it may, words are very malleable, may start here and end God knows where, and the original location and direction of the keywords featured above obeys the laws of the well-known Saussurean distinction between paradigmatic selection and syntagmatic combination:

This gives rise to a multiplication of possible meanings, for while the keywords listed above are associated more or less intuitively with a specific dimension, they are also amenable to belong to another dimension, depending on the way such a keyword is constructed in the text, i.e. depending on the words which surround the keyword.

work cited

Barthes, Roland. Mythologies. London: Vintage, 1993.

daniel.candel@uah.es ©2008 Daniel Candel Bormann