Thayanne LIMA

The Harvard manuscripts and the first course on general linguistics

The saussurian studies present great emphasis in the manuscripts research of Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913), these contain thousands of manuscripts pages that, in their majority, hold the genevan's reflections around the linguistics studies. It is possible to find in these manuscripts a group of pages, catalogued in Harvard, which exposes issues concerning phonetics and phonology and, because of that, these pages become essential for the analysis of his thought. Therefore, this presentation aims to analyze this material in order to investigate the saussurian's formulation movement confronted with the theory to be found in the Course in General Linguistics.

The Harvard manuscripts are known by this name because they were catalogued in Houghton Library at Harvard University. Their writings content, more specifically in the phonetics notebook, focus on subjects such as sound, phoneme, acoustic, phonetics and other issues around this matter. This content attracts our attention because it seems to present a movement around Saussure's formulations that are related to the theme of his first lectures on general linguistics in Université de Genève. Thus, despite the difference in years of the manuscripts – presumed from 1880's – and the first lectures at the university in 1907, it appears that Saussure was already attentive to the theme around the sound which was later essential to the founding of modern Linguistics.

We aim to raise elements present in the Harvard manuscripts and the first lectures in the course of general linguistics so that we can figure out a movement in Saussure's formulation. With this analysis, we attempt to get to the key elements that led the genevan linguist to the definitions of sound, phoneme and acoustic image – key concepts to the theory of the linguistic sign and the founding of the modern Linguistics. We will return to the study of different linguists such as Jakobson (1969), Marchese (2009), Joseph (2012), Parret (2014) and D'Ottavi (2014) as basis of our analysis.

D'OTTAVI Giuseppe. Nine Easy Pieces: Les manuscrits de Ferdinand de Saussure à Harvard, In : Archives et manuscrits de linguistes. Ed. Valentina Chepiga e Estanislao Sofia. Louvain-la-Neuve: L'Harmattan- Academia, 2014. p. 99-132.

JAKOBSON, Roman. Saussure's unpublished reflections on phonemes. In: Cahiers Ferdinand de Saussure. Revue de linguistique générale, n. 26. Genebra: Published by Cercle Ferdinand de Saussure, Libraire Droz S.A., 1969, p. 5-14.

JOSEPH, John. Saussure. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. 780 p.

KOMATSU, Eisuke ; WOLF, George. Foreword. In : Premier cours de linguistique general. Inglaterra : Pergamon Press, 1996 [1907], p. vii – ix.

MARCHESE, Maria Pia. Les manuscrits saussuriens sur la phonétique, du Mémoire au CLG. In: Cahiers Ferdinand de Saussure. Revue de linguistique générale, n. 62. Genebra: Published by Cercle Ferdinand de Saussure, Libraire Droz S.A., 2009, p. 47-61.

PARRET, Herman. Le son et l'oreille. Paris, 2014. 129p.

SAUSSURE, Ferdinand de. [Phonétique]. In : A.MS. (unsigned). bMS Fr 866 (8). USA : Houghton Library, 1880-1891. 153 f. 177 p.

______. Premier Cours de Linguistique Générale (1907): d'après les cahiers Albert Riedlinger / Saussure's first course of lectures on general linguistics (1907): from the notebooks of Albert Riedlinger. French text edited by Eisuke Komatsu e English text edited by Roy Harris. Inglaterra: Pergamon Press, 1996 [1907]. 166 p.

SURREAUX, L. M. O rastro do som em Saussure. In: Nonada. Porto Alegre, n.1, v.20, 2013.

Abstract as PDF

View file     Download file

Publication as PDF

publication View file

Download file