Language as semiosis – A short reflection on Paul Rastall’s article

Per Aage Brandt


Paul Rastall’s small models can be understood in a semiotic framework, as functions relating signifiers (‘forms’) to signifieds (‘meanings’): forms of semiosis. If different properties of language are modeled as semiosic components in this sense, it is possible to heuristically use the linguist Louis Hjelmslev’s principle of embedding of  semioses to identify distinct minimal functions and study their embedding in a complex architecture, not only involving phonetics, grammar, and semantics, but also enunciation, pragmatics, and finally discourse. Both Rastall’s approach and this elaboration could support the view that (a) language is not one system but rather a constellation of subsystems.


Semiosis, Hjelmslev, enunciation, Benveniste, rhetoric

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