Thursday, April 14, 2011

L is for logos

1. In the beginning was speech, through speech could man approach god, and speech was a god. The world, when created, was spoken and then named. We know this because it was written down.

2. The word has two natures, spoken, and written; atemporal, and historical; ideal and formal. There is a reason why scholars and academics resort to langue and parole to discuss this dual nature. In English, language and speech have trouble drawing the same distinction. We have only mots.

3. There are, of course, no mots in English.

4. Language is a hidden thing. Every letter is purloined, artificial. Nowhere is this more apparent than in English, where every letter is stretched and twisted, and correspondence between sign and sound is largely accidental. Identical combinations of letters, pronounced differently, mean different things.

5. The word logos, in Greek, does not mean “word.”

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