Linguista sum... sed lingua non definio. Absence de définition de la langue et circularité de la construction structurale

Toutain, Anne-Gaëlle (2014). Linguista sum... sed lingua non definio. Absence de définition de la langue et circularité de la construction structurale. Rivista italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio, 8(1) Universita degli Studi della Calabria 10.4396/20140605

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This article analyzes the Jakobsonian classification of aphasias. It aims to show on the one hand the non-linguistic character of this classification and on the other hand its asymmetry, in spite of the fact that its author had conceived his structural construction as symmetrical. The non-linguistic character of Jakobson’s formulation is due to the absence of any definition of language, this absence being the main characteristic of Jakobsonian linguistics: concerning the aphasia problem, the Jakobsonian formulation is linguistic solely by virtue of its object, aphasia, which is already considered as a linguistic concern because it belongs to the field of « language », but which is not defined as such (as linguistic). As for asymmetry, it demonstrates first the circularity of the Jakobsonian representation of language (the duality between structure and functioning), and secondly the non-linguistic character – in the Saussurean sense of the term – of the aphasia problem. Thus it appears that breaking (in the sense of Gaston Bachelard) with idiom is the prerequisite of a scientific apprehension of language, and therefore of any interdisciplinarity, this being one of Jakobson’s favorite topics but one that this linguist failed to render fruitful because he did not offer a real definition of language.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of French Language and Literature

UniBE Contributor:

Toutain, Anne-Gaëlle


400 Language > 410 Linguistics




Universita degli Studi della Calabria




Anne-Gaëlle Toutain

Date Deposited:

27 Apr 2016 09:18

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:53

Publisher DOI:





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