A linguistic sign assigns meaning to things so that people can communicate about them. A linguistic sign is thus considered the basic element of a language. The concept of the sign was essentially developed by the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, who distinguished between the phonetic image and the idea of the linguistic sign.
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The linguistic sign is considered the basic element of a language and makes communication between people possible in the first place. According to Ferdinand de Saussure, who had a decisive influence on the concept of signs, signs are composed of the phonetic image and the idea of a word.
Linguistic signs categorise objects or experiences in terms of their meaning in order to make distinctions. Signs are not only sounds, but also include written words, gestures and symbols.
Signs are the basis of our communication system. Each sign is assigned a meaning, which, according to Saussure, is arbitrary.
Saussure distinguishes language in three aspects: ‘Langage’ is the human language itself, ‘langue’ refers to a single language such as German or English, and ‘parole’ is a person’s use of language.
For Saussure, language consists of signs that express ideas. Linguistic signs are therefore material units that have certain meanings. A linguistic sign thus connects the idea that a person has of a symbol with the sound image that belongs to this symbol.
The distinctive feature of Saussure’s sign model lies above all in its duality and the inseparable interaction of content and expression. The linguistic sign system brought structure to 20th century linguistics.
Semiotics is the study of signs. It deals with sign systems of all kinds. Without sign theory, communication would not be possible.