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On the Modes of Signifying

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Title: On the Modes of Signifying
Authors: Spade, John
Issue Date: 15 Jan 2014
Publisher: University of Hawaii at Manoa
Abstract: The title of this work, “On the Modes of Signifying”, is derived from a speculative grammar, De Modis Significandi, written sometime early in the 14th century by Joannes Duns Scotus, a scholastic philosopher. Other than this grammar, seldom read today, Duns made only one other noteworthy contribution to the language – his name. It is the origin of the tern dunce. Whatever the value of his contributions to philosophy, however, Duns wrote an interesting grammar. Among other things it is, apparently, the first such work to distinguish between form and meaning. It makes one other interesting distinction: “The intellect gives a twofold reason (rationem) to a voice-sound. In connection with this we must note that when the intellect imposes a voice-sound to signify and consignify, it gives a two-fold reason to it, namely: the reason of signifying, which is called signification, by which the voice-sound is made a sign of [something] having signification (and then the voice-sound becomes a word [dictio]); and the reason of consignifying, which is called the active mode of signifying, by which the voice-sound having signification becomes consignal or consignificant. And then the voice sound is formally a part of speech. Accordingly a apart is a part secundum se by this reason of consignifying, or active mode of signifying, as by a formal principle; but it is one part related to another (pars relata ad aliam) by this same active reason of consignifying, as by an internal efficient principle.” Duns, it seems, could be the great grand-daddy of structural grammar.
Pages/Duration: ii, 57 pages
Rights: All UHM Honors Projects are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:Honors Projects for Education

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