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The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 23, Issue 1/4, 2007

Semiotics in the Chinese Umwelt

Ersu Ding
Pages 67-79

Saussure, Peirce, and the Chinese Picto-phonetic Sign

Ferdinand de Saussure and Charles Sanders Peirce are two founding fathers of modern semiotics but, up until fairly recently, their theories have fared differently on the mainland of China, with the former canonized in university textbooks and the latter banished from academic discussion for political reasons. What this article tries to show is that, thanks to its picto-phonetic origin, the Chinese language lends itself particularly well to theorization from the Peircean perspective, hence the importance of embracing his trichotomous approach to language and other types of signs.

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