The American Journal of Semiotics

Volume 38, Issue 1/4, 2022

Daniel Torras i Segura
Pages 91-113

The Semiotic Square Applied to Silence
A New Attempt and Some Revelations

The semiotic square is a tool developed by Algirdas J. Greimas and François Rastier that adapts rules based on binary logic. Its logic is established by looking for the complementary opposite of an initial term and then studying the contradictory terms of this pair. As an analysis tool, it has been applied to numerous wide-ranging fields. Dennis Kurzon applied the semiotic square to silence in his Discourse of Silence, but the study did not offer conclusive results and is considered unsatisfactory. This article discusses the structure of the semiotic square as applied to silence in order to highlight the difficulties and contradictions of such an application, as well as to configure a layout of the square according to the singularities of this phenomenon. Silence can appear in many different situations and is thus extremely variable. One of the conclusions reached in this paper is that silence, by its very nature, resists being pigeon-holed and limited in a semiotic scheme. The most satisfactory solution to this is to appeal to the most basic and common essence of silence.