Toward a science of semiology : the writings of Roland Barthes



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Ferdinand de Saussure, dubbed the "Father of Modern Linguistics," was the first to describe language as a system of signs, and to postulate the existence of a general science of signs, which he termed "semiology," of which linguistics was a part. The fact that semiology, as proposed by Saussure, remains a tentative science is seized upon by Roland Barthes in the introduction to his Elements of Semiology as a springboard for his extensions and revisions of semiological concepts. Barthes' aim, in revising Saussure's position regarding the role of linguistics in semiological study, is to propose methodologies to aid the development of semiology into a science. Barthes' methodologies have brought him recognition as the leading proponent of semiology, and his pronouncements are relevant not only to the significations of literature, but also to all of the signs which pervade society.