An argument for the primacy of the written word as the pre-eminent mode of communication.
"This is an excellent book, rich, clear, and innovative from the point of view of semiology." --Jean Khalfa, Cambridge University
The traditional Western view of writing, from Aristotle to the present day, has treated the written word as a visual substitute for the spoken word. The eminent Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) was the first to provide this traditional assumption with a reasoned basis by incorporating it into a more general theory of signs.
In the wake of Saussure's work, modern linguistics has ignored or marginalized writing in favor of the study of speech.
Roy Harris shows that the theory of writing adopted in modern linguistics is deeply flawed. Reversing the orthodox priorities, he argues that writing is a far more powerful mode of linguistic communication that speech ever could be. Rethinking Writing is a major contribution to current debates about human communication, written and spoken.
Roy Harris, Emeritus Professor of General Linguistics at the University of Oxford, is author of The Origin of Writing.
256 pages, 9 1/4 x 6 1/4, $39.95s