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Beautiful Theology

Signifying truth in more than words alone

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Words and Images 6

Here’s one of the frames of this essay that I especially like:

Un mot peut prendre la place d’un objet dans la réalité:

A word can take the place of an object in reality

OK, I’m not sure what “in reality” means in this context. My best estimate suggests that if one doesn’t want to point to the sun in discourse, one can use the word “sun”/“soleil” and (generally) be understood.

Subsequent frames will emphasize the principle that the word “soleil”/“sun” can intelligibly substitute for the sound (the woman in the picture seems to be speaking) or an image. Now, obviously, “soleil” (as a word) won’t give you a tan — otherwise I’d be much less pale than I am. But part of what agitates me about the topic of this whole seminar is the mystification of words —and once you open up the fluidity of meaning-gestures as this frame does (a word can take the place of an image or a sound), you get a much sounder perspective on what’s going on with words anyway. So long as you reserve for words a special, distinct quality of communicative puissance, you’ve already ensured that they’ll come out of your analysis as having a unique meaning-bearing function.