V. Greimas' Semiotics; VI. Greimas & Propp
binary opposition as the basic human conceptual mode--II. semiotic square
"Narrative is thereby triumphantly demonstrated to be a form of thinking, but at a heavy price, namely, its rewriting, reduction, or transformation back into abstract thinking and its tokens or counters" (J xi)
The main object of the theory of the semiotic square is to articulate the substance of the content and therein constitute the form of the content. --
This elementary structure should be considered "on the one hand, as a concept uniting the minimal condition for the apprehension and/or the production of signification, and on the other hand, as a model containing the minimal definition of any language..and of any semiotic unit"
stability of meaning production--"When such reduction has been achieved, ...all we have are other words and other meanings, another text, a set of terms ...of texts and linguistic and conceptual operations if anything even more complex than the original verbal object to be thereby "reduced".
--it constitutes a virtual map of conceptual closure, or ...of the closure of ideology itself...as a mechanism
it can "reduce" a narrative in movement to a series of "cognitive" or ideological, combinatory positions; or it can rewrite a cognitive text into a desperate narrative movement in which new positions are generated and abandoned.
III. the object of semiotics, the process of transformation--of the production of meaning
meaning: always-already-given in the process of transformation into another meaningIV. conversion
"The production of meaning is meaningful only if it is the transformation of a meaning already given; the production of meaning is consequently a signifying endowment with form indifferent to whatever content it may be called on to transform."
"the generation of meaning does not first take the form of the production of utterances and their combination in discourse; it is relayed, in the course of its trajectory, by narrative structure and it is these that produce meaningful discourse articulated in utterances.V. Semiotics:
"A theoretical construct, no matter how satisfying it appears at first view, runs the risk of remaining hypothetical as long as the problem of equivalences between different levels of depth is not clearly posed, as long as the procedures of conversion from one level to another have not been elaborated" (xxxii)
--there exist syntagmatic supplements at the surface level that cannot be obtained from the conversion of the fundamental grammar to the surface grammar
Greimas defines semiotics as "a hierarchy that can be subjected to analysis and the elements of which can be determined by reciprocal relations (and by communication)" (22)...a semiotics exits only as a possibility of description and the system of relations described does not depend on the nature of the signs by which the external or internal world is manifested.
--...such theories attempt to account for the articulation and of manifestation of the semantic universe as a totality of meaning belonging to the cultural or personal order. (64)
--reserves a place at its center for a fundamental semantics and grammar
--(While PRopp focused on a single genre,) Greimas aims to arrive at the universal 'grammar' of narrative by applying to it a semantic analysis of sentence structure
--Propp's seven 'sphere of action'--three dpairs of binary oppositions including six roles (actants)--Subject/Object, Sender/ Receiver, Helper/Opponent--three basic patterns: 1. Desire, search, or aim, 2. communication 3. Auxiliary support or hindrance.
--P's 31 functions--G 20 grouped into 3 structures (symtagms): contractual, performative, disjunctive
--like Propp, G argues for a 'grammar' of narrative, ...But unlike P, he sees the story as a semantic structure analogous to the sentence and yielding itself to an appropriate kind of analysis.
--G more truly 'structuralist' than the Russian Formalist Propp, in that the former thinks in terms of relations between entities rather than of the character of entities themselves.