When you were asking me, “What’re you doing?” I said, “Nothing.” This single word, ”nothing” , a supposed minimal “free” (Where does the essential freedom of word lye? ) form, is not free at all—“nothing” ’s freedom was pervaded by “other” non-signs, nothingness, the unspoken or something unspeakable, the non-discursive sonority or unintended sounds (as in John Cage’s musical compositions or in Rauschenberg and Robert Ryman’s Minimalist paintings with almost white surfaces.)
Word does not exist at the moment of speaking. Let us hear the debate between word-atomist and discourse holists. A word-atomist introduces three definitions of “word” per se and the opponent, a discourse-holist, nullifies those three claims of the word-atomist. The three definitions given by the word-atomists and are as follows: (a)Word (W) is subordinate to sentence (S) and thus W Î S; (b) Word is a minimal free form; (c)Word as a signifier denotes matter or the order of world.
According the opponent’ strategic definition, word is something (visual black/any other colored figure) in between two (white or any other colors) spaces (grounds) and the boundaries of word depend on the particular literate community’s way of manipulating blank ( “other” spaces or “silenceme”) spaces in their printing/writing. Thus, “word” is a culture-specific concept, which has only visual representation. A literate speaking subject, in her printing culture, has only a visual sensation of word. The blank/other spaces may be perceived/ cognized as a category called absence or abhava. Opponent’s first argument was against the vyaiakaranika definition of “word” as one of the levels of hierarchical linguistic analysis. At that moment of speaking, from the subject’s position, it is not (word-) stress, but it is rather a harmonic intonation of a discourse (that follows logarithmic pattern), which the S/HS is expressing as a continuum without being ontologically conscious about the grammarians’ order of things. The memory of these blank spaces may also influence the way of speaking of a literate speaker. The isolated words are citation forms as it is lemmatized in the dictionary produced by the print capitalism. Thus, the typological differences of languages on the basis of word-morpheme ratio hold no water at all if one does not consider the literate culture-specificity of “word”. The opponent also opposes the definition-b by questioning the ethico-epistemological meaning of “freedom” of word as a minimal free form.
Silenceme is a subjective spatio-temporal “perception” of absence of speaking. In case of definition-c, that puts word as a signifier, which is signifying something (signified), the opponent proposes (x) word as signifying representation represents other representative signifiers, but not the object, thanks to the anthropocentric perceptive limit as supposed object is always unknown and unknowable and all wo(l)ds are not subservient only to ostensive definition; (y) the order of supposed signified is always subservient to the spatio-temporal de-sign-ation and therefore, bears different representations in different space -time and thus equating pada (word as deployed in sentences) with padartha (matter) or wor(l)d-logic that pursues minimal substantive representation as the static meaning of the wor(l)d cuts a sorry figure. After refuting word-atomist views, the opponent proposes her discourse-holism (not the sentence-holism as proposed by Bhartrhari) hypothesis by introducing the theory of intimate attachment of soundcontinuum in a given discourse that also bears the marks of scattered, fragmented blank loci of silencemes.
NEOLOGISMS: Silenceme, de-sign, de-sign-ation
For detailed discussion, kindly follow hyperlinks (blue-colored titles)
- 2007. “Wor(l)d Spaces: The Definition of ‘Word’.” Encyclopedia of Science of Language. Milan, Italy: Polimetrica Onlus. (p. 127) Download (.pdf)
- 2006. “ Word Stress-Existence at Stake? “LINGUIST List 204. Disc: Cultural Identity & Lang; Word Stress; Cartesian Linguistics.
- MUSICKING AND SPEAKING: DIFFERaNCE (SEGMENTING THE SUPRASEGMENTALS)
- SILENCEME: THE SILENT “OTHER” IN LINGUISTICS/SILENCE STUDIES