Archive for February, 2014

精神病 268

February 23, 2014

精神病 268

Just recently, reading an old text by Aristotle, the Nicomachean Ethics,
with the intention of rediscovering the origin of Freudian themes on pleasure
in it – it makes salubrious reading – 1 came across a curious term that means
something like fearful. And this explained many things to me, in particular
why it’s sometimes the best minds among young psychiatrists that rush headlong
down this mistaken path by which they seem to be captivated. I think
as a matter of fact that paradoxically they are the best, dreadfully intelligent
young men. They’re afraid to be so, they frighten themselves – Where would
we be if we gave way to our fine intelligence} And so they enter analysis where
they’re taught that their intellectualization is a form of resistance. Once they
have finished they’re delighted, they’ve encountered at first hand this famous
intellectualization, which for so long had been an obstacle for them. At this
stage my discourse can no longer address them.


By contrast, what is at issue in Freud’s work? What stands out in it? What,
in a word, is its style? Freud’s own style would alone suffice to characterize
its significance. To see this, I ask you to refer to another form of resistance,
which hasn’t been much better appreciated than the one I alluded to just


For a long time it was thought that the main resistance encountered by
Freud’s work was due to the fact that he was touching on sexual matters.
Good God, why would sexual matters have been any less welcome at that
time than in our own, where they appear to be the delight of everyone?

长久以来,人们认为,弗洛依德的研究遭遇到主要抗拒,是由于这个事实: 他碰触到性的问题。我的天,比起我们的时代,在那个时代,为什么性的问题会是比较不受欢迎?而在我们的时代,性的问题似乎是每个人最喜欢谈论的。

Besides, we have had to wait until our own day for some well intentioned
scholar to point out the kinship between Freud’s work and the Naturphilosophie
that prevailed in Germany at the beginning of the nineteenth century.


This time was far from having been as fleeting and contingent as Jones represents
it to us from an Anglo-Saxon perspective, nor were we in France,
above all at the time Freud began to become known here, lacking certain
irrationalist or intuitionist tendencies that were advocating recourse to an
affective, or sentimental, effusion to understand man or, even, natural phenomena
– 1 don’t need to mention the name of Bergson. Why did honest and
cultivated people suddenly see in Freud’s work some kind of excessive scientism?


Why didn’t the scholars themselves, who seemed repelled by the results
and the originality of the method whose status they didn’t immediately identify,
ever think of referring Freud to the vitalist or irrationalist philosophy
that was much more alive then?



精神病 267

February 23, 2014

精神病 267

I want to pause here to try to restore the point of view, currently effaced,
from which Freud’s work can be viewed in its proper light.


I shall ask you straightaway to be prepared for a contrast between what
Freud’s work authentically signifies and what is currently being offered as
the sense of psychoanalysis. For many of you, the students, as you draw
nearer to things in the mental sphere, psychoanalysis is, it’s said, first of all
a means to a better understanding of the mentally ill.


I can’t recommend too highly that those of you who have the opportunity
to become acquainted with the analytic literature – and God knows how enormous,
almost diffuse, it has become – combine this reading with an at least
equivalent measure of Freud himself. The difference will leap out at you.


The term frustration, for example, has become the leitmotiv of the prolific
mothers of analytic literature in English, with the abandonism and relationship
of dependence it comprises. Now, this term is quite simply absent from
Freud’s work. The simplistic use of notions taken out of context, like that of
reality testing, or of bastardized notions like that of the object relation, the
recourse to the ineffability of affective contact and of lived experience – all
of this is strictly foreign to the inspiration behind Freud’s work.


This style has for some time tended to descend to the level of a foolish
optimism which stems from an equivocal moralism and is founded on an
equally crude schematism, which really is the most superficial image ever
given to man to apply to his own development – the famous sequence of so called
pregenital phases of the libido. The reaction has not failed to make
itself felt, so much so that we have now got to the pure and simple restoration
of an orthopedics of the ego, which only a hundred years ago everyone would
have laughed at as being the most simplistic question begging.


This rather improbable slide is due, I believe, to the fact that there is a profound misrecognition in thinking that analysis is meant to be used as a
bridge for gaining access to a sort of intuitive penetration and easy communication
with the patient. If analysis had only been an improvement in the
doctor-patient relation, we would literally have no need of it.



精神病 266

February 22, 2014

精神病 266

In point of fact, we shall not follow the geography of these ravages over


One day I heard Freud spoken of in these terms – without ambition and
without needs. The thing is comical if one thinks of the number of times
throughout his work that Freud confessed his ambition which, while
undoubtedly quickened by all sorts of obstacles, is much more extensive in
his unconscious, as he was able to show. To make you appreciate this, must
I depict for you – as Jung, speaking to me personally, did one day – the
scene of Freud’s reception at the University he placed on the world’s stage?
I mean, depict the stream, whose symbolic meaning he was the first to have
shown, blossoming out into a growing stain on his pale trousers?


Shall I say it? This isn’t the point from which I would like to throw light
upon the figure of Freud, for really it seems that nothing can go beyond what
he disclosed in his long autobiography that his first works constitute – Die
Traumdeutung, The Psychopathobgy of Everyday Life and Der Witz.4 Nobody,
in a sense, has ever taken the confession so far, at least within the limits that
a man’s concern for his authority imposes on him. And this isn’t to diminish
its importance, far from it. The sigh at which these confidences stop perhaps
gives us the feeling of a barrier, but nothing ever since has enabled us to cross
it – even the most indiscreet hypothesis makers have never managed to add
anything to what he himself disclosed to us.


There is something here worth dwelling on, which is well suited to make
us feel the value of a critical method I shall surprise you with by saying that
someone’s work is to be judged by the standard of its own criteria.


If the discovery of psychoanalysis really is to have reintegrated into science
an entire objectifiable field of man and to have shown its supremacy, and if
this field is the field of sense, why seek the genesis of this discovery outside
the meanings that its inventor encountered within himself along the path
leading him to it? Why look elsewhere than in the register to which this
discovery must, if one is to be rigorous, be limited? If we must have recourse
to some other source foreign to the field discovered by our author, and by
nobody else, to explain what it is, the prevalence of this field becomes null
and void, through having been made subordinate.


To suppose the supremacy, and not the subordination, of sense as efficient
cause is apparently to repudiate the principles of modern science. In fact, for
the positive science to which Freud’s masters, this Pleiad that Jones quite
rightly mentions at the beginning of his study, belonged, the entire dynamics
of sense can, question-beggingly, be neglected — it is all fundamentally
superstructure.5 It’s therefore a revolution in science that Freud introduces,
if this science has the value he claims for it.


Does it have this value? Does it have this meaning?


精神病 267

精神病 264

February 21, 2014

精神病 264

I wish to begin by saying what, while appearing under Freud’s name, extends
beyond the time of his appearance and conceals its truth even in its very
unveiling – that Freud’s name signifies joy.


Freud himself was conscious of this, as is demonstrated by a good number
of things – an analysis of a dream that I could adduce, dominated by a sum
of composite words, more especially by a word of ambiguous resonance, both
English and German at the same time, and in which he enumerates the
charming little spots in the environs of Vienna.1


If I pause at this name, it’s not that my procedure is panegyrical. I’m
anticipating what I shall articulate in my discourse by recalling that his family,
like all the families of Moravia, of Galicia, of the outlying provinces of
Hungary, owing to an edict of 1785 by Joseph II, had to choose this name
from a list of first names – it’s a feminine first name, in fairly frequent use at
the time. But this name is a much older Jewish name which throughout history
one already finds translated differently.


This is well suited to remind us that this recurrence of a purely literal
tradition persists through the cultural assimilation of hidden signifiers and
takes us very close to the heart of the structure with which Freud answered
his questions. To be sure, to grasp this properly we would immediately need
to evoke the extent to which he acknowledged belonging to the Jewish tradition
and its literal structure which, he says, goes so far as to imprint itself
upon the structure of language. Freud could make the striking observation
in a message addressed to a confessional community on the occasion of his
seventieth birthday that he acknowledges that this was where his most intimate
identity lay.2


精神病 265

There is, to be sure, a contrast between this acknowledgment and his early
rejection – offensive, almost insulting, for those close to him whom he had
the most reason to spare – of the religious faith of his fathers. Perhaps this is
the angle from which we might be best introduced to what would help us
understand how questions were raised for Freud.


However, this isn’t how I shall be going about it. For, in point of fact, it’s
not always the simplest approaches that seem the clearest. In a word, they
aren’t the ones we are the best prepared for. And it’s certainly not for nothing
that we often have to take a more complex route to make truths heard.
Nor is it in Freud’s biography that we shall find the source of the subversion
brought about by his discovery.


It does not seem that a touch of neurosis, which can certainly help us
understand Freud, has ever guided anyone before him down the same path.
, Nothing is less perverse, it seems to me, than the life of Freud. If this were
where one had to seek the price of his daring, neither his poverty as a student
nor his years of struggle as the father of a large family seems sufficient to me
to explain something that I would call an abnegation of love relations, which
one really has to point out when it concerns the person who renewed the
theory of Eros.


Recent revelations, the letters to his fiancee, the great attraction of a recent
biography,3 seem to me to be complemented by a certain something which I
shall call a touching egocentrism that consisted of demanding from the other
an unreserved compliance with the ideals of his beautiful soul and of being
torn apart at the thought of the favors shown to another the unforgettable
evening that he received from her the first token of her love. All this comes
down to what I should call the rawness of a virgin, which we may excuse him
for, on discovering its equally indiscreet equal in the same published letters
to a fiancee of our own Hugo.


This disclosure, quite opportune in the final analysis, prevents me from
dwelling on the dignity of a union where what Freud himself confides indicates
mutual respect and attention to parental tasks – in short, the high tradition
of Jewish family values. For what one cannot fail to detect in his early
letters is some kind of reduction to the smallest common denominator of a
petit-bourgeois convention of a love the sentimental extravagance of which
doesn’t exclude reserve or Freud’s long-held rancor towards his fiancee forhaving caused him, through an ill-timed journey, to miss the glory of having
been the inventor of the surgical use of cocaine. This is indication enough of
a relationship of psychical forces for which the term of ambivalence, employed
without rhyme or reason, would be entirely inappropriate.



精神病 262

February 20, 2014

精神病 262

An address: Freud in the century

The session is opened by Professor Jean Delay.

For the centenary of Freud’s birth, who was bom May 16,1856, contmemoraiive
occasions have been organized in Paris.


Its appropriate to recall that it was in Paris while following Char cots
teaching at la Saparire when he was only twenty-nine years old, that Freud
found his calling. And in the article in the edition of his complete works he
himself stressed all he owed to the teaching at la Salpitri&re.


This filiation in no way detracts from his obvious, brilliant originality,
since its really to him that we owe the method and doctrine of psychoanalysis.
One can, indeed one must, have reservations about certain theoretical
and practical aspects of psychoanalysis. But it remains no less true that in
highlighting the role of affective conflicts and instinctual disorders in the
neuroses he has made a very important contribution to psychiatry. Moreover,
by highlighting the role of the unconscious in all manifestations of mental life
it can be said that his contribution goes beyond the framework of medical
science and is applicable to all human sciences.


This is why I thought it necessary on the occasion of this centenary to ask
Jacques Lacan, who is the director here, with Daniel Lagache and Mme
Favez-Boutonier, of the Soctiti franqaise de psychanalyse, to address us on
Freud and his influence in the century. I believe he is particularly well qualified
for this since he has an admirable knowledge of the life and work of


Here I am, then, today entrusted by Professor Jean Delay with a commis-
sion that, through being different from the teaching that under his patronage
takes place here on this same day each week, greatly honors me – namely, to
speak about Freud to an audience, new to the subject, of students in their
psychiatry course, with the intention of commemorating the centenary of his


I have a twofold aim here, which will perhaps give my talk some sort of
double vision, that of instructing through honoring, of honoring through
instructing – and I should have to apologize for it were I not hoping to adapt
the aim of this talk to making the man’s arrival in the world coincide with
his arrival at the supreme sense of his work.


This is why my title, Freud in the century, is intended to suggest more than
a chronological reference.



精神病 261

February 20, 2014

精神病 261
It’s on the basis of the metonymic articulation that this phenomenon is
able to take place. The coordination of signifiers has to be possible before
transferences of the signified are able to take place. The formal articulation
of the signifier predominates with respect to transference of the signified.
How do we now raise the question of the repercussions on the function of
language of disturbances in the relationship to the other? Just as metaphor
and metonymy are opposed to one another, so the fundamental functions of
speech are opposed to one another – foundational speech and passwords.
Why are they both fundamentally necessary? What distinguishes them?


This is something that arises in relation to a third term. If it’s necessary for
man to use speech to make discoveries or to get his bearings, it’s as a function
of his natural propensity to decompose in the presence of the other.
In what way does he compose and recompose himself? We shall come back
to this on another occasion, but in the phenomena that Schreber presents you
can already grasp the use we can make of these categories.


I spoke to you last time of the interrupted sentences, but there is also
question and reply. This has to be understood as having the value of being
opposed to the dimension of foundational speech, where one doesn’t ask the
other for his opinion. The function of question and reply, insofar as it is given
value through initiation into language and is its complement and its root, lays
bare the signifying foundation of foundational speech in relation to what is
profoundly significant in such speech. The delusional phenomenon lays bare,
at all levels moreover, the signifying function as such.


I shall give you another example. You know these famous equivalences
that the delusional Schreber gives as having been formulated by the birds
from the sky parading in the twilight. One finds assonances here – Santiago
or Carthago, Chinesenthum orJesum-Christum.4 Is the absurdity of this all that
is to be retained? What strikes Schreber is the fact that the birds from the
sky are brainless. On this Freud is in no doubt – they are young girls.5

我将给予你们另外一个例子。你们知道这些著名的相等语,妄想症的许瑞伯给予的相等语。这些相等语是由暮光时刻飞翔天空的众鸟所诠释。我们在此发现相同母音的重复– Santiago
or Carthago, Chinesenthum orJesum-Christum.4 这种的荒谬难道不就是所有应该被保留的东西?让许瑞伯印象深刻的是这个事实:从天空飞来的这些鸟都是没有脑袋的。对于这点,弗洛依德深信不疑。这些众鸟都是女孩。

But what’s important isn’t the assonance, it’s the term-by-term correspondence
between closely neighboring elements of discrimination, which only
have importance for a polyglot like Schreber within the linguistic system of


Schreber, with all his perspicacity, once again shows that what is being
sought is of the order of the signifier, that is, of phonematic coordination.
The Latin word Jesum-Christum here is, as we know, an equivalent of Chinesenthum
only insofar as in German the ending turn has a particular sound

许瑞伯由于天资聪慧,再一次跟我们显示:正在被追寻的东西,属于能指的秩序。换句话说,属于音素协调的秩序。据我们所知,在此,拉丁语的Jesum-Christum,是Chinesenthum 的相等语。仅有在德语,turn的结尾才会有特别的声音的特质。

Promoting the signifier as such, the emergence of this always hidden substructure
that is metonymy, is the condition of any possible investigation of
the functional disorders of language in neurosis and psychosis.
9 May 1956



精神病 260

February 20, 2014

精神病 260

People speak of the concrete nature of language in children. This is something
that, contrary to appearances, refers to contiguity. Someone recently
confided to me what had been said by his child, a boy, who at the age of two
and a half had grabbed his mother as she was leaning over him to say goodnight
and said to her – My big girl full of bottom and muscles.


This language is obviously not the same as that of His sheaf was neither
miserly nor spiteful. The child doesn’t do that yet. Nor does he say that love is
a pebble laughing in the sun. We are told that children understand surrealist
and abstract poetry, which would be a return to childhood. This is stupid –
children detest surrealist poetry and find repugnant certain stages of Picasso’s
painting. Why? Because they’re not yet up to metaphor, but only metonymy.
And when they do appreciate certain things in Picasso’s paintings it’s because
metonymy is involved.


We can also see metonymy in certain passages in Tolstoy, where whenever
a woman approaches you see the shadow of a fly, a spot on the upper lip,
etc., emerge in place of her – the metonymic process of a great stylist. In
general metonymy animates this style of creation called the realist style, as
opposed to the symbolic style and to poetic language. The promotion of detail
that characterizes it is no more realist than anything else. Only quite specific
paths can make a detail the guide of the desiring function – not just any detail
can be promoted as equivalent to the whole.


The proof of this is the trouble we go to to emphasize certain of these
details, through a series of significant transferences, in our experiments with
mazes designed to bring out what we call the intelligence of animals. Call it
intelligence if you wish – it’s merely a question of definition. It’s a matter of
the extension of the field of the real in which we can include the animal with
its current capacities of discrimination, provided that it’s instinctually, libidinally,


The supposed realism of describing the real by details is only conceivable
in the register of an organized signifier, due to which, by virtue of the fact
that the mother is my big gtrl full of bottom and muscles, the child will evolve
in a certain way. It’s clearly as a function of his early metonymic abilities that
at a certain moment the bottom can become an equivalent of the mother for
him. Whatever the sense by which we can conceive the sensitization on the
vital level, it alters absolutely nothing in the problem.



精神病 258

February 19, 2014

精神病 258

Do get it into your heads that language is a system of positional coherence,
and secondly that this system reproduces itself within itself with an extraordinary,
and frightful, fecundity.


It’s not for nothing that the word prolixity is the same word as proliferation.
Prolixity is the frightening word. All use of language incurs fright, which
stops people and finds expression in the fear of intellectuality. He intellectualizes
too much, people say. This serves as an alibi for the fear of language. In
fact, you can observe that there is verbalism wherever one makes the error of
granting too much weight to the signified, whereas it’s by heading further in
the direction of the independence of the signifier and die signified that all
operations of logical construction adopt their full effect.


At least for the phenomena that interest us, one always falls into verbalism
by further adhering to what I call the mythology of significance [mythologie
significative]. Mathematics on the other hand uses a language of pure signifier,
a metalanguage par excellence. It reduces language to its systematic function
upon which another system is built, grasping the former in its articulation.
The efficacity of this way of doing things isn’t in doubt in its own register.


精神病 259

When one reads the rhetoricians, one realizes that they never get to an entirely
satisfactory definition of metaphor, or of metonymy.


This results in* for example, the formula that metonymy is an impoverished
metaphor. One might say that the thing is to be taken in exactly the
opposite sense – metonymy exists from the beginning and makes metaphor
possible. But metaphor belongs to a different level than metonymy.


Let’s study the most primitive phenomena, and let’s take an example that
for us analysts is particularly alive. What is more primitive as the direct
expression of a meaning – that is of a desire – than what Freud relates about
his youngest little daughter, the one who has since occupied such an interesting
place in analysis, Anna?


Anna Freud asleep – things are, you see, in their pure state – she talks in
her sleep – Big strawberries, raspberries, cakes, porridge.3


There’s something here that looks like the signified in its pure state. And
it’s the most schematic, the most fundamental form of metonymy. There’s
no doubt that she desires these strawberries, these raspberries. But it isn’t
self-evident that these objects should all be there together. The fact that they
are there, juxtaposed, coordinated in this articulated naming is due to the
positional function that places them in a situation of equivalence. This is the
essential phenomenon.


If there is anything that shows indisputably that it’s not purely and simply
a question here of a phenomenon of expression that a psychology, say Jungian,
could get us to see as an imaginary substitute for die object appealed
to, it’s precisely the fact that the sentence begins with what? With the name
of the person, Anna Freud. She’s an infant of nineteen months, and we are at
the level of naming, of equivalence, of nominal coordination, of signifying
articulation as such. It’s only within this framework that the transference of
meaning is possible.


This is the heart of Freud’s thought. His work begins with the dream, its
mechanisms of condensation and displacement, of figuration – these are all
of the order of metonymic articulation, and it’s on this foundation that metaphor
is able to intervene.


It’s even more apparent at the level of the erotization of language. If there
is an order of acquisition, it’s certainly not what makes it possible to say that
children begin with such and such an element of the verbal stock rather than
by some other. There is the greatest diversity. One doesn’t take hold of language
by one end, like certain painters who start their paintings at the lefthand
corner. For language to be born, it must always already be grasped as
a whole. On the other hand, for it to be able to be grasped as a whole, it has
to be grasped at the outset by means of the signifier.



精神病 257

February 18, 2014

精神病 257

The mainspring of the metaphor isn’t the meaning, which is supposed to
be transposed from Booz onto the sheaf. I readily admit that someone might
object to me that Booz’s sheaf is metonymic, not metaphorical, and that
underlying this magnificent poetry, and never named directly, there is Booz’s
royal penis. But that isn’t what gives this sheaf its metaphorical quality, it’s
that the metaphor is placed in the position of subject, in Booz’s place. It’s a
phenomenon of signifiers that is involved. >


Let’s move to the limit of poetic metaphor, which you wouldn’t hesitate to
describe as surrealist, even though we didn’t have to wait for the surrealists
to make metaphors. You are unable to say whether it makes sense or not. I
won’t say that this is the best way of putting things, but, in any case, it’s near


Take an expression that we can agree is indeed a metaphor. You will see
whether it’s the sense that sustains it.


Love is a pebble laughing in the sun .

What does this mean? It’s indisputably a metaphor. It’s likely enough that
if it was born, it’s because it contains a sense. As for finding o n e . . . I could
do a whole seminar on it. This seems to me to be an indisputable definition
of love, and I shall say that it’s the last I paused at, because to me it appears
indispensable if one wants to avoid falling endlessly into irremediable confusions.
In short, a metaphor is above all sustained by a positional articulation. This
can be demonstrated even in its most paradoxical forms.


None of you has, I believe, failed to hear of the exercise that a poet of our
day has carried out under the rubric of Un mot pour un outre [one word for
another]. It’s a little comedy in one act by Jean Tardieu. It concerns a dialogue
between two women. One is announced, the other goes up to her and


My dear, my dearest, how many pebbles is it since I have had the apprentice to
sugar you?


Alas, my dear, answers the other, / myself have been extremely unvitreous,
my three littlest oil-cakes, etc.


This is confirmation that, even if it’s in a paradoxical form, not only is the
sense maintained, but that it tends to manifest itself in a particularly fortunate
and metaphorical manner. It may be said that the sense is in some way
renewed. Whatever effort the poet may have made to push it in the direction
of a demonstration, one is at every instant a hair’s breadth from a poetic
metaphor. It belongs to a register that is no different from what arises as
natural poetry as soon as a powerful meaning is involved.


The important thing isn’t that the similarity should be sustained by the
signified – we make this mistake all the time – it’s that the transference of
the signified is possible only by virtue of the structure of language. All language
implies a metalanguage, it’s already a metalanguage of its own register.


It’s because potentially all language is to be translated that it implies metaphrase
and metalanguage, language speaking of language. The transference
of the signified, so essential to human life, is possible only by virtue of the
structure of the signifies



精神病 255

February 18, 2014

精神病 255

Therefore, there is a similarity disorder here, which is that the subject is
incapable of metaphrase, and what he has to say lies entirely within the domain
of paraphrase.


Alongside sensory aphasia there is what is broadly called motor aphasia. It
ranges from disorders of agrammatism, well-known by now, to an extreme
reduction of his stock of words – its immortal image is the famous pencil that
he is unable to get out. This other dimension of aphasic deficit can be very
well ranged within the order of contiguity disorders.


Here it’s essentially the articulation, the syntax of language, which, progressively
along the scale of cases and in the evolution of certain subjects,
deteriorates to the point of making them incapable of articulating in a compound
sentence what they are nevertheless able to name correctly. They retain
the nominative capacity, but lose the propositional capacity. They are unable
to construct propositions.


Owing to the properties of the signifier and the signified, the constant
temptation to which linguists themselves, and a fortiori those who aren’t linguists,
succumb is to consider that it’s what is the most obvious in the phenomenon
that says it all.


Up to a point linguists have fallen victim to this illusion. The emphasis
they place, for example, on metaphor, which has always been studied much
more than metonymy, is proof of this. In full and living language it’s what is
the most gripping, but also the most problematical – how does it happen that
language is at its most effective when it manages to say something by saying
something else? It’s enthralling indeed, and it’s even thought that this is the
way to the crux of the phenomenon of language, in opposition to a naive


The naive notion has it that there is a superimposition, like a tracing, of
the order of things onto the order of words. It’s thought that a great step
forward has been made by saying that the signified only ever reaches its goal
via another signified, through referring to another meaning. This is only the
first step, and one fails to see that a second is needed. It has to be realized
that without structuring by the signifier no transference of sense would be


A number of you rightly saw last time that this is what I meant in emphasizing
the role of the signifier in metaphor.


精神病 256

The deficit, if we approach things from this angle, has two sides.
The first is the dissolution of the link between intentional meaning and the
apparatus of signifiers. The latter is on the whole retained by the subject,
who nevertheless fails to master it in relation to his intention. The second is
the dissolution of the link internal to the signifier. Here the fact is emphasized
that there is a sort of regressive decomposition, which is sufficiently
well explained by the Jacksonian theory according to which functions decompose
in the inverse order of their acquisition, not in development – language
isn’t reducible to the ideally primary language of the infant – but through a
veritable turning}


For my part, is that what I wanted to emphasize?
I say – No, its not. According to a type of general law of illusion concerning
what goes on in language, it isn’t what appears in the foreground that is
important. What’s important is the opposition between two sorts of links that
are themselves internal to the signifier.


First, the positional link, which is the foundation of the link that I earlier
called propositional. This is what in a given language sets up that essential
dimension which is the order of words. To understand this it suffices to recall
that in French Pierre bat Paid isn’t equivalent to Paid bat Pierre.

首先,这个位置的连接,作为我早先所说的命题的连接的基础。 这就是在某个特定的语言,建立属于文字的秩序的基本维度的东西。为了理解这个,我们只要回忆一下,在法文,Pierre bat Paid 并不等于就是 Pierre bat Paid。

Concerning the second form of aphasic disorders, notice the strict coherence
there is between maintaining the positional function of language and
maintaining an adequate stock of terms. This is an absolutely incontestable
clinical phenomenon and shows us the fundamental binding of the signifier.
What appears at the grammatical level as characteristic of the positional
link reappears at all levels and sets up the synchronic coexistence of terms.


The verbal locution is its highest form. At a lower level there is the word,
which has the air of a stability that, as you know, has been rightly challenged.
While the independence of the word manifests itself from certain angles, it
can’t be regarded as radical* The word can in no way be regarded as a unit of
language, even though it constitutes a privileged elementary form. At an even
lower level you find the phonematic oppositions or couplings which characterize
the ultimate radical element that distinguishes one language from another.


In French for example boue and pou are opposed to one another, whatever
your accent. Even if, because you live near a border, you tend to pronounceboue like pou, you will pronounce the other pou differently, because French
is a language in which this opposition is valid. In other languages there are
oppositions totally unknown in French. This binding of opposites is essential
to the functioning of language. It must be distinguished from the link of
similarity, implicated in the functioning of language, which is tied to the
indefinite possibility of the function of substitution, which is conceivable only
on the basis of the positional relation.

譬如,在法文,boue 与bou 互相对立,不管你是什么方言。即使你倾向于将boue 发音,像是pou,因为你居住在边境地区,你将另外一个pou 发音会不同。因为法文的语言,这种对立是正确的。在其他的语言,有些的对立,是法语里完全不知道。对立面的这种连接,对于语言的功能是很重要的。它必须被区别,跟类同的差异。在语言的功能被牵涉的类同。它跟替换的功能的不明确的可能性息息相关。替换的功能,仅有根据立场的关系的基础,它有办法被构想。