A Study of Glossematics: Critical Survey of its Fundamental by Bertha Siertsema

By Bertha Siertsema

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It is part of what I have called the 'setting' of glossematic analysis (see p. 26): Hjelmslev does not mean his analysis to be applied to hitherto unknown languages, not even to hitherto unanalyzed languages. "Process", in the quotations from Ch. II in OSG is, as Professor Hjelmslev kindly told me, to be understood as "analyzed process". That is, as a process whose elements have already been distinguished and recognized somehow. 22) comes after that; its technique is the commutation test. What we have to do next is arrange the elemeats thus found, after their possibilities.

This term 'form' is entirely different from what Bloomfield calls a 'form'. Bloomfield's 'form' "does not simply correspond to glossematic expression, but partly also to glossematic form of content" (Eli Fischer-JIIJrgensen, Washington Lecture on Glossematics, p. 4). ). The ordinary conception of 'form' as an organised perceptible datum does not cover Hjelmslev's conception of 'form' either. From the data thus obtained, from as many languages as possible, we can make an algebraic calculation of what combinations of entities are theoretically possible.

For those who wish to become acquainted with Hjelmslev's theory the Spanish book is of historical interest only. 32 PROCESS AND SYSTEM We see in these first fifty pages of the Principes the struggle of their author to establish linguistics as an independent science, resulting as yet in no more than the demarcation of linguistics as a clearly marked-off branch of science with its own laws and methods, but still as a branch of the science called psychology. The struggle continued, until in 1935 we find Hjelmslev stating: "If it is true that language is a social institution, existing outside and independently of the individuals, it must follow that it cannot be defined as a psychological phenomenon" 1).

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