Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton May 30, 2014

The Critique of Glottocentricism

European Signatures

Susan Petrilli
From the journal Chinese Semiotic Studies


As general semiotics, semiotics provides a general theory of sign and correlate sign model. As such, semiotics avoids limitations connected with so called Saussurean sémiologie (in reality connected with information theory and the concepts of code and message). One limitation is glottocentrism which is phonocentric, anthropocentric, ethnocentric. When glottocentrism prevails, semiotics cannot adequately account for communication, modeling, and dialogism as generated in human biosemiosis, in the interconnection between verbal and nonverbal. We propose to critique glottocentrism in global semiotic terms, following European scholars (Barthes, Derrida, Kristeva, Rossi-Landi) and beyond (Bakhtin, Sebeok, Morris). Dialogue among these voices is transnational, translinguistic, transdisciplinary. Moreover, as indicated by “semioethics” (introduced by Augusto Ponzio and myself), our approach accounts for the sign’s vocation for the other.

Published Online: 2014-5-30
Published in Print: 2014-6-1

© 2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston