Type de document : Research Paper


Maître assistant, Université Allameh Tabataba’i


L’étude de la subjectivité est l’un des premiers éléments de recherche en néoténie linguistique. L’énoncé n’est jamais une simple association des mots en vue de véhiculer exclusivement les informations contractuelles. Le contenu premier d’une énonciation comprend la situation de l’énonciation, les informations de l’énonciateur ainsi que les informations qui ne trouvent pas d’expression linguistique mais sont pourtant présentes dans l’énoncé. La présence du locuteur dans son discours désigne donc la subjectivité du locuteur en néoténie linguistique. Dans cette perspective, la question est de savoir d’où vient l’émergence de la subjectivité du locuteur dans son énoncé. Notre démarche est donc à évoquer les trois théories de la subjectivité du locuteur – jamais de front mais toujours indirectement – abordées, des réalités différentes mais étroitement liées par Gustave Guillaume, Émile Benveniste et Antoine Culioli. Nous nous focaliserons d’abord à synthétiser à grands traits les différentes théories avant d’en expliciter les points fondamentaux pour en dégager les principaux apports à la notion étudiée. Nous sommes optimistes d’aborder le cas de la subjectivité en langues in esse, langues parfaitement maîtrisées – au sens où les locuteurs sont en mesure de communiquer en toute spontanéité – ainsi qu’en langue in fieri – langue dans laquelle on peut communiquer à des degrés variables, mais dont on ne possède pas un sentiment linguistique développé – de manière plus complète.

Faits marquants

Subjectivity and the Speaking Subject in Linguistic Neoteny: Historical Overview and Conceptual Panorama*


Rouhollah Rezapour**



THE study of subjectivity is one of the first elements of research in linguistic neoteny. Such a statement is never a simple association of words to convey contractual information exclusively. The primary content of an utterance includes the situation of the utterance, the information of the enunciator as well as information that does not find a linguistic expression but is nevertheless present in the utterance. The presence of the speaker in his speech, therefore, refers to the subjectivity of the speaker in linguistic neoteny. In this perspective, the question is to know where the emergence of the speaker's subjectivity in his statement appears. This philosophical approach will highlight an extremely rich concept and very varied aspects: we must hold together all these dimensions to reach a satisfactory definition of the subjectivity of the speaker, between language fieri and language in esse in linguistic neoteny.

Our approach is, therefore, to evoke the three theories of the speaker's subjectivity – never abreast but always indirectly – tackled different realities but closely related by G. Guillaume, E. Benveniste and A. Culioli. We will first focus on summarizing the various theories before explaining the fundamental points to identify the main contributions to the concept studied. This analysis based on the philosophy will allow us to situate them better in our conceptual panorama, and so it will help us reach a general definition as complete and exact as possible. The objective is therefore to establish, in what sense the term of subjectivity is understood in linguistic neoteny. We are optimistic to address the case of the subjective language in esse, languages perfectly controlled – in the sense that the speakers are able to communicate in spontaneity – and that language in fieri – language in which one can communicate to varying degrees, but of which one does not have a developed linguistic feeling – in a more complete way.

Descartes never treated the subject or used the term of its modern sense. On the other hand, it is the metaphysical discovery of the subjectivity that we owe to the author of cogito, sum. As for the meaning of the subject in the sense of person, it goes back to the eighteenth century, where it is found under the feathers of Leibniz and Locke, the bend of theological debates about the Trinity i.e. subject, person, and conscience.

The historical and theological context is all the more important because it has largely contributed to forging the notion of a classical subject. Kant defines man as a being endowed with intendment. It is still the unity of consciousness that defines the human person, whose understanding can be understood as the right to represent oneself to oneself, so to say oneself "I".

In linguistics, the term subjectivity refers to the presence of the speaking subject in the speech, manifested in particular by the engagers. It is a characteristic – that we can even say constitutive – of the natural language to always contain traces of the enunciative activity. 

At the end of this research, it is obvious that evoking "subjectivity " as a self-evident term is illusory, if not derisory. The variety of meanings and their manifestations have been sufficiently demonstrated to be repeated here: the presentation would be redundant. But the review of the historical and conceptual panorama needs to be summarized in order to identify the underlying fundamental issues common to the various approaches.

Subjectivity is perceptible at the semantic level of the language, in particular by the choices made between different possible terms: to use a noun or a verb in the infinitive leads to variations of meaning of which the speaker has the control over. Within the same grammatical category, the subject can vary the levels of information by being variably present in his statement: this is the case when a speaker chooses to use neutral terms, appreciative or even emotional, which transmit or betrays in varying degrees its "subjective" point of view. It is the same for the voluntary deviations with a linguistic norm, which are so many stylistic variations for a similar content, but substantially different. In addition, the insertion of adverbs in the utterance can testify to a perception specific to the enunciator.


Keywords— Linguistic neoteny, subjectivity, language in esse, language in fieri, G. Guillaume, E. Benveniste, A. Culioli.


*Received: 2018/04/10                                                           Accepted: 2018/07/04

**Assistant professor, University of Allameh Tabataba’i. E-mail: r.rezapour@atu.ac.ir

Mots clés

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