V. - Augustine - De Dialectica - - vuzlib.su
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A word is the sign of some thing which can be understood by the hearer when pronounced by the speaker. A thing is whatever is felt (sensed) or understood or latet (is hidden, inapprehensible). A sign is something which presents itself to the senses and something other than itself to the mind. To speak is to give a sign in articulate voice. I call that articulate which is capable of being comprised in letters. Whether all these things have been defined correctly or whether they should be followed with other definitions, the section which deals with the discipline of defining will indicate. Now listen attentively to what is coming: Any word sonat (sounds; is sounded). Therefore, when it is written it is not a word, but the sign of a word; when the reader sees them, the letters impinge upon the mind, which breaks out in voice. For what else do written letters do but present themselves to the eye and beyond themselves voices to the mind, and we said a little earlier that a sign was something which presented itself to the senses and something other than itself to the mind. What we read then are not words but signs of words. But also, since the letter itself is the smallest part of articulate voice, we misuse this word (letter), when we also call it letter when we see something written, though it is totally silent nor is it a part of vox (voice), but appears as a sign of a part of the vox (voice). Likewise, we also call something written a word, although it is a sign of a word, that is, appears as the sign of significant vox (voice). Thus, as we had just begun to say, every word has sound. But sound (quod sonat) has nothing to do with dialectic. It is a question of the sound of a word when we investigate or pay attention to how vowels are softened in their disposition or how they lose hiatus when they come together, likewise, how consonants cluster by interposition or are made harsh by clustering, and how many or what kind of syllables (a word) consists of, where the poetic rhythm and accent, a matter for the ears of the grammarian alone, are treated. But when there is dispute concerning these things, that is not beyond dialectic. For it is the science of disputing. But since words concern things, when they assert something concerning themselves, it is with words that the dispute is carried on concerning them. Since we cannot speak of words unless we use words, and when we speak we necessarily speak concerning something, these words seem to the mind to be signs of things. For when the word goes out of the mouth, if it goes out concerning itself, that is, for example, it argues or asks something concerning itself, it is a thing undoubtedly subject to disputation and question, and then the thing itself is called word. That of the word which is not sensed by the ears but by the mind and is held enclosed in the mind itself is called dicibile (the expressible, the sayable; Stoic lekto/n). When the word is uttered not for its own sake, but to signify something about something, it is called dictio (an expression, a saying). That thing which is neither a word nor the conception of a word in the mind, whether it has a word with which it may be signified or not, is called by its proper name nothing other than thing. We then have four distinct things: word, dicibile, dictio, thing. What I have called word is both a word and signifies word. What I have called dicibile is a word, but it doesnt signify word, but that which is understood in the word and contained in the mind. What I have called dictio is a word, but it signifies something similar to both the other two, namely, the word itself and what happens in the mind through the word. When I say thing it is a word which signifies that which is left over after those three which have just been mentioned. Let us see if we can illustrate this by examples: Let a boy be questioned by a schoolteacher in this manner: "What part of speech is arma (arms)?" arma is here said concerning itself (for its own sake), i.e. is a word concerning a word. The other parts, however, when he says What part of speech ... are either felt in the mind or pronounced by the voice, not for their own sake, but for the sake of arma. But since they were felt in the mind, dicibilia (sayables) came before voice; when they break out in voice concerning what I said, then they are dictiones (things said). arma itself, since it is a word, when it was pronounced by Virgil, became a dictio, for it was not pronounced for its own sake, but that it might signify either the wars which Aeneas carried on, or the shield, or other arms which Vulcan made for the hero. These very wars or arms which were carried on or worn by Aeneas -- the same, I say, which were either carried on or existed, if they were now present could either be pointed out or touched with the finger, if they were not thought nor made for him, they are neither words nor dicibilia nor dictiones, but things which are properly called res (thing) by name. We must thus in this part of dialectic treat words, dicibilia, dictiones, things. In all these things, where words are partly signified and partly things which are not words, there is nothing concerning which it is not necessary to dispute using words. Thus, we must first discuss these, since it is conceded that we must dispute concerning the others by use of them.

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