Derrida does more citing than commentary concerning the subject of a universal ideographic language in the book “Of Grammatology,” where these quotes are sourced. He asks questions leading the reader to doubt the possibility and hardly comes forthright with his own opinions of the matter outside of deeply convoluted rhetoric. His root point to the diatribe is that writing and speech are both signifiers to the signified. Written language represents spoken language. Spoken language represents concepts. Not only can a universal language be complete, but no language is complete. Complete in this sense refers to the idea that a word or series of words can not completely detail the entirety of a being or concept. “Cat” is a simple word for a very complex being. Individually we receive different images based upon the meaning that word has for us. Aristotle would categorize the cat as having some sort of catness. A black cat might give a bit more of a description, but still the idea is incomplete. To fully embody the specific cat we are referring would take an infinite series of descriptions to pinpoint.

Derrida was pointing at more than the impressional differences words give the audience on specific examples such as the cat. Entire texts are interpreted by the reader individually. These texts that are interpreted one way by a person will be interpreted another way at a later reading by that same person. States of mind and psychology enter the interpretation. Specific passages or meanings pertinent to their immediate life tend to jump out at the subconscious in what Carl Jung would call synchronicity.


  • Derrida, J., De la grammatologie, 1967, Of Grammatology, (trans.) Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, 1976

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.