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Die siebte Sprachfunktion
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Die siebte Sprachfunktion (2015)

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6243529,557 (3.64)42
'One of the funniest, most riotously inventive and enjoyable novels you'll read this year' - Observer Roland Barthes is knocked down in a Paris street by a laundry van. It's February 1980 and he has just come from lunch with Francois Mitterrand. Barthes dies soon afterwards. History tells us it was an accident. But what if it were an assassination? What if Barthes was carrying a document of unbelievable, global importance? A document explaining the seventh function of language - an idea so powerful it gives whoever masters it the ability to convince anyone, in any situation, to do anything. Police Captain Jacques Bayard and his reluctant accomplice Simon Herzog set off on a chase that takes them from the corridors of power to backstreet saunas and midnight meetings. What they discover is a worldwide conspiracy involving the President, murderous Bulgarians and a secret international debating society.… (more)
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The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet (2015)

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» See also 42 mentions

English (21)  French (5)  Spanish (4)  Catalan (2)  Finnish (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (35)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Unless you grew up in France in the late 70s, early 80s or are very knowledgeable about that period, and its plethora of public intellectuals, this book will be no fun for you.

It's a bit of a mess, to be honest. But it's entertaining. ( )
  SocProf9740 | Jul 11, 2021 |
What literary person can resist a satire of the French 1980s intelligentsia? Roland Barthes is struck by a vehicle, hospitalized, and dies--but not before setting in motion an investigation that points to mysteries, secret societies, a Holy Grail of a purloined document, and national conspiracies. The cast features no less than Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Julia Kristeva, Hélène Cixous, Jean-Paul Sartre, François Mitterand, Umberto Eco (whom I wish got more stage time), et al. From Foucault fleeing a lecture hall and yelling that he cannot be contained by authority; to the constant banter of French intellectuals in smoky, boozy cafés; to militant students foisting activism tracts on passersby and calling everyone around them fascists--there is more than enough poignant satire to provide an evening or two of good-natured amusement. An archetypal police superintendent (right-wing no-nonsense figure with disdain for the generation of intellectuals he views as simply averse to hard work) and an amateur intellectual (knows enough to act as the superintendent’s Wikipedia [sic: anachronism]) pair up for the investigation that takes them from Paris to Bologna to Ithaca (NY) to Venice to Paris. The main themes of the novel and of the time it recounts are language and semiology. Binet was born in 1972, has a literature degree from the University of Paris, and teaches French, all of which contribute to the novel’s blending of 1980s nostalgia, erudite explication of French literary theory, and preoccupation with linguistics. The ostensible plot (a purportedly powerful document that must be rescued from the wrong hands) is rather blasé and has an equally anticlimactic ending. But the book isn’t exactly a potboiler written for the masses. Its full effect will only be realized by a particular set of readers (like me). After the first hundred pages or so, I feared Binet had already exhausted his best material, but at page 185 we get a wonderful allusion to Eco’s 1980 debut novel: “Eco listens with interest to the story of a lost manuscript for which people are being killed. He sees a man walk past holding a bouquet of roses. His mind wanders for second, and a vision of a poisoned monk flashes through it.” On page 217 a boy on a plane plays with a Rubik’s cube, though the fascinated superintendent doesn’t know that’s what it’s called. And on page 237: “In the hotel corridors Foucault has a panic attack because he saw The Shining just before he left France.” For anyone who has had to puzzle through, say, Derrida’s Of Grammatology or trudge through Sartre’s Being and Nothingness; for anyone who has been embroiled in arguments and debates in humanities classes that seems to circle around and around and end in a sort of neopragmatist truce--The Seventh Function of Language will prove a worthy fireside companion. ( )
1 vote chrisvia | Apr 29, 2021 |
My not knowing anything about the field of semiotics is the most obvious reason for my not engaging with this novel. My loss.

Just started looking up semiotics to gain a basic understanding.

Don't know if its just me but it is both thrilling and frustrating at the same time discovering the depth of information out there of which I have little, or virtually no knowledge. While our brains can learn and absorb much, we are human and cannot possibly know what we don't know. I do know I don't know languages other than English, and I can speculate on and guess other subjects I don't know, but there are gazillions of subjects, concepts, words and thoughts I can't imagine, or fathom.

It is thrilling to acknowledge there is so much to learn that could both enrich and possibly change our lives, but frustrating as well to know our time and capacity to learn new, amazing and significant things are limited.

For me not knowing things is very uncomfortable but attempting to learn everything is impossible and overwhelming, and the path to madness. While I am proud of my recent efforts to read books, essays and articles to catch up on topics, i.e. history of which I knew little, I find that much of what I've gleaned is painfully egregious, sad, infuriating as it often reveals the cruelty of humans against humans. So knowing things can be even more uncomfortable as not knowing.

The obvious answer is, as with most things in life, to find a balance. Each of us have our own set of scales to determine that balance of knowing and not knowing. I believe it also helps to introduce some topics earlier in our life cycle balancing learning the good along with the bad.
  Bookish59 | Mar 26, 2021 |
I have read one of Binet's other books, HHhH which I enjoyed so I decided to give his more recent books a go. This book revolves around an accident, the knocking down of Roland Barthes just after meeting Francois Mitterrand who is in the middle of a battle for the presidency of France. Police Captain Jacques Bayard is called in to investigate the accident and it soon turns out that Barthes may have been carrying a document with vital importance. Bayard is an everyman type of character and all the people involved in Barthes' life are philosophers and intellectuals so to help him understand he ropes in Simon Herzog.

Every so often a book comes along that makes me feel dumb and this is one of them. I'm sure people with decent knowledge of French intellectuals would find this a blast but I was left grasping the 'standard' plot items with a lot of the rest going over my head. Reading this felt like being in an insane fever dream which is a shame because the underlying plot was really enjoyable. In summary, probably a good book, just not for me. ( )
  Brian. | Mar 16, 2021 |
This is not a review, but a way to put for a person who browses LT and wants to know the seven functions of language as shown on Page 98-100:
1. Referential (language about something),
2. Emotive or Expressive (for the sender),
3. Conative (the 'you' function or receiver),
4. Phatic (communication as an end in itself),
5. Metalinguistics (verification that the sender and receiver understand each other),
6. Poetic (aesthetics, sounds, alliteration, assonance, repetition, echo, rhythm),
7. perhaps magic or incantatory. ( )
  vpfluke | Oct 7, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
The 7th Function of Language isn’t (only) playing for lowbrow/highbrow laughs; it’s a mise en scène of conflicting ideas about Frenchness. In an election year that saw Marine Le Pen get dangerously close to the French presidency, Binet’s postmodern policier asks where the nation is going, and what kind of car it will drive to get there.
added by thorold | editThe Guardian, Lauren Elkin (May 12, 2017)
 
Laurent Binet sait très très bien raconter les histoires et tout son livre est lui-même une étourdissantes démonstration de la puissance du romanesque le plus échevelé. On rit beaucoup, on se laisse surprendre par l’énormité de son culot et de son mauvais goût assumé… mais, une fois qu’on a bien ri dans cet entre-soi germano-pratin, le fond de la doctrine reste obscur. Vanité des vanités…
 
Et quand la plume aiguisée ne s’élève pas pour nous plonger dans l’ambiance mystérieuse du roman policier, elle s’assagit pour nous donner des leçons de linguistique. Les pensées de Machiavel, Starobinksi et celle de Barthes évidemment, s’exposent clairement et simplement. La septième fonction du langage n’est pas seulement un roman, c’est une introduction à la sémiologie. Et heureusement pour le lecteur, le ton n’est pas hautain.
 
t en même temps, évidemment, tout est vrai, dès lors que l’on a repéré sur la couverture la précision « roman » – ainsi que l’effacement du “ vrai ” Barthes comme celui du “ vrai ” Heydrich pour HHhH – et que, par le pacte de lecture (je m’exprime comme il y a trente ans), on prend cette histoire pour un pur délire, une démonstration par l’absurde de ce qu’est le mentir-vrai. Mais un délire totalement maîtrisé, et surtout terriblement utile.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Laurent Binetprimary authorall editionscalculated
Alemany, JosepTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Taylor, SamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Mirmanda (153)
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”Tulkitsijoita on kaikkialla. Jokainen puhuu omaa kieltään, vaikka osaakin vähän toisen kieltä. Kenttä on hyvin avoin tulkitsijan juonille, eikä hän unohda omia tarkoitusperiään.”

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“There are interpreters everywhere. Everyone speaks his or her own language, although he or she knows a little bit about the other. The field is very open to the interpreter, and he does not forget his own purposes. ”

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La vie n'est pas un roman.
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'One of the funniest, most riotously inventive and enjoyable novels you'll read this year' - Observer Roland Barthes is knocked down in a Paris street by a laundry van. It's February 1980 and he has just come from lunch with Francois Mitterrand. Barthes dies soon afterwards. History tells us it was an accident. But what if it were an assassination? What if Barthes was carrying a document of unbelievable, global importance? A document explaining the seventh function of language - an idea so powerful it gives whoever masters it the ability to convince anyone, in any situation, to do anything. Police Captain Jacques Bayard and his reluctant accomplice Simon Herzog set off on a chase that takes them from the corridors of power to backstreet saunas and midnight meetings. What they discover is a worldwide conspiracy involving the President, murderous Bulgarians and a secret international debating society.

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