Cratylism as a philosophical theory that holds that there is a natural relationship between words and what words designate.[1] It reflects the teachings of the Athenian Cratylus (Ancient Greek: Κρατύλος, also transliterated as Kratylos), fl. mid to late 5th century BCE, who is Socrates' interlocutor in Plato's eponymous dialogue Cratylus.[2]

Gérard Genette divided the theory into primary and secondary Cratylism. The former is said to involve a general attempt to establish a motivated link between the signifier and the signified by inventing emotional values for certain sounds while the latter admits that language has fallen and that the signifier enjoys an arbitrary relation to the signified.[3] Cratylism is distinguished from linguisticity[definition needed] by the problematic status of style: in a natural language, where a perfect connection is found between word and things, variations of style are no longer conceivable.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Attardo, Salvatore (2002). "Translation and Humour: An Approach Based on the General Theory of Verbal Humour (GTVH)". The Translator. 8 (2): 173–194. doi:10.1080/13556509.2002.10799131. ISSN 1355-6509. S2CID 142611273.
  2. ^ Wesling, Donald (1999). The Scissors of Meter: Grammetrics and Reading. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. pp. 66. ISBN 0472107151.
  3. ^ Heller, Ben (1997). Assimilation/generation/resurrection: Contrapuntal Readings in the Poetry of José Lezama Lima. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press. p. 44. ISBN 0838753477.
  4. ^ Billitteri, Carla (2009). Language and the Renewal of Society in Walt Whitman, Laura (Riding) Jackson, and Charles Olson: The American Cratylus. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 7. ISBN 9781349375240.