Key Difference – Paradigm vs Syntagm
Paradigm and syntagm are two concepts in semiotics that direct how signs relate to one another. Both these concepts are used in the textual analysis to the effective communication using signs. The key difference between paradigm and syntagm is that paradigms are about substitution whereas syntagms are about the positioning. The two terms syntagmatic relationship and paradigmatic relationship also stem from syntagm and paradigm and refers to the relationship with other syntagms and paradigms, respectively.
What is a Paradigm?
A paradigm is a set of linguistic items that create mutually exclusive choices in particular syntactic roles. A paradigmatic relationship includes signs that can replace each other. This replacement usually changes the meaning. In paradigmatic relationships, a lexical item can be typically substituted by another of the same category. For example, a noun is replaced by a noun and a verb by a verb. If we take another look at the example sentences, we used for syntagms,
Anne killed a mosquito.
Here, mosquito can be replaced by a variety of words that would imply similar meanings. Anne might have killed a spider, bug, ant or another insect. Each of these words belongs to a paradigm of animals or insects Anne might have killed.
What is a Syntagm?
Syntagm is a linguistic unit which consists of a set of linguist forms such as letters, phonemes or words that are in a sequential relationship to one another. A syntagm is also known as a chain of signifiers. The relationship within a syntagm is known as a syntagmatic relationship. Syntagmatic relationship involves a sequence of signs that create meaning as a whole. They are all about the positioning. Words which make up sentences, sentences which would make up paragraphs, paragraphs which make up chapters are some examples of syntagms and syntagmatic relationships. To be more clear, words in a sentence can be considered as syntagms, and they form a syntagmatic relationship that gives rise to meaning. Changing the sequence of syntagms in the sentence can result in a change of meaning. For example,
Anne killed a mosquito.
A mosquito killed Anne.
The above sentences use the same words (syntagms), but the difference in the order (syntagmatic relationship) give two very different meanings.
The following table might help you to understand the difference between paradigm and syntagm and their relationship more clearly. The syntagmatic relationship can be observed along the horizontal axis, and the paradigmatic relationship can be observed along the vertical axis.
What is the difference between Paradigm and Syntagm?
Paradigm vs Syntagm
|Paradigm is a set of linguistic items that form mutually exclusive choices in particular syntactic roles.||Syntagm is a linguistic unit consisting of a set of linguistic forms (phonemes, words, or phrases) that are in a sequential relationship to one another.|
|In paradigmatic relationships, signs get meaning from their association with other signs.||In syntagmatic relationships, signs get meaning from their sequential order.|
|Paradigmatic relationships are about substitution.||Syntagmatic relationships are about positioning.|
Summary – Paradigm vs Syntagm
Paradigms and syntagms guide the relationship between signs. Both paradigmatic and syntagmatic relationship play a major role in determining the meaning of a linguistic unit. In paradigmatic relationships, the signs get their meaning with their association of other signs whereas in syntagmatic relationships, signs get their meaning from their sequence.
1.”Paradigm and Syntagm.” Chasing Signs. N.p., 01 Jan. 1970. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.
2. “Syntagm and Paradigm.” Changingminds.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.
3. Chandler, Daniel. “Semiotics for Beginners.” Semiotics for Beginners: Paradigms and Syntagms. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.