Neither Transparency Nor Opacity

I’m reading material in which authors make a great deal of the difference between textuality that one can apprehend readily, without hesitation or uncertainty (on one hand) and textuality that throws us back on our capacity to make inferences from evidence. That’s not the language they use, of course, that’s chosen to reflect my own pet perspective; the current article refers to the space of signification and the space of designation, insists that they are incompossible, and that we usually read transparently until we encounter a word or phrase that opaquely disrupts the system of oppositions by which we make meanings.
Contrariwise, I propose that ordinarily we read in the same way we ordinarily ‘calculate’ 2 + 2 = 4; it’s already known, there’s no need to deliberate or slow down in assessing it. If, however, one were to infer that ‘addition’ is ‘transparent’, one would have to account for the difference presented by 21793 + 68337; when I see that mathematical expression, I must pause to calculate the sum before I go forward. Simple sums aren’t ‘transparent’ and longer sums ‘opaque’; they just evoke different responses from people with different attitudes and capacities. No linguistic formulation simply is transparent or opaque, and it’s a conceptual mistake to posit this manner of distinction when trying to suss out how language works (much more so when trying to figure out how communication works).

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