difference. The view that, where signification is concerned, it is difference rather than a presumed stable identity that is important has won widespread acceptance in a range of theoretical fields. What something is taken to be is dependent upon what it is taken not to be, i.e., meaning is generated at least in part by a difference from what is not meant. Meaning in communication and culture is in part (those who believe that systems of signification are closed would say wholly) generated by marked distinctions, divisions, and exclusions, i.e., by a difference from the not meant. For example, a smart three-piece suit has significance at least in part because of what it is not, as a result of its displayed difference from other possible styles of dress. One of the reasons for the wide circulation of this term in recent academic discourse is the influence of Saussure's view that language works as a system of differencesthat, as he puts it, 'in a language-state everything is based on relations' (1974, 122). He points out, for example, that the modern French mouton and the English sheep have the same signification but not the same value, because the single French word is roughly equivalent to two English ones: sheep and mutton. Thus the value of sheep is partly conditioned by its being non-muttonby being different from mutton. Saussure adds that 'everything said about words applies to any term of language, e.g. to grammatical entities' (1974, 116). It is certainly true of the phonemic system, where it is not necessary that all speakers of a language produce identically sounding phonemes, but that the same set of phonemically significant differences between sounds can be recognized. On the syntactical level, Saussure draws attention to the importance of syntagmatic and paradigmatic choices, thus providing two key axes of meaning-generating difference in the syntax of the sentence.