So, Clara (age 4) has led me to a new understanding of semiotics (concepts I remember of which are: word and thing word represents become indivisible; idea that perhaps thought is impossible without language).
By waking me repeatedly in the night ("I'm itchy, Mummy!" "Mummy, I need to pee!" "Mummy, I'm scared there are ghosters!") and interrupting many dreams, Clara let me observe that in my dreams semiotics rupture: there IS thought outside of language. That apple stem surrounded by yellow light? It does not mean the word "apple" or "yellow" or "stem" but rather evokes a more general emotion: apprehension, anxiety, discomfort. That emotion is part of a sequence (a narrative of emotions)--all happening outside of my waking language.
Sign, signifier and signified are not in concert.
Perhaps it's sleep deprivation, but today I find that revelation fascinating . . . Maybe a nap is in order.