Something that get lost, or at least diluted, in the English translation of Derrida is the subtilty of his punning. Derrida puns on the French word differer, which means both "to differ" and "to defer." The result is differance, which is a mispelling of 'difference.' Since words are only signifiers and have no inherent meaning, there is a distance between the a signifier and a signified. The meaning is deferred. And since words are identified by what they are not, their meaning is defined by difference. Hence, differance. When spoken in French, differance sounds no different than difference, a clever subtilty that, again, is lost in the translation. Derrida is no doubt aware that the two words sound the same, a fact which exhibits a weakness in spoken language.
See the Opening Remarks
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