Ferdinand de Saussure:
Was a Swiss linguist whose ideas laid a foundation for many significant developments in linguistics in the 20th century. He is widely considered one of the fathers of 20th-century linguistics. However, many modern linguists and philosophers of language consider his ideas outdate. his ideas have significantly influenced the humanities and social sciences.Ferdinand Mongin de Saussure was born in Geneva in 1857.Saussure showed signs of considerable talent and intellectual ability as early as the age of fourteen Saussure's most influential work, Course in General Linguistics (Cours de linguistique générale), was published posthumously in 1916 by former students Charles Bally and Albert Sechehaye on the basis of notes taken from Saussure's lectures in Geneva. The Course became one of the seminal linguistics works of the 20th century, not primarily for the content (many of the ideas had been anticipated in the works of other 20th century linguists), but rather for the innovative approach that Saussure applied in discussing linguistic phenomena. According to Saussure, a language is arbitrary because it is systematic in that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Also, all languages have their own concepts and sound images (or signifieds and signifiers). Therefore, Saussure argues, languages have a relational conception of their elements: words and their meanings are defined by comparing and contrasting their meanings to one another. For instance, the sound images for and the conception of a book differ from the sound images for and the conception of a table. Languages are also arbitrary because of the nature of their linguistic elements: they are defined in terms of their function rather than in terms of their inherent qualities. Finally, he posits, language has a social nature in that it provides a larger context for analysis, determination, and realization of its structure. Ferdinand de Saussure's Cours...
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