F. de Saussure as the Founder of Structuralism in Linguistics

F. de Saussure as the Founder of Structuralism in Linguistics

The origin of structuralism is connected with the name of Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) who took a decisive step in redirecting the linguistic mainstream to the study of living languages in three courses on General Linguistics he gave at the University of Geneva between 1907 and 1911. A synthesis of these three courses was posthumously published by his disciples Ch. Bally and A. Sechehaye in 1916 under the title of “Course in General Linguistics”, a work that turned out to be a landmark in the development of Linguistics.

It introduced a number of new terms and concepts that even after many decades remain to be an inherent part of modern linguistic terminology and theories in Europe and America. F. de Saussure was not only the founder of the Geneva school, but also the first to systematically outline a new conception of the approach to the issues of General Linguistics. Therefore he is also considered to be the founder of structuralism in the 20lh century linguistics.

Structuralism as a reaction to atomism of the preceding century Linguistics meant a new era in this science development. It brought a new approach focusing on the function of linguistic units within the language system defined as a system of signs with their internal structural interrelations. Language was considered to be a social phenomenon, the main function of which is communicative. Moreover, the importance of synchronic evaluation of facts is emphasized. There are the following 10 key elements in Saussurean view of language.