Ferdinand de Saussure


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Saussure, Ferdinand de

(fĕrdēnäN` də sōsür`), 1857–1913, Swiss linguist. One of the founders of modern linguisticslinguistics,
scientific study of language, covering the structure (morphology and syntax; see grammar), sounds (phonology), and meaning (semantics), as well as the history of the relations of languages to each other and the cultural place of language in human behavior.
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, he established the structural study of language, emphasizing the arbitrary relationship of the linguistic sign to that which it signifies. Saussure distinguished synchronic linguistics (studying language at a given moment) from diachronic linguistics (studying the changing state of a language over time); he further opposed what he named langue (the state of a language at a certain time) to parole (the speech of an individual). Saussure's most influential work is the Course in General Linguistics (1916), a compilation of notes on his lectures.

Saussure, Ferdinand de

 

Born Nov. 26, 1857, in Geneva; died Feb. 22,1913, at Vufflens-sur-Morges. Swiss linguist.

Saussure studied at the University of Geneva in 1875 and at the universities of Leipzig and Berlin from 1876 to 1880. From 1881 to 1891 he taught at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Paris and in 1891 became a professor at the University of Geneva. His doctoral dissertation was entitled On the Use of the Genitive Absolute in Sanskrit (1881).

Saussure’s work Report on the Primitive Vowel System of the Indo-European Languages (1879) brought him worldwide fame as the leading specialist on Indo-European languages. The work introduced a new principle for the reconstruction of the phonological system of the protolanguage on the basis of morphological data. In his works on Lithuanian accentuation, written from 1894 to 1896, Saussure established the nature of word accentuation and intonation in the Baltic languages as related to analogous phenomena in the Slavic languages (the Fortunatov-Saussure law); independent work in this same area was done at the time by F. F. Fortunatov.

Course in General Linguistics, compiled by C. Bally and A. Sechehaye on the basis of notes collected by students during three series of Saussure’s lectures, was published in 1916 (3rd ed., 1972). The work presents Saussure’s views on language, which have had a very great influence on 20th-century linguistics—particularly on the development of structural linguistics, since Saussure was the first linguist to examine language as a system (structure). In the diverse manifestations of speech, Saussure distinguished between langue and parole. Langue is a system of signs, a social and psychological phenomenon passively acquired and accepted by speakers; it is studied by the linguistics of language. Parole is an individual and psychophysiological phenomenon, the active use of a linguistic code in accordance with the speaker’s thoughts; it is studied by the linguistics of speech.

Saussure defined linguistics as part of a new science that studies the life of signs within society; he called this study semiology and included it within the framework of social psychology. The linguistic sign (a word, a word’s meaningful part) has a double nature: it represents the unity of the signified (concept) and the signifier (sound image), which are linked together arbitrarily and without motivation. The second characteristic of the linguistic sign is the linearity of the signifier, that is, the successive character of linguistic units (words, affixes) in the speech act and the strict rules of their distribution relative to one another.

Saussure formulated the concept of the value of linguistic signs, that is, the aggregate of the signs’ relational characteristics, which exist alongside the signs’ absolute characteristics, such as meaning and phonetic traits. The relational characteristics are determined by the associative (common roots, affixes, and phonemes) and syntagmatic (arrangement in a line) relations of the signs as members of a system with other members of the system and serve as a basis for the identification of linguistic units. Langue is studied by synchronic (static) linguistics, whereas parole is studied by diachronic (evolutionary) linguistics. As the object of internal linguistics, language is examined “in and for itself”; the connection between the history of a language and that of a nation pertains to external linguistics, as does the study of the literary language and dialects and the geographic distribution of languages.

Saussure’s philosophic orientation was influenced by E. Dürkheim, G. Tarde, and French rationalism. The linguistic aspect of Saussure’s concepts are close to the ideas of I. A. Baudouin de Courtenay, N. V. Krushevskii (M. Kruszewski), and W. Whitney. Saussure’s theory of language influenced not only linguistics but also certain foreign trends in semiotics, anthropology, literary theory and criticism, and aesthetics.

WORKS

Recueil des publications scientifiques. Heidelberg, 1922.
Cours de linguistique générale, fases. 1–3. Edited by R. Engler. Wiesbaden, 1967–68.
“Morphologie. Linguistique statique: Quelques Principes généraux.” In A Geneva School Reader in Linguistics. Bloomington, Ind., 1969.
Cours de linguistique générale [3rd ed.]. [Paris] 1972.
In Russian translation:
Kursobshchei lingvistiki. Moscow, 1933.

REFERENCES

Sliusareva, N. A. Teoriia F. de Sossiura v svete sovremennoi lingvistiki. Moscow, 1975.
Godel, R. Les Sources manuscrites du cours de linguistique générale de F. de Saussure. Paris-Geneva, 1957.
Starobinski, L. Les Mots sous les mots: Les Anagrammes de F. de Saussure. [Paris, 1971.]
Koerner, E. F. K. Ferdinand de Saussure: Origin and Development of His Linguistic Thought in Western Studies of Language. Braunschweig, 1973.
Koerner. E. F. K. Bibliographia Saussureana, 1870–1970. Metuchen, N.J., 1972.
Wunderli, P. Ferdinand de Saussure und die Anagramme: Linguistik und Literatur. Tübingen, 1972.

N. A. SLIUSAREVA

References in periodicals archive ?
15l, "In his research on hypograms, Ferdinand de Saussure allows himself to this 'redistribution' of 'prefabricates' that Claude Levi-Strauss analyzed under the DIY name: 'Look at the bricoleur at work: absorbed by the final project, his first practical activity is, yet, retrospective: he must continually return to the already constructed ensemble, made from tools and materials; to make and remake the inventory; ultimately--especially to keep this continual dialogue with the ensemble in order to inventorize before choosing from among the possible answers that the ensemble can provide to the question raised at a given moment.
Loc 77) existen dos tendencias en la corriente de investigacion semiotica: la "semeiotica" estadounidense de Peirce, por un lado, y la semiologia europea fundada sobre las observaciones de Ferdinand de Saussure, en la otra.
I: El mundo en el que nacio desarrolla tres temas: describe diversos avatares de la historia familiar hasta instalarse en Ginebra, junto con el influjo que ejercieron en el las diversas generaciones de una familia calvinista tan distinguida, y reconstruye el punto de no retorno donde llego la reflexion sobre la lengua por parte de Locke, Descartes, la Escuela de Port Royal o Herder, entre otros, justo en el momento en que Ferdinand de Saussure inicio su trayectoria intelectual.
A concepcao de Ferdinand de Saussure da linguagem como sistema de valores articulando diferencas negativas sugere uma instabilidade fundamental nas nocoes de significante e de significado (bem como na relacao entre eles) que pode ser correlacionada a perspectivas filosoficas, mas de cunho eminentemente filologico, como aquelas defendidas por Vico e Nietzsche.
Mientras Alfonso Ruiz Soto estudiaba el doctorado en semiologia en la Universidad de Oxford, se percato de que los principios de esta disciplina --entendida por Ferdinand de Saussure, como "La ciencia que estudia la vida de los signos en el seno de la vida social"--, podian aplicarse a las personas como una herramienta para desarrollar actos creativos de la conciencia, de una gran sutileza y precision, logrando "horizontes de posibilidades significativas que permiten la reconciliacion de cualquier persona con su propia biografia en consecuencia, la creacion de un genuino proyecto de vida".
De alli que la autora sostenga que ante el auge que ha tenido dentro de la critica moderna desde Ferdinand de Saussure, su linguistica, pasando por la etapa formalista, y el post formalismo que incorpora el enfoque estructural y recala en una ciencia d los signos, "postulamos una critica hermeneutica de fundamento espiritual que toma distancia con relacion a las reducciones positivistas del lenguaje; a la nocion del texto literario como artefacto; a la idea de que la verosimilitud narrativa es un disfraz inherente a las leyes del texto; a la negacion del sujeto historico de la novela y a la tesis de que preguntarse por la verdad de un texto literario es leerlo como un texto no literario".
das notas deixadas por Ferdinand de Saussure sobre os anagramas e seu uso hipogramatico [.
Nuestra lengua esta formada por una serie de referentes que como diria el linguista Ferdinand de Saussure constituyen un doble aspecto, significante y significado.
Dividing his study into three distinct parts: "Le texte dialogique," "Les dimensions axiologique et temporelle," and "Le destinataire," Holm guides his readers logically into what would otherwise present a labyrinth of nebulous critical perspectives from notable scholars, past and present, such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Paul Ricceur, Ferdinand de Saussure, Tzvetan Todorov, and many others.
Nos referimos a la linguistica estructural, pero sobre todo a los trabajos de Ferdinand de Saussure y de Roman Jakobson.
La caracteristique du mot la plus adequate de nos jours a ete lancee par Ferdinand de Saussure dans son Cours de linguistique generale donne a l'Universite de Geneve, au debut du siecle.
Foi o inicio dos debates em torno das relacoes entre o pensamento de Bakhtin e o Circulo e o dialogo com os conceitos de Roman Jakobson, Karl Marx, Ferdinand de Saussure, Ernst Cassirer, Immanuel Kant entre outros.