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Ferdinand de Saussure

Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) was a Swiss linguist who is considered to be one of the fathers of modern linguistics and semiotics, the study of communication through signs. Born in Geneva, Saussure studied at the University there, in Leipzig and in Berlin before obtaining his doctorate in 1890. Paper Masters can compose a custom written research paper on Ferdinand de Saussure that follows your guidelines.

Ferdinand de SaussureIn 1891, he began lecturing on Sanskrit and Indo-European language at the University of Geneva, a post he held until his death. His lectures were collected and published after his death, resulting in his most famous work Cours de linguistique générale (Course in General Linguistics). The work is considered to be the seminal book on linguistics in the 20th century.

Saussure and Language Theories

In his work, Saussure maintained that language could be seen as a formal system that includes different elements. Saussure believed that language was a system of signs that ultimately expressed ideas. The sign is comprised of the sound and the concept and language was also comprised of two parts:

  1. The language - the abstract system
  2. Parole - the act of speaking

Saussure’s work also pushed the notion of laryngeal theory, which proposed historical sounds in the Proto-European language, called laryngeals, which have since disappeared from all languages descended from Proto-European.

Saussure and School of Thought

Despite his influence, Saussure’s work became heavily criticized as outdated by the end of the 20th century. However, he is still cited as being one of the founders of the school of thought, upon which modern developments have been built.

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