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Saussure, Ferdinand de

Saussure, Ferdinand de fĕrdēnäN´ də sōsür´ [key], 1857–1913, Swiss linguist. One of the founders of modern linguistics , 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.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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