ANTH 252 : What is language?

Saussure and Structuralism

Reading

Ferdinand de Saussure (1916/1986) Course in General Linguistics ed. C. Bally & A. Sechehaye, trans. R. Harris. La Salle, Illinois: Open Court. Introduction, Chapter III;     Part One, Chapter I.   Distributed in class; also available here.   Monday 11 September.   Presented by Andrew.

Assessment #1 Questions (due Friday 6 October)

  1. According to Saussure (Introduction, Chapter III), what sets linguistics apart from the other (mainstream, physical) sciences?
  2. What, then (according to S.) is the "object" of linguistics?
  3. Briefly describe Saussure's language/speech distinction.
  4. What, according to Saussure (Part One, Chapter I) are the two main properties of the linguistic sign?

Suggestions for Further Research

Investigate Structuralism in other fields: anthropology, psychology, and sociology, literary theory, or any field of interest to you where structuralism had a significant influence. What was the common thread in the structuralist approach to these subjects? What paradigms replaced structuralism, and what aspects of structuralism did they find inadequate? For example, describe the work of Noam Chomsky in linguistics, or Post-structuralism and Deconstruction in literary theory.