His ideas laid a foundation for many significant developments in both linguistics and semiotics in the 20th century. One of his translators, Roy Harris , summarized Saussure's contribution to linguistics and the study of "the whole range of human sciences. It is particularly marked in linguistics, philosophy , psychology , sociology and anthropology. Saussure was born in Geneva in Saussure showed signs of considerable talent and intellectual ability as early as the age of fourteen.
Ferdinand de Saussure November 26 , - February 22 , was a Swiss linguist , considered by many to be the father of structuralism. Born in Geneva , he laid the foundation for many developments in linguistics in the 20th century. He perceived linguistics as a branch of a general science of signs he proposed to call semiology now generally known and Work: Relatively little is known about Saussure's life apart from his academic pursuits. Born in Geneva to a family known for its scholastic achievement, Saussure's interest and ability in linguistics was recognized early. His first professional essay was written at fourteen, a response to the works of the paleontologist Pictet, a family friend.
The generally accepted view of those who study language professionally is that language is an arbitrary, cultural construct; language, on this view, is learnt by listening to speakers of the language of the particular community into which an infant is born; the words used in the language as well as the particular grammar or syntax of the language have developed historically as a social product and been handed down by tradition. At first sight, it might seem a highly academic question whether or not language is arbitrary, of interest only to linguisticians, etymologists and so on. But to say that language is arbitrary and a purely cultural product is to assert that there is no basis for relating language to other aspects of human biology, to evolution as shown in the development of brain structure and the physiological differences between men and animals. It would be a strange result if the manifestation of the major and many would say absolutely crucial human ability, the ability to speak and understand language, should on this view turn out to be something which cannot be explained and for which, in principle, no explanation can even be attempted.
In doing so Saussure attempts to explain the basic parts that compromise language, the basic traveling of thought from brain to mouth, in an attempt to better understand the inner-workings of language as a whole. In addition, Saussure elaborates on the ways in which language is not only structured, but how it is used in societal and social settings. Saussure concludes his argument by stating that in order to discover the true nature of language systems, one must consider what they have in common with other similar systems. In defining the basic components of speech and language Saussure further illustrated his point, and made his arguments later in the essay much more compelling and relatable. Saussure cites examples of German words that have no exact translation into English and I have found similar difficulties in my own studies of French.