Ferdinand de Saussure Quotes

A quotes list created by Lee Sonogan

Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913),founder of linguistic structuralism -  EngloPedia

A man of linguistic turn during the 20th century is one of the main founders of semiotics or semiology. His work has contributed to so many human sciences through the dichotomy of signs and design in structuralism over generative ability. I highly recommend it because the following quotes are some of the best expressions relating to the dualism building blocks of life. An important history of language that rivals pragmatics in the competence hierarchy of phenomenal communication.

  • I’m almost never serious, and I’m always too serious. Too deep, too shallow. Too sensitive, too cold hearted. I’m like a collection of paradoxes.” ― Ferdinand de Saussure
  • “Without language, thought is a vague, uncharted nebula.” ― Ferdinand de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics
  • “Psychologically our thought-apart from its expression in words-is only a shapeless and indistinct mass.” ― Ferdinand de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics
  • “Speech has both an individual and a social side, and we cannot conceive of one without the other.” ― Ferdinand de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics
  • “Time changes all things; there is no reason why language should escape this universal law” ― Ferdinand de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics
  • “A linguistic system is a series of differences of sound combined with a series of differences of ideas.” ― Ferdinand de Saussure
  • “For the study of language to remain solely the business of a handful of specialists would be a quite unacceptable state of affairs. In practice, the study of language is in some degree or other the concern of everyone. But a paradoxical consequence of this general interest is that no other subject has fostered more absurd notions, more prejudices, more illusions, or more fantasies. From a psychological point of view, these errors are of interest in themselves. But it is the primary task of the linguist to denounce them, and to eradicate them as completely as possible.” ― Ferdinand de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics
  • The connection between the signifier and the signified is arbitrary. – Ferdinand de Saussure
  • Nearly all institutions, it might be said, are based on signs, but these signs do not directly evoke things. Ferdinand de Saussure
  • Within speech, words are subject to a kind of relation that is independent of the first and based on their linkage: these are syntagmatic relations, of which I have spoken. – Ferdinand de Saussure
  • Outside speech, the association that is made in the memory between words having something in common creates different groups, series, families, within which very diverse relations obtain but belonging to a single category: these are associative relations. – Ferdinand de Saussure
  • It is useful to the historian, among others, to be able to see the commonest forms of different phenomena, whether phonetic, morphological or other, and how language lives, carries on and changes over time. – Ferdinand de Saussure
  • Henceforth, language studies were no longer directed merely towards correcting grammar. – Ferdinand de Saussure
  • It is only since linguistics has become more aware of its object of study, i.e. perceives the whole extent of it, that it is evident that this science can make a contribution to a range of studies that will be of interest to almost anyone. – Ferdinand de Saussure
  • Everyone, left to his own devices, forms an idea about what goes on in language which is very far from the truth. – Ferdinand de Saussure
  • It is one of the aims of linguistics to define itself, to recognise what belongs within its domain. In those cases where it relies upon psychology, it will do so indirectly, remaining independent. – Ferdinand de Saussure
  • The first of these phases is that of grammar, invented by the Greeks and carried on unchanged by the French. It never had any philosophical view of a language as such. – Ferdinand de Saussure
  • Linguistics will have to recognise laws operating universally in language, and in a strictly rational manner, separating general phenomena from those restricted to one branch of languages or another. – Ferdinand de Saussure
  • In general, the philological movement opened up countless sources relevant to linguistic issues, treating them in quite a different spirit from traditional grammar; for instance, the study of inscriptions and their language. But not yet in the spirit of linguistics. – Ferdinand de Saussure

These important questions never make me want to stop. Saussure covers so much what I feel like I have a hang on and evermore! Expect more famous people linguistics in these quote lists to come!




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