A Short History of Structural Linguistics by Peter Matthews

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By Peter Matthews

This booklet is a concise old survey of structural linguistics, charting its improvement from the 1870s to the current day. Peter Matthews examines the beginnings of structuralism and analyzes the very important function performed in it via the research of sound structures and the issues of ways platforms switch. He discusses theories of the general constitution of a language, the "Chomskyan revolution" within the Fifties, and the structuralist theories of which means. The e-book contains exposition, specifically, of the contributions of Saussure, Bloomfield and Chomsky.

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This is not concrete, but is formed by rules which, in a specific language, differentiate and order units of meaning. As elements of the language structure these are finite in number. In parallel there must likewise, in the structure of the language, be a ‘signifier’. This is in turn formed by the rules which, again in a specific language, differentiate and order units of sound. In individual acts of speech, signifiers are formed from an infinite variety of physical sounds. But, in the language structure, differences must again be finite (Trubetzkoy, 1939: 5–6).

But these are for Sweet distinguished by their length; thus, though the distinction exists, ‘it is not an independent one, being associated with quantity’. Therefore, in writing English, its representation ‘would be superfluous’. ). Sweet’s examples are from European languages, whose broad structure was familiar. But suppose that we are investigating one that is entirely unknown to us. We ‘hear’, for example, an l: to be precise, we hear a sound that we perceive as l in our own language. So, in our notes, we write ‘l’.

Bloomfield did not, in 1933, repeat his earlier definition of a language. But let us take ‘English’, for example, to be the totality of utterances possible ‘in English’. To describe ‘English’ is thus to describe these utterances, and the structure ‘of English’ will accordingly be the structure that, taken as a whole, they have. What exactly, then, is an ‘utterance’? For Bloomfield, it was an ‘act of speech’. This is again from 1926; in Language ‘utterance’ is not treated or indexed as a technical term.

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