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Structuralism and Generative Grammar

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gabriela gonzalez

on 16 June 2015

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Transcript of Structuralism and Generative Grammar

Langue vs. Parole
One long lasting dichotomy presented by De Saussure is that of Langue vs. Parole.
Langue
is the system of general rules we all share and
Parole
is the actual realization of that system in individual languages and situations.
De Saussure followers and American Structuralism
De Saussure´s ideas had an impact in Russian Structuralism. Members of The Prague School developed concepts such as phoneme, morpheme, grapheme, distinctive feature, etc. by applying De Saussure´s methods.
His ideas made themselves felt in America, too. Franz Boas used structuralist methods to describe native languages. His approach was eminently particularist (he opposed generalization),
American Structuralism (cont.)
Leonard Bloomfield
He is credited with giving American Structuralims its fundamental form as it endowed it with the features of a true science.
His book Language (1933) reflected De Saussure´s thinking but it was also heavily influenced by behaviorist psychology (Skinner).
American Structuralism (cont.)
Edward Sapir
was Boas' student and studied particular languages as his professor had done. He (and his student Benjamin Whorf) developed the
Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis
which holds that a speaker's perception of the world is organized by the categories their language offers ('language is the mold of thought').
Structuralism - Ferdinand De Saussure
Swiss linguist Ferdinand De Saussure (1857-1813) inaugurated synchronic (non-historical) Linguistics.
Linguistics is to study language as a system of interrelated and interdependent elements.
His Theory of Linguistic Signs - the combination of a
signifier
(string of sounds) and a
signified
(the mental image or concept the signifier evokes in our minds) that are arbitrarily connected, was extremely influential.
Generative Grammar (cont.)
Unlike American structuralists, Chomsky gave Linguistics the goal of generalizing (establish what languages have in common or language universals).
Regarding language teaching, Chomsky´s review of Skinner's
Verbal Behavoir
became the basic refutation of behaviorist psychology. To Chomsky, language is not a set of habits gradually built up over the years but an innate capacity that develops with very little help from the environment.
Structuralism and Generative Grammar
Generative Grammar
Noam Chomsky
The goal of grammar is to account for the native speaker's competence (what they tacitly know about their language). This knowledge allows speakers to produce and infinite set of novel sentences by applying a finite set of
rules
. These rules are the ones that
generate
the new sentences (that is why, it is called Generative Grammar).
Search for language teaching books (English or Spanish) and try to find traces of the linguistic schools outlined in this presentation. Write a report containing your findings.
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