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Saussure and his Interpreters$
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Roy Harris

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780748613083

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748613083.001.0001

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Chomsky's Saussure

Chomsky's Saussure

Chapter:
(p.152) Chapter Nine Chomsky's Saussure
Source:
Saussure and his Interpreters
Author(s):

Roy Harris

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748613083.003.0009

This chapter analyses Noam Chomsky's view and interpretation of Ferdinand de Saussure's ideas about linguistics, explaining that there seems to be no indication that Chomsky had ever read or paid any attention to the work of Saussure until 1959 and that the first mention of Saussure in Chomsky's paper was in 1963. It suggests that Chomsky welcomed the ideas of Saussure because he was looking retrospectively for pre-Bloomfieldian champions of mentalism who could be posthumously resurrected as avatars heralding his own approach to linguistic theory. Despite this, Chomsky also expressed his criticism on Sausurre's failure to present lange as a system of generative rules.

Keywords:   Noam Chomsky, Ferdinand de Saussure, linguistics, interpretation, mentalism, linguistic theory, lange, generative rules

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