Characteristics and assumptions of structural lingustics

Priority of the spoken languages:

While almost all traditional grammarians till the beginning of

Priority of the spoken languages:

While almost all traditional grammarians till the beginning of our own century assumed the “superiority of the written form to the spoken form, the structural linguists maintained that spoken form is prior to the written form, and must form the main field of linguistic study. They maintain that the spoken language is primary and that writing is essentially a means of representing speech in another medium. The principle of priority of the spoken language over The written implies, first of all, that speech is older more wide-spread than writing; that all systems of writing (except perhaps Chinese) are demonstrably based upon units of spoken language: that speech is acquired firs and writing afterwards, and that no writing system in use can convey or represent, all the features of speech.”The extra-linguistic features! gestures, etc) are missing in writing besides total values, contrastive stresses, etc Dependence on written language tended to promote prescriptivism, and language teaching  divorced from actual speech habits of the .day. The structulist attempted to change this emphasis with great success.

Objective treatment of all languages:

All languages are structurally complex and completely adequate to the needs of its speech community It was a common belief of the descriptive linguist; who studied languages for a better understanding of human language as such, he took every language, as an equal manifestation of the structure of human language At the same time, he studied each language separately notassuming that languages had common universal properties.

  1. Importance of synchronic description:

Whereas the traditional and the historical grammarians were interested on the diachronic studies of language  , the structuralists found it important to describe the language of the day as i is available for study and description Synchronic description implies a study of usage of the day and of such varieties as exist in the language at the of study.

4.1 .Linguistics is descriptive not a prescriptive science:

The traditional grammarian tended to assume, nor only that the written language was more fundamental than the spoken, but also that a particular form of the written language, namely the literary language, was inherently “purer” and more correct than all other forms of the language, written and spoken; and that it was his duty as a grammarian, to preserve the form of the language from “corruption. The traditional grammarian treated grammar as a set of normative, prescriptive rules. But the structuralists gave up such notions and treated linguistics as descriptive science —

System Structure: The concern of the structural linguist was with describing the organization or the pattern, or the system or the structure of the language under scrutiny According to the structuralists, the most striking feature of human languages is the complexity of their structure. Their study of language was based on empirical evidence

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