Ferdinand de Saussure Biography
Birthday: November 26, 1857 (Sagittarius)
Born In: Geneva, Switzerland
Ferdinand de Saussure was a renowned Swiss linguist and semiotician. His ideas formed the basis of many significant theories in semiology and linguistics. He is known as one of the founding fathers of linguistics in the 20th century. He is also considered one of two major proponents of semiotics/semiology, along with Charles Sanders Peirce. Born into a family of scientists, he showed signs of his intellectual ability at a tender age. Shortly after his 21st birthday, he published a book, stressing on a new version of the original vowel system of the Proto-Indo-European language. A doctorate from ‘Leipzig University,’ he laid down key ideas on structural linguistics, semiology, the langue and the parole, the signified and the signifier, synchrony and diachrony, the linguistic sign, the laryngeal theory, and semiotic arbitrariness. Following his death, his colleagues Bally and Sechehaye, accumulated students’ notes from Saussure’s courses and his manuscripts to create the ‘Cours de linguistique générale’ (‘Course in General Linguistics’), published in 1916. Over the next few decades, the book formed the basis for the structuralist approach to linguistics. Saussure’s contribution spans across domains such as literary studies, psychology, philosophy, psychoanalysis, sociology, and anthropology, as many intellectuals and scholars from various fields have relied on his ideas.