Linguistic Movements and Theories

Essay by Ira2125High School, 12th gradeC, May 2014

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Linguistic Movements and Theories

Linguistics is the study of language. As a lot of other scientific studies, it has its own theories and movements. Nowadays the role of Linguistics in language study is widely discussed. Though a large variety of different movements and theories in Linguistics exist, we can group the researches of this study into three main movements: Neogrammarianism, Structuralism and Transformationalism. As for me, all these movements are important and have made its own contribution to the development of Linguistics, but the role of each is different and it is a large space for arguing.

Neogrammarianism was developed by a German school of linguists in the late 19th century. Representatives of this movement proposed the hypothesis of the regularity of sound change. According to this hypothesis a diachronic sound change affects simultaneously all words in which its environment is met. Though all Neogrammarian ideas have strong influence on Linguistics they are criticized for reducing the object of research to the idiolect; overestimation of historical languages and neglect of modern ones.

I think that this theory can exist, but it has a lot of controversial points.

Structuralism is the second main movement in linguistics. Its origin is connected with the work of Ferdinand de Saussure on linguistics. He introduced the idea of language as a static system of interconnected units. According to Structuralism the analysis focuses not on the use of language, but on the underlying system of language. This approach analyzes how the elements of language relate to each other in the present, synchronically rather than diachronically. This movement influenced many linguists. They even created their own versions of structural linguistics. But Structuralism as Neogrammarianism was also criticized and abandoned. It is not held by modern linguists.

Transformationalism is the third main movement...