Savas Kilic
Saussure’s Critique of Sound Laws
Résumé : L'auteur examine la critique que F. de Saussure formule à l'encontre de la notion de loi, notion empruntée aux sciences exactes et, donc, d'application problématique en linguistique, partie des sciences de la culture.
Abstract : Saussure’s Critique of Sound Laws With the rise of Neogrammarian movement, the notion of law in linguistic studies came to be not only a major issue of debate, but also a sign of the epistemological crisis that the comparative grammar had undergone. Although there are important works dedicated to the concept of “phonetic laws” in the historiography of linguistics (Wilbur, 1977; Caussat 1978), Saussure’s approach to this notion, which is borrowed from exact sciences, and criticizes its direct application in linguistics has not been subject of a detailed study, despite Bouquet’s (1997: 251-52) remark. After examining the emergence of the notion “sound laws” in comparative grammar from a cross-scientific point of view, this paper focuses on outlining the Saussurian theory of law, on analyzing his critique and on possible linguistic and non-linguistic - i.e. philosophical - sources of his “synchronic and diachronic laws”. It indicates that his background in hard sciences enabled him to refer to works in philosophy of science, such as A. Naville (1901, 1905) and perhaps Boutroux (1895), and concludes that, in spite of the fact that he thought of a more rigorously defined notion of law for a short time, comparing its different conceptions in natural sciences and the so-called historical sciences, he nevertheless clung to its form upheld especially by Kruzsewski in 1880’s.
Pour citer ce document
SAVAS KILIC (2014) «Saussure’s Critique of Sound Laws», [En ligne], Volume XIX - n°4 (2014). Coordonné par Christophe Gérard,