(also ‘theoretical’ or ‘general’ linguistics), a term used to characterize the study of language in the 20th cent. owing much to the Swiss linguist Saussure; it distinguishes itself from earlier language study by concentrating on the language at a particular time (‘synchronic’) rather than the history of language and languages (‘diachronic’). For major practitioners, see Saussure; Bloomfield, L.; Chomsky; and Jakobson. See also Structuralism.
Subjects: linguistics — literature.