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The most influential linguists in history


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Who are the most influential linguists of the past and the present?

Some of the most important ones are:

Ferdinand de Saussure

Noam Chomsky

Paul Grice

I will briefly introduce the above-mentioned linguists when I get home from university. I am curious to hear about your favorite (most influential) linguists.

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Most influential linguists // Ferdinand de Saussaure

Ferdinand de Saussure (* Nov 26th 1857 – † Feb 22nd 1913) was a major Swiss linguist. He is sometimes also referred to as the founder of "modern linguistics". He was without any doubt  one of the most influential authors of structuralism in the 20th century.

Ferdinand de Saussure is most famous for theories about language. According to Saussure, the language consists of signs which express ideas. He generally regards language as a system of signs. In Saussure's point of view, linguistic signs are relational elements which are motivated by the need to differentiate them from other linguistic signs. What is more is that he explains that signs are not innate to things or concepts they mean. Thereby the form of a linguistic sign is an arbitrary convention.

Keywords (terms) in Ferdinand de Saussure's language studies/theory are: langue (the language as a system of signs),  parole (an explicit utterance in a language X), signifié(signified) and signifiant (signifier).

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I haven't heard of any other linguists that has influenced in the languages in which people are spoken now. I do know that Ferdinand de Saussure has been one of the greatest influencers in the history. I have learned that he's such a great linguist and semiotic that has happened to be developed in such a linguistic phenomena.

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