Essay: What is Structuralism
Structuralism in this regard, has been used to investigate the inter-relationships in certain fundamental aspects, mental, linguistics, cultural, and social “arrangements” just to mention a few. These arrangements become channels through which meaning is produced and interpreted by individuals, social systems and/or culture. Structuralism is concerned with the formal properties of languages and signs contrary to the individual choice and freedom. Whereas for existentialists, meaning is pegged to choice and commitment; for structuralists, meaning is regarded to be a function of the commonly shared systems of communication. In this sense, language determines the individual. It is not the product of the individual but the individual is the product of it.
In a linguistic point of view structuralism is an approach that investigates and explains the structure of language, as distinguished from its comparative and historical aspects (Mathews p.46).Structuralism is also regarded as part of linguistics that analyses language as a system of interrelated elements without reference to their historical advancement. This point of view is in opposition to the diachronic approach which focuses on the historical aspects of language. Saussure posits that language is characterized by arbitrary signs. This implies that there is no relationship between the signifier or the sound or mark and the signified or the concepts it represents or signifies. Therefore, any term in linguistic is determined by its differences from other terms.