Decoding the Underpinning Assumptions of Linguistic Theories: The Lens on Structural Linguistics (Published)
Linguistic theories are frameworks about language and language use. Linguistic theories seek to outline the parameters of operations in any given language. They are developed by linguists who study language over a period to arrive at specific assumptions about the nature of human communication. Among others, the most prominent linguistic theories today include generative linguistics, systemic functional linguistics and structural linguistics. This paper dwells on the inherent assumptions of structural linguistics as a theory. Structural linguistics is defined as a study of language based on the theory that language is a structured system of formal units such as sentences and syntax. An example of structural linguistics is phonetics. It is also defined as a language study based on the assumptions that a language is a coherent system of formal units and that the task of linguistic study is to inquire into the nature of those units and their peculiar systematic arrangement, without reference to historical antecedents or comparison with other languages (Chomsky 1972).