The Linguistic Foundation. Jonathan Culler. Jonathan Culler’s Structuralist Poetics () was one of the first complete introductions in. English to the French. Mar 13, Structuralism, Linguistics and the Study of Literature. ByJonathan Culler. FULL ACCESS THE LINGUISTIC FOUNDATION. Pages Jun 25, “The Linguistic Foundation” by Jonathan Culler is often analysed in Literary Theory classes, the following is an interpretation and explanation of.

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Understanding Jonathan Culler’s “The Linguistic Foundation” | HubPages

The structuralism movement believes that language, culture, and literary phenomena have a system that operates these and give them meaning. It is concerned with the analysis of language, culture and society.

Structuralism argues that a specific domain of culture may be understood by means of the structure of the language. Culler posits that language and human culture operate in similar ways. He argues that linguistics can be used to analyze human culture for two reasons. Culler gives an example to support his idea: He shows the similarity between language and culture phenomena.

Language is also a set of rules that must be followed to create meaning. Social and cultural practices are signs that combine in a certain way, and this proves the fact that these practices and actions have an underlying system that operates them. This system does not exist to control or direct actions or behavior, but can provide expectations of certain behaviors.


Culler examines cultural phenomena by using two linguistic approaches.

First, de Saussure believes that speech acts and language are different. Cultural phenomena share some elements with language in that both of them are purely dependent on the relationship between signs and the rules that they follow to create these relations. According to de Saussure, an utterance has meaning only in the context of a pre-existing system of rules and conventions.

The meaning of speech comes only from their relationship to other words in the system. De Saussure also believes that language is the system linguisic that speech define this system and gives it meaning. Language and speech are seen as rules and behaviors.

Jonathan Culler

That language is a set of rules and the speech is the behavior. On the other hand in human culture, rules also are from behavior: According to Culler the relation between the words and signs gives this poem its meaning as it operates under a larger system which is the conventions of a poem. In this poem the rose stands for something beautiful or good.

The worm stands for some corrupting agent.

O Rose, thou art sick! That flies in the night. In the howling storm. Has found out thy bed. And his dark secret love. Does they life destroy.

Culler Summary

Structuralism is definitely a different approach than New criticism. New critics search for patterns and identify some intensions, but they do not go beyond the text they study. The system they study is the text that is before them nothing more. They isolate the text from any external elements or influences. On the other hand, for structuralism the text is a part of a larger system, and one cannot begin to study it without knowing the larger system and master it.


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Thesis Sentence 1:Examples

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