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Introductory context to Langue and Parole
The concept of Langue and Parole was introduced by the Swiss linguist
Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913)
The notes from Saussure’s lectures were posthumously compiled by his
students Charles Bally and Albert Sechehaye as ‘Cours de linguistique
générale’ which was published in 1916. The book was eventually translated
from French into English by Wade Baskin in 1959 as ‘Course in General
Linguistics’. This significant work became the starting point of structural
linguistics, theory and criticism.
It is in the third chapter of ‘Course in General Linguistics’ that Saussure
discusses the crucial concept of langue and parole.
Linguistics before Saussure
Before Saussure, most linguists were interested only in the history
of language and how it changed and grew with time.
Additionally, only written words and texts were studied and
analized while spoken language did not get much attention.
In the third chapter ‘Object of Linguistics’ of Course in General
Linguistics, Saussure shifts his attention towards the spoken
language and words and makes significant distinctions within
language.
Understanding Langue and Parole
The French term langue stands for the grammatical rules that make
communication within a lingual community possible. On the other hand, the
term parole is the act of speaking.
By introducing langue and parole, Saussure is able to distinguish between
the physical act of speech through phonation, and the psychological
aspects of sound-image and the concept that relies on the grammatical
rules of a language.
Langue or language is not controlled by an individual speaker. For instance,
you and I do not control the rules of the English language. We are able to
speak in English because we have learnt the language and its pre-existing
rules, and thus it is ingrained in our subconscious minds. Langue or language
constitutes the social and subconscious aspect of speech. Therefore, it is
beyond our control. For example, in Hindi language, greeting people with a
Namaste is a rule abided by all in the Hindi speaking community.
Characteristics of Langue
Speakers cannot modify langue. This is extremely important. Had the speakers
been free to change language according to themselves, communication would
have become impossible.
Characteristics of Langue (cont.)
Langue is not dependent on parole, and can be understood without it. For
example, languages such as Sanskrit, Ancient Greek, and Latin are no longer
spoken but are still studied and understood by the linguists.
Although langue or language is ingrained in the minds of its speakers, it is
not an abstract concept. It has specific and tangible written rules. They are
clearly represented by grammar books and dictionaries.
Characteristics of Parole
Parole represents speech or the spoken word.
It is completely in control of the speaker and varies with different speakers. For
instance, English speakers throughout the world might follow the same rules, but
their accents change within the English speaking community. American accent,
Indian accent, British accent are popular accents within the English language.
Understand Langue and Parole with examples.pdf

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Understand Langue and Parole with examples.pdf

  • 2. Introductory context to Langue and Parole The concept of Langue and Parole was introduced by the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) The notes from Saussure’s lectures were posthumously compiled by his students Charles Bally and Albert Sechehaye as ‘Cours de linguistique générale’ which was published in 1916. The book was eventually translated from French into English by Wade Baskin in 1959 as ‘Course in General Linguistics’. This significant work became the starting point of structural linguistics, theory and criticism. It is in the third chapter of ‘Course in General Linguistics’ that Saussure discusses the crucial concept of langue and parole.
  • 3. Linguistics before Saussure Before Saussure, most linguists were interested only in the history of language and how it changed and grew with time. Additionally, only written words and texts were studied and analized while spoken language did not get much attention. In the third chapter ‘Object of Linguistics’ of Course in General Linguistics, Saussure shifts his attention towards the spoken language and words and makes significant distinctions within language.
  • 4. Understanding Langue and Parole The French term langue stands for the grammatical rules that make communication within a lingual community possible. On the other hand, the term parole is the act of speaking. By introducing langue and parole, Saussure is able to distinguish between the physical act of speech through phonation, and the psychological aspects of sound-image and the concept that relies on the grammatical rules of a language.
  • 5. Langue or language is not controlled by an individual speaker. For instance, you and I do not control the rules of the English language. We are able to speak in English because we have learnt the language and its pre-existing rules, and thus it is ingrained in our subconscious minds. Langue or language constitutes the social and subconscious aspect of speech. Therefore, it is beyond our control. For example, in Hindi language, greeting people with a Namaste is a rule abided by all in the Hindi speaking community. Characteristics of Langue Speakers cannot modify langue. This is extremely important. Had the speakers been free to change language according to themselves, communication would have become impossible.
  • 6. Characteristics of Langue (cont.) Langue is not dependent on parole, and can be understood without it. For example, languages such as Sanskrit, Ancient Greek, and Latin are no longer spoken but are still studied and understood by the linguists. Although langue or language is ingrained in the minds of its speakers, it is not an abstract concept. It has specific and tangible written rules. They are clearly represented by grammar books and dictionaries.
  • 7. Characteristics of Parole Parole represents speech or the spoken word. It is completely in control of the speaker and varies with different speakers. For instance, English speakers throughout the world might follow the same rules, but their accents change within the English speaking community. American accent, Indian accent, British accent are popular accents within the English language.