Langue and Parole

(2086 words)
  • John Phillips (National University of Singapore)
  • Chrissie Tan (National University of Singapore)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

The distinction between the French words, langue (language or tongue) and parole (speech), enters the vocabulary of theoretical linguistics with Ferdinand de Saussure's Course in General Linguistics, which was published posthumously in 1915 after having been collated from student notes. La langue denotes the abstract systematic principles of a language, without which no meaningful utterance (parole) would be possible. The Course manifests a shift from the search for origins and ideals, typical of nineteenth century science, to the establishment of “systems”. The modern notion of system is reflected in the title of the course: General Linguistics. Saussure in this way indicates that t…

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Phillips, John, Chrissie Tan. "Langue and Parole". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 February 2005
[, accessed 10 October 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. Structuralism