Langue and Parole

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

John Phillips (National University of Singapore); Chrissie Tan (National University of Singapore)
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The distinction between the French words,


(language or tongue) and


(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 (


) would be possible. The


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:


Linguistics. Saussure in this way indicates that the course will be about language in general: not this or that particular language (Chinese or French)…

2086 words

Citation: Phillips, John, Chrissie Tan. "Langue and Parole". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 08 February 2005 [, accessed 25 May 2024.]

662 Langue and Parole 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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