Langue and Parole short notes

Langue is the system or a structure of a language, it is an individual concept, in which a linguistic use a particular set of grammar rules and vocabulary to communicate.

While Parole is an activity of speaking in a language. Parole means ‘speech’ which refers to the concrete instances of the use of langue that includes both speaking and writing of context.

Langue and Parole is the concept given by father of Swiss linguistic Ferdinand de Saussure in his course in General Linguistics in 1857-1913.

According to Saussure langue is something that is at once social and constraining, it is both a social product of the faculty of speech and a collection of necessary conventions, that have been adopted by a social body to permit individuals to exercise that faculty. Therefore, it is the possession of the community of speakers which is fixed. While on the other hand, Parole is the realm of freedom, it is an individual act that is willful and intellectual.

Therefore, these two aspects of language examined by Saussure at the beginning of 20th century, he examines that langue is a system of Internalization that based on structuralisms and hence, shares rules like; vocabulary, principles of construction, idioms and pronunciation. While Parole, designates actual oral and written communication.

Langue represents the abstract system of structural relationships inherent in language hence it is a work of a collective intelligence. While Parole on the other hand, is an individual statement, utterances, events of a language.  According to Saussure, there would be no coherent and meaningful utterance without the institution of norms, that is a langue by Saussure.

Saussure acclaims that the langue as a system is a social essence and independent of the individual that registers passively, whereas Parole is purely individual and subjective. One of the popular Linguistic Mikhail Bakhtin in (1929) criticized the splitting of langue and parole as separating individuals and society, where it matters the most at the point of production. Therefore, he developed a ‘dialogic’ theory of utterances where language is understood in terms of how it orients the speaker and listener. Thus, the words are subject to negotiation, contest and struggle which is highly affected by social contexts.

With the point of view of Saussure, the structural approaches to the analysis of language is not only concerned with explicating the internal workings of langue but it also involves the segmentation of utterances into the elements in terms of two basic and complimentary relation that is syntagmatic and Paradigmatic.


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