langue and parole
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langue and parole(LINGUISTICS) the distinction between LANGUAGE as a communal resource, a socially established system of linguistic units and rules (langue), and as actually produced speech (parole). Introduced by SAUSSURE, the distinction is an important one not only in theoretical linguistics, but also for its influence in the formation of the more diffuse body of ideas in social science known as STRUCTURALISM.
In his own work Saussure regarded the understanding of langue as the paramount concern of theoretical linguistics. The significance of this is that it places an emphasis on the internal 'S tructural’ relations of language, even though language is constantly changed as the result of parole, i.e. by language use. In structuralism more generally, it is the same emphasis on structural explanations, sometimes to the exclusion of the individual subject or AGENCY, which is uppermost and which defines the approach, but which is also much criticized for its onesidedness.