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The Langue/Parole distinction`

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1 The Langue/Parole distinction`
Lecture # 9

2 Review of Lecture # 8 Anthropological Linguistics
The evolution of language in human society and its role in the formation of culture Literary Stylistics The study of the style of literary texts Neurolinguistics the study of the neural mechanisms in the human brain that control the comprehension, production, and acquisition of language.

3 Introduction Modern linguistics based on some basic
concepts given by linguists in early twentieth century

4 Intro (contd.) The most influential:
American school of structural anthropologists – Leonard Bloomfield & after World War II, Noam Chomsky The European linguists, chiefly among them the Swiss linguist Ferdinand De Saussure

5 The Langue/Parole distinction & competence versus Performance
Saussure made a distinction between two aspects of language: Langue & parole. Langue – language i.e. all the rules & conventions regarding the combinations of sounds, formations of words and sentences, pronunciation and meaning

6 Langue/ Parole distinction
All the above conventions constitute langue & are product of social agreement There is similarity of sounds, words and meaning among the native speakers of language- they have the same images and signs in their minds

7 Langue/Parole distinctions
Saussure says: If we embrace the sum of word image stored in the mind of all individuals, we could identify the social bond that constitutes language. It is a storehouse filled by the members of a given community through their active use, a grammatical system that has a potential existence in each brain, or more specifically, in the brains of a group of individuals. For language is not complete in any speaker, it exists perfectly only in collectivity

8 Langue/parole distinctions
This means: A. Langue is social, a set of conventions shared by all the speakers of a language B. Langue is abstract , as these particular conventions exist in the minds of the speakers who belong to that society that has created language

9 Langue/Parole distinction
Parole belongs to the individual. When the conventions present in human mind as langue are used in a concrete form in actual speech and writing, they become instances of parole. Parole is the actual sounds and sentence produced by an individual speaker or writer.

10 Langue/Parole distinction
Parole is the concrete physical manifestation of the abstract langue that exists in mind. If we hear somebody speaking a language that we don’t know, we hear the sounds and sentences i.e. parole, but we cannot understand it because we don’t share the conventions or langue behind the individual sentences and sounds

11 Langue/parole distinction
Langue is the underlying system which makes the individual performance or parole meaningful. Without langue, parole would never be understood and could not serve a means of communication

12 Langue/Parole distincton
Parole is: (i) Individual performance of language in speech and writing (ii) Concrete and physical. It makes use of the physiological mechanism such as speech organs, in uttering words and sentences Langue exists in in the mind of each individual in the form of word images and knowledge of conventions – as an abstract form of grammar and dictionary of the language

13 Langue/parole distinction
An individual makes use of his knowledge (langue) to produce actual sentences (parole) Individuals can communicate with each other because they share the same langue Individuals produce different sentences based on the same langue

14 Langue/Parole distinction
Parole is marked as being variable, unpredictable, heterogeneous, inventive & whimsical. Still it has to follow the stable conventions of langue if it has to communicate So, language system is Langue while language behaviour is Parole

15 Saussure (1916) considered Langue as legislative side of language.
Like law, langue maintains social order and homogeneity of language – is relatively fixed (doesn’t change with each individual) Parole is executive side of language – it uses the law or code of the language (langue) for its individual ends

16 Langue/Parole distinction
Parole executes langue through individual acts of speaking and writing. Another useful comparison between langue and parole- analogy of game of chess Rules are determined and understood by all the players, but each game is different & depends on the individual performances which differ from player to player

17 Langue/parole distinction
Saussure said Only langue can be studied and not parole Langue is a well-defined homogeneous object distinct from heterogeneous unpredictable mass of speech acts Langue has signs which bear signs of collective approval They exist as psychological associations having their seat in brain

18 Langue/Parole distinction
Signs can be converted into conventional written symbols – can be studied Individual acts of speaking cannot be accurately represented; they are variable, so they can’t be studied Langue and not parole is the fit object for study

19 Competence and Performance
Noam Chomsky, an American linguist made similar distinction between competence & performance Competence- native speaker’s knowledge of his language (mastery of the system of rules) Performance – production of actual sentences in use in real-life situations

20 Competence & performance
Speaker’s knowledge of the structure of language is the speaker’s linguist’s competence. The way a speaker uses it his linguistic performance Competence – set of principles Performance – what a speaker does Competence – kind of code Performance – the act of encoding or decoding

21 Competence and performance
The abstract or the internal grammar which enables a speaker to utter and understand an infinite number of potential utterances is the speaker’s competence Competence is free from interference due to slips of memory, lapses of attention etc. Performance shows many such lapses

22 Competence and performance
Competence is ideal as it gives us coherent picture of the language It is difficult to keep a direct coherent record of performance Competence vs performance resembles langue vs parole but different in one respect

23 Competence and performance
Langue is the same with every langue user but competence may be different from user to user Langue emphasizes social aspect while competence deals with psychology Speaker A may be more competent than speaker B, though they may share the same conventions of language

24 Competence and performance
A’s performance would also be different from that of B Chomsky’s view of competence is also based on the idea of an inbuilt language acquisition device in humans that makes human acquire competence In recent years there has been some argument about these distinctions

25 Competence and performance
Some sociolinguistics regard these dichotomies as unreal Langue and parole are interrelated and not separate just as parole is not possible or effective without langue, langue also changes gradually under the effect of parole Saussure (1916) said, “speech has both an individual and a social side, and we cannot conceive of one without the other”

26 Competence and performance
Sociolinguists also object that parole can also be studied as it is concerned with the use of language in social situations which have an effect on langue We cannot keep parole, or performance out of our study of language because it also guides us into language processes Parole also has some features which are systematic and predictable in given social situations

27 Competence and performance
Moreover, it is not easier to study performance through recording by audio and video devices. Study of parole gives us data that makes us understand langue and competence better.

28 Competence and performance
Conclusion However, the distinction is still useful, as it enables us to understand the aspects of language and to study each of them in more systematic manner

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