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Langue and Parole

J. I. (Hans) Bakker

Subject Linguistics » Sociolinguistics
Sociology » Sociological and Social Theory

Key-Topics language

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Ferdinand de Saussure distinguishes between a “language” ( langue ) in its structural form and the spoken word ( parole ). Linguistics studies patterns of communication using an auditory mode, but vocalized sounds in one language are structurally related to sounds in other languages, particularly languages of the same language family. Chomsky makes a similar distinction between “competence” and “performance.” When a native speaker speaks a language, he or she “performs” the parole but is not necessarily aware of the linguistic structure of that language as a generalized “competence” in the linguistics of that langue . It is possible to speak a langue in a grammatically correct manner without any knowledge of the discipline of linguistics in general, or even the application of linguistic rules to that specific language. The distinction is similar to the anthropological terms “etic” and “emic,” which are taken by analogy from phonetics and phonemics. In anthropology an “etic” approach to ethnographic fieldwork data is the outsider's academic perspective concerning patterns and structures, while the “emic” aspect is the indigenous knowledge of the culture in practice in daily life. An anthropological fieldworker attempts to learn the implicit rules and must become as adept at the local dialect as a native speaker. But the researcher then takes the data and makes broader generalizations ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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