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From No Subject - Encyclopedia of Lacanian Psychoanalysis
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An opposition introduced by Saussure to describe two aspects of language and two contrasting approaches to linguistics. The synchronic approach studies the state of a language at a given stage of its evolution and facilitates the analysis of the system of internal relations that constitutes it as a language. THe diachronic approach typical of philology traces the historical evolution of a language through time by recording the changes that have taken place in it. Most schools of mdoern linguistics can be described as synchronic.

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