Definition of langue in English:



  • A language viewed as an abstract system used by a speech community, in contrast to the actual linguistic behaviour of individuals.

    • ‘Roland Barthes's semiology finds it foundation in the structural linguistic theory of Ferdinand de Saussure, who posited an abstract notion known as langue to explain the system of language.’
    • ‘If Burchfield's book had been published as a linguist's analysis of the current state of our langue, all would have been well.’
    • ‘For Baudrillard, there is no action in the play of signifiers in the langue of advertising; in other words, what occurs in advertising is not language.’
    • ‘If we look at the relation between narrative and linguistics in terms of langue and langage we will see how Metz overlooks the principle of the image.’
    • ‘In this, the imperial map is akin to the colonizing tongue: both are sign systems that are deployed to order the chaos of the real; both attempt to establish a langue that would govern possible expressions of parole.’


1920s French, from Latin lingua ‘language, tongue’.