Difference between tongue and language

When talking about linguistics, it is very common to repeatedly read or hear the words language and language; because of their similarity –syntactically speaking-. Commonly these terms are used for the same purpose but this is nothing more than an error. Language and language are completely different definitions that refer to well-differentiated aspects within the field of linguistics.

The differences between language and language are very important in this field, before defining them, it is important to point out the definition of each of them in order to favor the correct use of both meanings:


According to the dictionary of the Real Academia de la Lengua Española (RAE), language can be described as the mode of expression of a community. People who usually speak the same language together form a linguistic community.

In accordance with the above, language refers to a set of signs that a group of people uses to communicate. This means that language is the set of oral and written forms and signs that members of the same linguistic community use to communicate with each other.

Language is of a social nature, it is spoken within the community, family, society, etc. Therefore, it can be said that language is a specific language that is spoken in a specific community, place, locality or region.

For example:

  1. English is a language that emerged in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England.
  2. Spanish is the most widely used language in Latin American countries and is derived from spoken Latin.


It can be said that language is the universal faculty of being able to establish communication through signs, whether oral or written between people. Language is then the ability of the human being to be able to express himself through sounds combined with each other.

The language is usually done orally but there are also other forms of language such as writing, gestures, sign language, among others. Also, the language usually has different styles (formal language, colloquial language). Raised in this way, language can be described as the communication system that human beings use to transmit ideas to other humans.

For example:

  1. Deaf and dumb people use sign language to communicate.
  2. Written language uses various symbols for its understanding.

Based on the above, it can be said that although both words are similar to each other, the difference between the two is notorious in terms of their meaning and definition. From this point of view, this article aims to delimit these differences to precisely establish the context in which they should be used, hence the following descriptive table of the differences between language and language :

Tongue Language
Language is of a social nature since it comes from different linguistic communities. Language is physiological in nature, since it comes from a person’s vocal apparatus.
It is the language itself. It is the use of a language.
It is a structure or system used to express ideas. It is a faculty or ability that is used to express ideas to others.
It is the language with which a person communicates (Spanish, English) It is the way of communicating with other people (spoken, written, gestural).

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