Although Saussure’s work is focused on linguistics, his theory of semiotics can be (and has been) widely applied to all signs, arts, performances and communication.
Language is made up of linguistic units or signs, consisting of the signifier, and the signified. “The linguistic sign unites, not a thing and a name, but a concept and a sound image” (p. 4)
The linguistic sign is arbitrary. The word “tree” is linked in an arbitrary or unmotivated way with the tree itself. (p. 5)
“Language is a system of interdependent terms in which the value of each term results solely in the simultaneous presence of others” (p.8)
“Language is not living-it only has potential life.” (p. 77)