combining with any object reference,
f .h ' I Ing
rat er large
of pronominal or demonstrative variants and, being compatible with the paradigm of referential terms like
of the forms
are imprecisely classed .nominal leads thus to the recognition among them
entiferent natures and, consequently, to the distinction between
hand langu f .
signs and a system for combining them andon the other, language
an activity manifested in instances f
h h . d
are c aractenze
such by particular signs.
!'or Roman Jakobson,
van Schooneveld cds.
they say, the instrument
communication, to what doesit owe this property?
question may cause surprise,
seems to challenge an obvious fact,
it is sometimes useful to requireproof
answers come to mind.
one would be
the instrument of communication, probablybecause men have not found a better
more effective way
which to com-municate.
amounts to stating what one wishes to understand. Onemight also think
language has such qualities
make it suitedto serve as an instrument; it lends itself to transmitting what I entrust to
an order, a question, an
it elicits from the interlocutora behavior which is adequate each time. Developing a more technical aspect
this idea, one might add
language admits of a be-haviorist description, in terms
stimulus and response, from which onemight draw conclusions
to the intermediary and instrumental nature oflanguage. But is it really language of which we are speaking here? Are we notconfusing it with discourse?
discourse is language
intoaction, and necessarily between partners, we show amidst the confusion,
we are begging the question, since the nature of this
isexplained by its situation as an
As for the role
language plays, one should not fail to observe, on the one hand, that thisrole can devolve
nonlinguistic means-gestures and mimicry-and, onthe other hand, that, in speaking here of an
we are lettingourselves be deceived by certain processes of transmission which in
societies without exception come after language and imitate its functioning.All systems of signals, rudimentary or complex, are in this situation.
fact, the comparison of language to an
it should neces-sarily be a material instrument for the comparison to even be comprehensible
us with mistrust,
should every simplistic notion about language.
speak of an instrument is to
man and nature in opposition.
pick,the arrow, and the wheel are not in nature.
are fabrications. Language