Theory of Twin Systems

Benjamin Harshav

in Language in Time of Revolution

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 1993 | ISBN: 9780520079588
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520912960 | DOI:
Theory of Twin Systems

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This chapter suggests that the base language of the individual and the base language of society can be described as twin systems “mirroring” each other. The ideal of speaking the language too was perceived merely as a matter of daring to provide an oral correlative to the written language. Structural linguists discuss language not as a collection of words but as a system, although it is usually seen as an independent and closed system. Yet, as the revival of Hebrew shows, a language is anything but independent of a host of nonlinguistic aspects. The chapter suggests here some basic notions for such a conception. The strength of the social existence of language lies not in its being an independent, axiomatic, or “arbitrary” system of signs but, on the contrary, in its “life,” in the sense of an ever-changing, responding and unstable, open system.

Keywords: base; language; individual; linguists; words; conception; system

Chapter.  1577 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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