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Language in Time of Revolution$
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Benjamin Harshav

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780520079588

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520079588.001.0001

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Theory of Twin Systems

Theory of Twin Systems

(p.93) Nineteen Theory of Twin Systems
Language in Time of Revolution

Benjamin Harshav

University of California Press

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

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