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Roman Jakobson “Two Aspects of Language and Two Types of Aphasic Disturbances”

January 23, 2013 Leave a comment

Jakobson, Roman 1990. Two Aspects of Language and Two Types of Aphasic Disturbances. – Jakobson, R. On Language. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 115-133

[…] the concurrence of simultaneous entities and the concatenation of successive entities are the two ways in which we speakers combine linguistic elements. (118)

Any linguistic sign involces two modes of arrangement:

(1)   Combination. Any sign is made up of constituent signs and/or occurs only in combination with other signs. This means that any linguistic unit at one and the same time serves as a context for simpler units and/or finds its own context in a more complex linguistic unit. Hence any actual grouping of linguistic units binds them into a superior unit: combination and contexture are two faces of the same operation.

(2)   Selection. A selection between alternatives implies the possibility of substituting one for the other, equivalent in one respect and different in another. Actually, selection and substitution are two faces of the same operation. (119)

[…] selection (and, correspondingly, substitution) deals with entities conjoined in the code but not in the given message, whereas, in the case of combination, the entities are conjoined in both or only in the actual message. (119)

The constituents of a context are in a state of contiguity, while in a substitution set signs are linked by various degrees of similarity which fluctuate between the equivalence of synonyms and the common core of antonyms. (120)

The constituents of any message are necessarily linked with the code by an internal relation and with the message by an external relation. (120)

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