The Schema of Language Functions



In Plato’s commonsense saying that we have already cited, that language is an organum for one person’s communicating with another about things, three fundamental relations are enumerated: one person communicating—another person being communicated to—the things being communicated. Let us draw a schema on a piece of paper, three points grouped together as a triangle, and a fourth point put in the middle, and let us begin to reflect on what this schema is able to symbolize (see Figure 1). The fourth point lying in the middle stands for that to-be-investigated organum, which clearly must stand in some relation to the three foundations in the corners, whether the relation be a direct or a mediate one. We draw dotted lines from the center to the corner points of our schema and consider what these dotted lines symbolize.


Speech Action Index Method Language Theory Language Science Speech Event 
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  1. 31.
    This example dealing with rain is discussed in Alan Gardiner’s attractive book The Theory of Speech and Language (1932). I gladly acknowledge to the honored author that a year ago in London I discussed it on the board using my three-foundation schema, without knowing that he had already used it ten years before. Perhaps the London climate is responsible for the identical choice of examples. The three-foundation schema itself was conceived not by either one of us but first by Plato, to this extent, that a logician can derive it from Plato’s leading principle. In 1918, when I began my essay“Kritische Musterung der neueren Theorien des Satzes” (Indogermanisches Jahrbuch 6) with the words,“The achievement of human language is a threefold one, announcing, arousing, and representing”, I was not thinking of Plato, but like him, I was thinking about the thing itself and saw the model before me. The titles of my two lectures in University College in London were (1)“Structure of Language”and (2)“Psychology of Speech.” In connection with them I had those thorough discussions with Gardiner mentioned by him, which showed us both that he, from the point of view of Egyptian, and I, from that of German. had come to a completely compatible judgment about human language as such. This being in agreement was also to me. as he said so of himself, an experience. An extraordinarily clear and sound total presentation of my older contributions to language theory, which were scattered in various essays, is offered by H. Dempe, Was ist Sprache? Eine sprachphilosophische Untersuchung,’ lb Anschluss an die Sprach-theorie Karl Bidders (1930). What is necessary to say to the criticism of Dempe, inspired by Husserl, will be found in Section 5.Google Scholar
  2. 32.
    The word coo-coo may be more-or-less extensively `similar’ to the well-known call that we hear in the forest. But still, this similarity itself is nothing more than the motive for the correlation of sound and thing, which first constitutes the name as a name; a name, not just of the call, but of the bird (note well, while in the forest, only very few of those using this sound by convention may have perceived for themselves both bird and call at the same time). Much is lacking—logically, everything is lacking—for the equation similarity = correlation. What is established is this: every contemporary language speaker could—and, in fact, can—participate in the creation of new names in another and simpler way, wherever it has been agreed that similarity in general, any similarity whatsoever, can be a motive for a correlation. Correlation and motive of correlation have, however, to be logically distinguished, as is always the case.Google Scholar
  3. 33.
    I previously used the terms Kundgabe and Auslösung for these. It appears to me today that more and more the term expression [Ausdruck] is gaining in technical circles the narrow and precise meaning that we have recommended here; therefore, I use it in place of Kundgabe. The Latin word appellare (English:“appeal”) appears to me to fit the other word best. As everyone knows today, there is a sex appeal; speech appeal is just as much a precisely graspable fact. Admittedly, one may then no longer think of the ancient vocative case of nouns when speaking of appeal.’Google Scholar
  4. 34.
    Cf. R. Reiniger, Das psychologische Problem’ (1930).Google Scholar
  5. 35.
    Mr. Dunin-Borkowski was so friendly as to communicate to me by letter the following, putting it in outline form. I reproduce it here with his agreement:“(1) ‘Ordo-connexio’ was certainly known to Scholasticism; but this duality lay probably nearer to Spinoza in the popular philosophy of his time, which sought to realize a cosmos–unity. Factually it probably had everywhere the same meaning: not merely a series of things following one another in time, but a series with some form or other of inner relation of quantities following one another (connexio). But it also denoted a unified species of all these `connections’ and their being brought to completion in a whole so that each ordo bespeaks a connexio, not vice versa. (2) Spinoza probably took over, as usual, the expressions but gave them another sense. Ordo idearum et rerum: in both series, the same sequence right up to the very top of the whole. Connexio idearum et rerum: the same sort of dependence of two things and of two ideas, respectively. Therefore, there exists the same kind of sequentiality in ideas and in things from the simplest to the most complex whole, just as much in the kind of dependence (connexio) as in the things and ideas according to their essence and content (ordo). So it seems to me.”I conclude from this that my terminological recommendation comes rather close to the thought of Spinoza himself.Google Scholar
  6. 36.
    The book of Ph. Lersch, Gesicht und Seele (1932), contains in its introduction some sematological discussions which are inspired by Husserl. Lersch fiinds for the case of the expression the correct formulation, namely, that we are dealing here with the co-comprehension of “co-existing”(people). A couple of points are distorted and unreliable and could be correctly and reliably understood if the author had more carefully looked out for what has already been done in this matter. Soon the sparrows will sing it from every roof—the song namely of the `representational function’ of language: why does Lersch the psychologist think he has to begin once again ab ovo and develop new terms step by step?—The experimental discovery of Lersch is, if one extracts the strongest parts of his analysis, very instructive. Compare, for example, the expressive elements isolated by him in the case of the eye lids and the direction of sight and their merging with it in the compound unity of the expression just as synthemata function in representative language. One recognizes immediately and sharply the common and the different element in expressive complexes and in the representative synthemata of language.Google Scholar
  7. 37.
    One should not argue much about whether it is more appropriate to reserve the term sign, say, for only the order sign or to let it also be used for indices, as German and all the other Indo-European languages have suggested to the logician. One should not make a fuss about it before having derived definite consequences of the one and the other and, therefore, having discovered reasons pro and contra; I will show in another place that `indices’ (symptoms, indicators), to which expressions belong, stand closer logically to order signs than both together stand to all the others, which raises the claim that they be treated as representational forms. Only a demonstration of this derivation and relationship will justify our following in the question of definitions the procedure of the Indo-European languages and the best heads among the logicians who have occupied themselves with the matter (Husserl, Meinong, etc.).Google Scholar
  8. 38.
    H. Werner, Grundfragen der Sprachphysiognomik (1932). Werner’s psychological experiments make a detour along the path of the aspect’ of word sounds, so to speak; out of’ this aspect they try to determine what one understands as a speaker and hearer about the properties of things. That can only be so meant (putting the question of the history of language aside) that one can get just as much `out of’ the word sounds as one puts into them. The German feels, according to Werner, the word sound Seife somewhat differently than the Frenchman feels the word savon. In so far as the things are an immediately felt expression, the language which gives them their name isGoogle Scholar
  9. 39.
    “Expressive language”(p. 10). It will be easy to show that the `interiority’ which flows out of things to us through the aspect’ of words is an interiority that has previously been given to them by us. They reveal what one has put in them; they give back the rescued light like the moon. We, on the contrary, think, in the case of the linguistic expression, first of what one can hear in the sound stream of discourse concerning the interiority of the speaker without the reflex concerning the nominative function. Both cases may be investigated vis-à-vis one another. I will subject Werner’s Sprachphvsiognomik to criticism in another place. 39 Helene Richter’s biography of Kainz is a veritable storehouse of carefully noted directions that Kainz inserted into his stage presentation.Google Scholar
  10. 40.
    In our child psychology laboratory in Vienna, during a six-month period, my colleague Eino Kaia clarified in an uncommonly circumspect and apt set of experiments a series of known facts and new ones that he discovered, so that it is necessary today to say proceeding by indices where we ourselves yesterday were still saying resonance. Cf. Annales UniversitatisAboensis, Ser, B., Tom. 17 (1932).Google Scholar
  11. 41.
    Cf. S. Bernfeld,“Die Deutung in der Psychoanalyse,” Zeitschrift Jüür Allgemeine Psychologie, 42 (1932).Google Scholar
  12. 42.
    In the interest of exactness, let us cite completely the paradoxically pointed dictum of Nietzsche: One has no need of lies in human intercourse if one has a sufficient amount of truth! With it one can deceive and seduce in any direction one wants.(Gesamnmelte Werke, Nachlass. 2 Abt. XII, 268).Google Scholar
  13. 43.
    A. Marty, Untersuchungen der allgemeinen Grammatik und Sprachphilosophie I (1908). Compare the places in the index under the rubric of“interest-demanding phenomena”and“emotive elements.”One should not, in order to get hold of psychological fine points, let oneself be frightened by the dignified diction of Marty, and besides, one must expect no more than a collection of notes. 44 Cf. R. Ripin and H. Hetzer,“Frühestens Lernen des Säuglings in der Ernahrungssituation,”introd. Ch. Bühler, Zeitschrift für Psychologie 118 (1930): 100ff.Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LowellLowellUSA

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