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words of one root is decisive, and where it becomes impossible to speak about
arbitrariness. In morphophonological issues, the question of similar structures is
of primary importance when we recognize that there exist certain models, certain
structural types of the distribution and selection of phonemes in roots, and other
types of prefixes or suffixes of derivation and conjugation. Finally, the issue of
sound symbolism, on which I shall not further dwell here, remains, in spite of a11
skepticism voiced in the past, an important and fascinating problem in the study
of language. And so are a11 questions concerning the foundation of language
symbols in image and indication (or, as Charles Sanders Pierce, the pioneer of
the theory of signs, would have said: the problem of iconicor indexicalsymbols).
It seems to me that the second principle in Saussure's Cours, the so-called
linéarité, must also be seen as a dangerous simplification. Actually we encounter
two-dimensional units not only on the level of the signatum, as demonstrated by
Ch. Bally, but also in the field of the signans. If we recognize that the phoneme is
not the ultimate unit of language, but can be decomposed into distinctive fea-
tures, then it becomes self-evident that we may speak in phonology too about two
dimensions, (as we have accords in music), the dimensions of successivity and of
simultaneity. This, however, must lead to abandoning a number of Saussure's
theses on basic laws of language structure. Thus, I believe that the term "syntag-
matic" is often misleading, since when referring to syntagmatic relations we think
of successivity in time; however, besides the combination in temporal succession,
we must deal also with combination of simultaneous features. It would be advis-
able in this respect to speak simply about combination, seen as contrasted by
another factor, namely, selection. Selection of units or of combinations, in
contrast to combination per se, belongs to the paradigmatic level of language. It
is substitution, as distinguished from both simultaneity and successivity. In
selection, the principle of equivalence, or association by similarity, asserts itself.
While observing the paradigmatic axes rather than successivity and simultaneity,
I do not believe that we abandon the domain of the objective and plunge into
subjectivity. Linguistic researches of recent years have shown that in this area an
objective stratification, a hierarchy of components, exists. One encounters here
the problem of predictability, the problem of primary and secondary functions,
which has been outlined brilliantly by Kurytowicz in the thirties and which has
been recently developed in America in the theory of syntactical transformations
- one of the rnost topical problerns of linguistic analysis. At the sarne time, the
even more important and indispensable question arises, as to the relationship and
the difference between paradigmatic series and combinational series (chains or
We deal here, apparently, as in a11 modern sciences, with the significant idea of
invariance. We speak about combinational, context-dependent variants on the
level of sound as well as on the level of gramrnar. But it would be impossible to
speak about variants as long as we have not clarified the nature of the basic
invariant, the unit to which a11 these variants are related. The search for the
invariants is now the most substantial problem not only in phonology, but in
grammar as well. When dealing with the sign, the bilateral signum as a link