Time in Language — Language in Time

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Ordinary language is not determined by a single and unique system. Just as a biological organism, its interrelated systems of form and meaning are developing as a multi-system, even in conceptual areas which, to the scientific mind, seem to be highly systematic, such as time. A closer study reveals there to be a multiplicity of temporalities, which are appropriate and put to use in a variety of circumstances. If the logician and epistemo-logist complains that "our ordinary language shows a tiresome bias in its treatment of time" and thinks that "this bias is of itself an inelegance or breach of theoretical simplicity" (cf. Quine 1960:170), he shows that he does not understand the organizational framework of the languages' efficiency.


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