Edward Sapir (18841939). Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech. 1921.
the fundamental methods of relating word to word and element to element, in short, of passing from the isolated notions symbolized by each word and by each element to the unified proposition that corresponds to a thought?
The answer is simple and is implied in the preceding remarks. The most fundamental and the most powerful of all relating methods is the method of order. Let us think of some more or less concrete idea, say a color, and set down its symbolred; of another concrete idea, say a person or object, setting down its symboldog; finally, of a third concrete idea, say an action, setting down its symbolrun. It is hardly possible to set down these three symbolsred dog runwithout relating them in some way, for example (the) red dog run(s). I am far from wishing to state that the proposition has always grown up in this analytic manner, merely that the very process of juxtaposing concept to concept, symbol to symbol, forces some kind of relational feeling, if nothing else, upon us. To certain syntactic adhesions we are very sensitive, for example, to the attributive relation of quality (red dog) or the subjective relation (dog run) or the objective relation (kill dog), to others we are more indifferent, for example, to the attributive relation of circumstance (to-day red dog run or red dog to-day run or red dog run to-day, all of which are equivalent propositions or propositions in embroyo). Words and elements, then, once they are listed in a certain order, tend not only to establish some kind of relation among themselves but are attracted to each other in greater or in less degree. It is presumably this very greater or less that ultimately leads to those firmly solidified groups of elements (radical element or elements plus one or more grammatical elements) that we have studied as complex words. They are in all likelihood