The Way to Language [GA 12 251-252]

mirroring that forgets everything else because it is so enamored of itself. As the saying, the essence of language is the propriating showing that in fact disregards itself in order to liberate what is shown into its own, into its appearance.

Language, which speaks by saying, is concerned that our speech, heeding the unspoken, corresponds to what language says. Hence silence too, which one would dearly like to subtend to speech as its origin, is already a corresponding.* Silence corresponds to the noiseless ringing of stillness, the stillness of the saying that propriates and shows. The saying that rests on propriation is, as showing, the most proper mode of propriating. Propriation is telling [sagend]. Accordingly, language speaks after the manner of the given mode in which propriation reveals itself as such or withdraws. A thinking that thinks back to propriation can just barely surmise it, and yet can already experience it in the essence of modern technology, an essence given the still odd-sounding name Ge-Stell ["enframing"].† The enframing, because it sets upon human beings—that is, challenges them—to order everything that comes to presence into a technical inventory, unfolds essentially after the manner of propriation; at the same time, it distorts propriation, inasmuch as all ordering sees itself committed to calculative thinking and so speaks the language of enframing. Speech is challenged to correspond to the ubiquitous orderability of what is present.

Speech, when posed in this fashion, becomes information.‡ It informs itself concerning itself, in order to establish securely, by means of information theories, its own procedure. Enframing, the essence of modern technology that holds sway everywhere, ordains

*See Being and Time, 1927, section 34. [This section, "Dasein and Discourse; Language," in fact argued strongly that speech, talk, or discourse is "grounded in" silence, so that silence—not speech—is primordial. That thesis is not dropped here, but altered: not silence as such but Ent-sprechen, a corresponding that is quite literally an "un-speaking," is the focal point of "The Way to Language."—ED.]

†See Vorträge und Aufsätze, 1954, pp. 31-32. [In these Basic Writings, see Reading VII, esp. pp. 324-28, including the explanatory note.—ED.]

‡See Hebel—Friend of the Household, (Pfullingen: G. Neske, 1957), pp. 34ff.