"In their reciprocity, signifier and signified produce a world that is both wholly concrete and wholly conceptual at one and the same time. Indeed, the world itself—the real, external world—is a matrix of signification, real because it is symbolic and symbolic because it is real. Language and the world are continuous. The object-world, including nature and our own bodies, is a web of signs continuous with the languages and images with which we describe them. Saussure’s belief that the object of linguistic study is the structure of language does not mean that language is placed outside of history. Far from it. Language is ‘evolutionary,’ a function of ceaseless ‘change.’ ‘Every time an event of whatever magnitude,’ says Saussure, ‘occurs within a language system, the evident consequence is that the reciprocal state of the terms after the event is not the same as it was before.’ Saussure invents a new kind of historicism."
—Perry Meisel, “Introduction: Saussure and His Contexts.” Course in General Linguistics. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011. xii-xviii.