Language, one of many of God’s creations utilized and modified by human beings, is made meaningful through its interaction with space and time, and also refers back to the One who created it for His own purpose. This interaction is like the intimate relationship between the horizontal and vertical wood of the Cross. The horizontal wood is the unlimited stretching of space, and the vertical wood is the unlimited being of time. All the utterances in the world are only made meaningful when this interaction happens.
Let’s consider it this way: All the sentence patterns we analyzed in the book Self-study Chinese can be divided into three groups: statement vs. interrogative, active vs. passive, and assertive vs. negative. These categories are much like the horizontal wood. If sentences are only created with the scope of space and in absence of time, they are too “free” to be meaningful. But, when we add the vertical wood that represents the past, present, and future, the sentences are made meaningful and full. Although time takes away the freedom of languages created solely in space, it secures them on the material axis. Thus, sentences are made meaningful and ready to be used by us.
Note: The above post is extracted from Shuang's book Self-study Chinese. Please do not use this post for commercial purposes. You are welcome to use it for academic and personal purposes.