this article investigates the function and reality of language in niklas luhmann's systems theory. how can one interpret the systems-theoretical assumption that language is based on communication? luhmann describes language as a dynamic media/form relationship, which is able to couple the social and psychological system. this structural coupling, which constructs consciousness and language as two autonomous systems, raises problems if one defines language from a cognitive point of view. this article discusses these problems and aims to develop assumptions and questions within the systems-theoretical approach.