The Humanity Of Words - online book

A Primer Of Semantics

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20                    THE HUMANITY OF WORDS
semantics rests solidly upon such scientific foundations. But it is also true that everything that can be said about semantics is a matter of opinion.
Because semantics is not an exact science, there are differences of opinion concerning semantic principles and practices. Specialists in the same area of social investigation frequently hold contrary opinions. Opinions derive, of course, from facts, but one opinion may be said to be more "informed" than another only by virtue of the inclusive-ness and the relevance of the facts that support it.
2. Why the humanity of words?
Words have the power to bind persons and peoples and generations together. While other living things steer themselves by signals that nature provides, man alone changes himself and his world by the signals and signs that he himself produces. And chief among these is words.
Only man can pyramid one idea upon another, and all o them interrelated.
Only man can look back on the past experience of his species and relate it constructively to the present and to the future. And this by means of words.
But there is another side to the humanity of words. We are born into an environment of words just as surely as we are born into an environment of weather.
The environment of words determines, from our earliest sentient moments, the nature of the environment of ideas and ideals in which we shall live. Through words, our ideas and our ideals become crystallizedalmost solidified. They endure as "culture" and as "principles," and are, of course, slow-moving as compared with individual experience.