24 THE HUMANITY OF WORDS
niques by which to accomplish purposes. These basic techniques may be summed up under the one word "semantics."
Semantics is the subject that deals with techniques (devices) by which to communicate effectively. Communication is effective when it effects the desired purpose.
5. The sources of this Primer
With the collaboration of many students and friends, I have tried, for over two decades, to refine semantic techniques by which to improve communication. The setting was a university classroom, and this was a learning experience for me, particularly in the earlier years of my teaching. It was generally agreed that a new approach to communication was sorely needed. With this in mind, we went slowly recording speech, reading editorials, articles, advertisements, etc.analyzing and evaluating. We were trying to discover what happened when effective communication seemed to be taking place. We were trying, in other words, to penetrate to techniques by which to accomplish purposes through the use of words. We were searching for semantic theory.
As the years of practical work passed, we began to formulate some theories about the uses and the misuses of words. Over the years, these semantic theories have been refined. In Part Five of this book they will be presented under the broader heading of "A Field Theory of Communication."
In these earlier years, our attention was concentrated on actual communication experiences. But, in the meantime, many important theoretical works on semantics were being