The Humanity Of Words - online book

A Primer Of Semantics

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OGDEN AND RICHARDS                          45
The new science of symbolism prepares the ground for broader theories of semantics which are concerned with the whole man^feeling-thinking-doingwithin the world of people and things. The new science of symbolism explicates the language of fact4 and establishes principles of ordera solid foundation upon which to build.
14. What do you mean?
The title of Ogden's and Richards' book is The Meaning of Meaning. The first thing these authors take pains to do is to indicate the complexity of the word "meaning/"
The question What do you mean? is not so simple as it sounds. There are three ways to answer this question:
If Mabel looks at the moon and then at Joe and asks What is the moon? Joe may answer The moon is a celestial body that is a satellite of the earth. If Mabel is not yet informed, she would probably ask What do you mean, Joe?
Wel^ Joe answers, a celestial body is a heavenly body a body in the sky.
But a satellite, Joe, what is that?
A satellite is a body that goes round and round a larger parent bodythe way the moon goes around the earth.
What Joe is doing here is defining words.5 This is one way to answer the question What do you mean?
* In The Meaning of Meaning, fh. p. 68; Appendix E, p. 294, Ogden and Richards point out that to say a reference is "true" is to say that the reference refers to a "fact/*
5 To improve on Joe's impromptu definitions, see Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, College Edition. Cleveland and New York: The World Publishing Company, 1957. (Hereinafter referred to as World.)