The Humanity Of Words - online book

A Primer Of Semantics

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46                    THE HUMANITY OF WORDS
There are, of course, several ways to define a word. Joe used two of the most common. He used known words tQ define the unknown words. If he was successful in this, the unknown words became meaningful to Mabel. They were no longer mere noises. But Joe used another way to define "satellite." He described a satellite as being "attached to" a "parent" body. He was suggesting that the relation of the moon to the earth was in one important way like the relation of a child to its parent. This is definition by analogy.
Sometimes all that is required is the definition of words to satisfy a questioner.
Having satisfied himself that the definitions of words are clear, Joe may make another answer. He may say J wish we could see the moon from here, but let me think . . . As I recall pom my high-school days, the moon is about 240,000 miles from the earth. When we have a full moon, the moon is in apposition with the sun. What looks like "the man in the moon" is the irregularity of the surface caused by mountains, etc.
Now Joe is symbolizing his thoughtsputting his thoughts into words. In answer to the question What do you mean? Joes is now trying to rememberrhe is now trying to clarify his thoughts about the moon.
But there is still a third emphasis, a third way to answer the question. Joe may be a hardheaded reporter. No^r, while he will be careful that his words are meaningful aruj his thoughts clear, he will make every effort to refer hi§ (symbolized) thoughts to things.. He will say Let's go outside. Let's look through my telescope . . . That object out there is roughly 240,000 miles from the earth. It shines by reflected light, from the sun. Judging by the shape of the