The Humanity Of Words - online book

A Primer Of Semantics

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l66                  THE HUMANITY OF WORDS
39. The end toward which men strive: self-making
and man-making
All four uses of language are essential to the enterprise of
self-making and man-making:
i. The informative use
The history of civilization is there for us to discover. And life is renewed every day of our liveshere for us to discover.
If it is true, as Northrop suggests, that our values spring from what we know; and, if it is true, that in so far as our values are consistent with the body of knowledge the values are true, then it becomes the moral obligation of man to exert his human potential in the discovery of his world. The informative use of signs is the firm ground upon which to erect other signs.
2. The valuative use
The valuative use of language has its roots in the value system of the human being. The value system is, as Murphy and others point out, the most durable, the most unshakable, the most stable aspect of the personality as a whole.
Valuative terms are expressive of this deep innermost resource of man. For how we will entertain facts which are designated is determined by the system of beliefs. A fact is as nothing until it touches a man's life. And when it touches the lives of all men, the appraisors proclaim its powerdestructive and constructive.
3.  The incitive use
Incitive signs are the spur to all action, within the self and outside the self. We must will to do something, if we