The Humanity Of Words - online book

A Primer Of Semantics

Home | About | Philosphy | Contact | Search

2o6                  THE HUMANITY OF WORDS
Change is directed and controlled by the exercise of feedforward and feedback, as follows:
Richards introduced the term "feedforward" in his paper entitled "Communication Between Men: The Meaning of Language."
Feedforward is a word that is here used to designate the use of a cohesive and progressive verbal pattern to cause a recipient to predict the form which the whole pattern will make.
The communicator can declare, at the outset, what he is talking about. Here, of course, he will make use of formators. But even if he desires to create suspense and keep his recipients in the dark, he cannot avoid feedforward once he begins systematically to develop a cohesive and progressive verbal pattern. A pattern is cohesive when it has unity, when every part is essential to the whole and when the parts "hang together" to make that whole. A pattern is progressive when, once started, it moves from part to part in invariable order toward the completion of-the pattern as a whole. When a communicator begins, let us say, a time sequence, he feeds forward this principle of organization by his necessary choice of time designating words. The recipient begins to await the passing of time and its concomitant significance to the sequence as a whole to the verbal pattern as a whole. Just so, if the communicator feeds forward the principle of organization that is called spatial, the recipient will move along with the contiguous space pattern that the user of words has originated; given causes, the recipient will anticipate effects; given means, the recipient will look forward to ends.