There is no such thing as "just semantics"!

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by wynn, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. scheherazade Northern Horse Whisperer Valued Senior Member

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    Cute!

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    'Wonderland' seems a good metaphor for the world of words, IMO.

    All sorrel horses are chestnuts, but not all chestnuts are sorrel horses.

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  3. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    As for references to Alice:

    “I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said.
    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ”
    “But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected.
    “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”
    “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
    “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master that’s all.”
    Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. “They’ve a temper, some of them—particularly verbs, they’re the proudest—adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs—however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”
     
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  5. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    Bad faith tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy. :shrug:
     
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  7. Ickyrus Registered Senior Member

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    How about have a theory test a theory! The word 'Bad' is a choice of attitude.
     
  8. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    What that sentence means, depends on the context it appears in.


    If this is what you think, then you are in conflict with your earlier statement that

    Context isn't relevant only for understanding words, but for whole whole statements. Hence the importance of who says what where and when.

    For example, a police officer will write in a report about the "excrements on the pavement," and certainly not about "shit on the pavement."
     
  9. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    "Bad faith" is a term.
     
  10. Enmos Staff Member

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    This is relevant:
    Words have fixed meanings. Some words have more than one meaning attached to them. What meaning of a word should be applied depends on context.

    This is irrelevant:
    People create their own (personal) variations on those meanings by experience of the words in various contexts by various people (association). Those variations need not be correct.

    And yet both sentences mean exactly the same thing. I really don't see how you are contesting that..
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  11. Ickyrus Registered Senior Member

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    This 'link definition' is a usage of word combination I have not come across before so interpreted it differently.

    The Lion kills the deer, Good for the Lion as it gets to eat bad for the deer as it dies. Therefore I interpret Good as 'for survival' and bad as opposite of 'for survival'. The other side of Good is increasing or decreasing emotional happiness. However happiness is an attitude choice if Viktor Frankl is correct.

    Faith to me means immutable belief in a deity. Therefore I conceptually 'see' the word combination of 'Bad faith' as a faith detrimental to survival. For me, personally faith is meaningless, all the things I believe in are allowed to be wrong.

    Interpreting 'Bad Faith' as duplicity seems very foreign.

    edit to add
    Now I can't see how 'Bad faith' can be a prophcy!

    On further reflection is wave particle duality Bad faith ?
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  12. Pincho Paxton Banned Banned

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    The poster is right so far.. nobody has yet posted a sentence that works with interchanged words. When the poster says 'MEANING' he means the full meaning with all possible attributes included, and how they are used by different people.

    I can't see this holding up for the entire length of this thread however. Somebody is going to get a fully interchangeable sentence.
     
  13. Ickyrus Registered Senior Member

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    Another thing that disturbs me about the original sentiment is the way the rules of good writing ask us to use a different word so as get variety into the what is being said.
     
  14. decons scrambled egg Registered Senior Member

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    These statements all give the same meaning. Their users might be from different demographics, but the meaning remains the same. In fact, the use of different words make it possible for various people to create the same meaning. For instance, if a small kid uses the words "feces" or "excrement", it would draw attention to the vocabulary of the kid rather than the statement itself. This would ruin the moment. Or, if a forensic expert uses the words "shit" or "poop", no one would talk to her/him anymore.

    Moreover, no word by itself can make a statement. They can only mean something in relation to other words and syntax.

    The words "shit, feces, poop and excrement", by themselves, might have a similar definition on a dictionary, but their context would determine their meaning. Even one of them, "shit", might be used in the same sentence, "I don't want to see this shit", for two different situations and mean two different things.

    On the other hand, I can use completely different two words "bacon" and "bread" interchangeably and give the same meaning, as in "bringing home the bacon" and "bringing home the bread".

    P.S. I just realized that some or all of this post might already be mentioned above. Anyway.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  15. Pineal Banned Banned

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    That was only a small part of what I argued. Though if you think words have meaning in themselves, would they have meaning without humans? And what are these meanings made of? I think you will find that the meanings are not in the words.

    I did not simply mean idiosyncratic meanings to individuals, but rather that different synonyms will systematically elicit different meanings in different readers listeners. That there are patterns to these differences and this is relevent.


    Well, no. As I pointed out 'shit' carries emotions and values AND is not specific to excrement. Referring to some things as shit does not, without a context make it at all clear we are dealing with feces of some kind. Poop on the other hand does.
     
  16. Pineal Banned Banned

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    As far as I know only one species, but if she used that choice of word and I could tell she was serious, I would suddenly wonder. There would have to be some motivation for choosing a that word and not the usual ones.
     
  17. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    If they would really mean the same thing, then a doctor could write into his patient's chart:
    The laboratory results indicate that there is blood in the patient's shit.
    and a police officer could write into an official report after a riot:
    The rioters smeared police vehicles with shit.

    But they don't do that. Because there is, apparently, a difference between "shit" and "feces."
     
  18. Pincho Paxton Banned Banned

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    I don't know why there are still members stuck on shit.

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    But I say forget the sentences ruled out, and come up with a sentence that works.

    Let me try one...

    There are far too many members struggling with this thread.

    There are way too many members struggling with this thread.
     
  19. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    The difference isn't in the meaning, it's in the societal context, and the attributes we attach to the language, which is nothing to do with the meaning.

    The difference between Shit and Feces is the first is regarded by society as being a vulgar slang term, and the second is regarded as being a technical term, even though the refer to the same thing. The reason why feces is used by Dr's and Police (unless the police are recording a statement), and shit is not, is because we expect a level of profesionalism from them, and we don't expect them to use vulgar slang terms to describe such things, unless they're repeating what someone else said. A police officer is no more going to write "The shit tank on the truck overheated, causing it to over pressurize and fail, spraying the vehicles and road in slippery shit" in a police report, then he is going to stand in front of a judge giving testimony and say "The defendant made a rude gesture with his hand involving a clenched fist and an extended middle finger, then told me to have sexual intercourse with myself, then to eat feces and cease living, and that if he saw me again he was going to use his feet to physically assault the rutting feces out of me."
     
  20. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    This is the way to the bus station.
    This is the far to the bus station.


    He walked very far.
    He walked very way.



    Absolute synonymity or interachangeability would mean that two words could be interchanged without change of meaning in any sentence each may appear in.
     
  21. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

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    ???
     
  22. decons scrambled egg Registered Senior Member

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    One can use homo sapiens instead of human any time of the day.

    As in any form of communication, there is always the risk of receiver not being able to decode the statement with the intended meaning. In this case, the receiver might not be familiar with the taxonomic term for human. Once s/he learnt, s/he wouldn't mind. I wouldn't.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2011
  23. Trippy ALEA IACTA EST Staff Member

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    What I mean is that we attach attributes to a word that affect it's usage without changing it's meaning. For the most part they're cultural and contextual. Vulgarity (and I suppose, it's opposite professionalism) is such a trait. Hence, while they we mean the same thing, we expect people in positions of power or authority (including Dr's and Police) to maintain a certain level of profesionalism in their every day language, thus we expect them to use a technical term like feces rather than a slang or vulgar term like shit. They mean the same thing, but we attach different values to the words irrespective of their meaning.

    Did you know:
    There is a Village in Austria named Fucking (Who want's to go to fucking austria?)
    Argélico Fucks is the name of a Brazilian Football player (Fucks off to Benfica was the headline of an article about him at one stage).
    Karl Wilhelm Gottlieb Leopold Fuckel was a German botanist, specializing mainly in fungi, for whom Botryotinia fuckeliana is named after, and who's name was often Abbreviated to 'Fuck.' in non english speaking countries (Following the work of Fuck. 1850, and Fuck 1851...)​
     

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