RE: Source for the semantic range of ...

From: Will Wagers (
Date: Fri Aug 27 1999 - 09:17:01 EDT

<x-flowed>West writes:

>Semantic domains, etymology, and all those little
>tidbits of trivia are interesting- but not useful in the final analysis
>because words gain meaning only from context. Words dont HAVE meaning, the
>OBTAIN meaning by their contextual usage.

If *context* is restricted to neighboring words on a page, this statement
is clearly wrong. If context includes life situations, it is defensible.

> To isolate a word and assign it
>meaning is futile. Even dictionaries do not attempt this.

That's *exactly* what dictionaries do.

> Instead, they
>use the word in question in a sentence so that its meaning is obtained by
>its context.

Contextual examples are often given because basic semantic units are, in
many cases, phrases rather than words.

Will Wagers "Reality is the best metaphor."

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