An-Najah National University

An-Najah Blogs


  • Friday, November 3, 1995
  • Words Like Silver Fish
  • Published at:Not Found
  • When we teach meaning in language, we usually resort to the solid security offered by the authority of the dictionary. But the assistance that dictionaries-even the best of them-afford us is retarded by the dual nature of semantics: the meaning and the meaning-potential of words. The former with its clearly demarcated boundaries and concrete nature poses little problem for the lexicographer; but the nebulous quality of the latter is harder to crystallize in clearcut definition, simply because meaning-potential stems from an amalgamation of cultural, experiential, and sensory imprints gathered over a lifetime and varies from individual to individual. The mysterious power that words have cannot be attributed solely to their meaning, since they move us by their sound, texture, shape, colour, and even taste.

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Mary Bahwani Raj
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