” words differentiate in
suitably contrasting environments. Satisfactory explanation for that
must, logically, precede an account of derivative meanings.”
ok : basically, how can the same words have multiple meaning? Context is a word we throw around without really ‘getting it’.
But consider: “this derives from this other thing”. We take that as pretty basic in much of our ways of thinking.
But does it REALLY derive or does the meaning “grow” differently depending on the environment it finds itself in?
How can the same sentence have different meanings depending on the surrounding sentences?
It does, it can. Just a little thought can easily bring examples of the same sentence meaning different things.
Context. Consider the significance of this. We may never find the ‘root’ and we might. But whether or not we do, once the process started, HOWEVER it started, the context creates the environment that allows the meaning of words to shift and change.
“Make” has so many meanings not because there is ONE DEFINITIVE meaning of “make” that all else derived from.
Maybe the first sentence.
But not the second and beyond.
Meanings grow. This fact is obscured when the absolute precision of word to definition is required in certain disciplines. One can be led to believe that meaning is constructed of meaning. But really, it’s not constructed of meaning.
It’s grown within environments. It’s the inertial resistance to change that keeps word meanings “generally” similar but still, words grow and change just the same. No constraints seem to be absolute.