Literature/1923/Ogden/chapter10

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10. Symbol Situations[edit]

The context theory of reference applied to the use of words. -- The case of the hearer to be considered first, 209. The recognition of sounds as words a preliminary stage. This not necessarily a conscious performance. These processes in infancy, 210. Levels of interpretation, 211.

No strict correlation between complexity of symbols and complexity of references, 211. The contexts required for the use of proper names simpler than those for descriptive phrases. -- Reasons and illustrations, 212. The use of symbols to facilitate abstraction. -- Words acquired through other words. Metaphor as the primitive symbolization of abstraction, 213.

The processes of symbolization in the speaker. Marked differences between individuals in this respect, 214. Varied degrees of dependence of reference upon symbol, 215. Great practical importance of these differences, 216. The speaker sometimes word-free, sometimes word-dependent, 217. Light thrown upon these processes by pathology. -- Aphasia 218. Different levels at which failure may occur. -- The bearing of this upon Grammar. -- Grammar as Natural History of symbol systems. -- Good use as dependent upon Universes of discourse, 220. The real task of Grammar as a normative science, 221. The study of symbols apart from the referential and emotive functions a mere pastime, 222.

The multiplicity of the language functions, (i) Strict symbolization. (ii) Symbols as signs of the attitude of the Speaker to his audience, 224. (iii) As signs of his attitude to his referent, (iv) As instruments for the promotion of purposes, (v) As signs of facility and difficulty in reference, 225.

These functions probably exhaustive. Sentence-form as a compromise between symbolization and the emotive factors, 226. Illustrations of their interplay, 227. The problems of Translation, 228. Neglect of this multiplicity by grammarians. -- Two functions sometimes recognized, 230. The alleged neglect of the listener. Wundt's use of Ausdruck. Dittrich, von Humboldt, de Saussure, Martinak and others on the listener, 231. Brunot's method, 232.

Illustrations of compromises between language functions, 233. Subordination. -- Poetic language the chief instance of this. -- The verbal resources of the poet. -- Lafcadio Hearn's description of words, 235. Shelley and the skylark, 238. Rhythmic, metrical and other effects of words, 239. Emotional use of metaphor. The influence of these effects on strict symbolization, 240. Confusions due to misunderstanding of this influence, 241.

Sociological and scientific consequences of a better understanding of language in general. -- The urgency of further investigations, 241. The opportunity now open. The emergence of a separate science. -- Its scope and prospects, 242.

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The first stage of the Development of Symbolism as a Science is thus complete, and it is seen to be the essential preliminary to all other sciences. Together with such portions of grammar and logic as it does not render superfluous it must provide both what has been covered by the title Philosophy of Mathematics, and what has hitherto been regarded as Meta-physics -- supplementing the work of the scientist at either end of his inquiry.

All critical interpretation of Symbols requires an understanding of the Symbol situation, and here the main distinction is that between the condition in which reference is made possible only by symbols (Word-dependence) and that for which a free choice of symbols can be made (Word-freedom). The examination of language processes in their perfection or in their degeneration must also start from this distinction. It is further important to notice that words have further functions in addition to that of strict symbolization. The study of these evocative aspects leads naturally to an account of the resources of poetical language and of the means by which it may be distinguished, from symbolic or scientific statement. Thus the technique of Symbolism is one of the essential instruments of the aesthetics of literature.

Its practical importance will be found in its application to Education and to Discussion in general; for when the Influence of Language upon Thought is understood, and the Phantoms due to linguistic misconception have been removed, the way is open to more fruitful methods of Interpretation and to an Art of Conversation by which the communicants can enjoy something more than the customary stones and scorpions.