Is meaning in words, or people? This is a discussion my wife and I have repeated time and time again beginning shortly after we began dating. At the time she was in her second year of her undergraduate degree in communications. She was taking a class on interpersonal communications, and loving every minute of it. Today we find ourselves discussing it again as she prepares to begin teaching the very class next Tuesday.
One of the class discussions was whether words have meaning. The class teaches that they do not. According to the text words are simply tools which we use to communicate meaning to another individual using our background, history, education, etc. They will then use their background, history, education and so forth to interpret meaning. You can imagine the game of telephone where the meaning of what we say is open for interpretation.
I respectfully disagree. I believe words do in fact have meaning. We have a book dedicated to just that, a dictionary. It lines out in very unambiguous terms the meaning of each word. Should I choose a word incorrectly, or you interpret the word to mean something it does not. Then there is a failure in knowledge, and the words was used/interpreted incorrectly.
On the other hand we can all think of words that have come to mean other things through out the years; cool, hip, rad, groovy, mouse. I'm sure you can come up with many more. What do you think? Does the meaning reside in the words, or in people.