Language Limits Our World Term Paper

Length: 2 pages Subject: Communication - Language Type: Term Paper Paper: #74407384 Related Topics: Gettysburg Address, Languages, World, Linguistics
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Language Limits Our World

When Wittgenstein said, "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world," he was very likely speaking of philosophical limits, and not phenomenological ones. However, inherent in the very possibility of considering language and limitations is the possibility of a phenomenological meaning as well. Indeed, it one has language that is too impoverished to admit of various experiences, one is very unlikely to have them, or, if one does have those experiences, of recalling them. We recall our lives in language.

This may help explain, to use a completely pedestrian example, the idiotic answers people give to questions asked by Jay Leno on his Jaywalking segments. The ignorance shown by the interviewees is legendary, and it also involves mistakes with and misconstructions of language. For example, he might ask who wrote the Gettysburg Address, and he might get the answer, "The guy who founded Gettysburg." One might consider the answer to be a mistake in facts. However, one might also consider that the respondent did not know that the term address was synonymous with


For example, phenomenologically, if someone says to you, "I'm coming over," you must be able to deduce that she means coming to your dwelling. If you took the word 'over' at face value, the sentence would be meaningless as 'over' literally means 'above.'

Knowing the context of what your friend is saying, something about a visit, means you will clearly know she is not about to hire a hovercraft and literally hover 'over' your dwelling.

It is easy to see the limits an impoverished knowledge of languge places on one in the world of events. But impoverished language is equally potent…

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