System In Deixis
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English, and perhaps every other language, has systematic arrangements for deictic words, which shows again that that these words have meanings that can be divided into smaller pieces that we can call “symantic atoms” (provided that they do not need to be further divided). Superficially, the systems of English, Spanish and Japanese are rather different, which is one reason why we can seldom translate them word for word. Nevertheless, when we look closely at the symantic elements underlying these systems we find amazing symilarities, and we see how English can express the same three distances as Japanese deitic elements by combining the[Spk] contrast between “here”,”there” with the [Awa] contrast in “to come”,”to go”.
We have seen several extensions
of these contrasts, and have discovered that a words collocations , what it can be combined semantically with, can provide strong indications of its meaning. Alone, however, they are not proof and should not be accepted uncritically.
The simelarities in semantic elements suggest the idea that human beings might all have the same ones from which to build words, and at the beginning of this book there is a list of the most common and unviversal elements. It is reasonable to suspect that we all have the same basic building blocks of articulate thought, for we are all human beings.This concept of universally shared elements is clearly not true for words, however. Languages differ widely even in their
central aspects such as deixis for what words they have and what their
meanings are.Ofcourse, the words that describe the world must necessarily vary quite a lot; Eskimos live in aworld that is very different from that of the polynesians,so their language need words for things that dont even exist in the ohters world,like snow and coral for instance.