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By Cory

This paintings positive aspects an built-in method of writing and grammar.

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Extra resources for Advanced Writing with English in Use 2

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T h e y can probably go m u c h further than we have yet imagined w i t h o u t any answer to this question. I t is enoügh for our purposes to say that w h a t a w o r d means is the missing parts of the contexts f r o m which i t draws its delegated efficacy. A t this p o i n t I must r e m i n d you of what I said a f e w m i n u t e s ago about the p r i m o r d i a l generality and abstractness of meaning and about how, when we mean the simplest-seeming concrete object, its concreteness comes to i t f r o m the way i n which we are b r i n g i n g i t simultaneously i n t o a number of sorts.

W h a t follows is unavoidably abstract and general i n the extreme. I t may therefore rather illustrate the difficulties o f c o m m u n i c a t i n g w i t h such highly ab­ stract language than achieve as m u c h communica­ t i o n as we w o u l d wish. I f so the fault w i l l not lie, I hope and believe, either i n my stupidity or i n our j o i n t stupidity. I t w i l l lie i n the abstractness of the AIMS OF DISCOURSE AND TYPES OF C O N T E X T 27 language. I t has to be abstract here. W h a t i t is t r y i n g to say cannot, I t h i n k , be p u t safely i n more concrete terms, for i t is not t a l k i n g about this or that mode of meaning b u t about a l l meanings.

T h e shift, the handing over, is left still as inexplicable. Probably this 'learning problem' goes d o w n as deep as the nature of life itself. W e can suppose, i f we like, that some sorts of residual effects are left behind f r o m former occurrences w h i c h later co-operate w i t h the sign i n determining the response. T o do so is to use a metaphor drawn f r o m the gross behavior, taken macroscopically, of systems that are not l i v i n g — p r i n t e d things, gramaphone records and such.

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