How do they work? Well that’s really hard, but luckily for us, I have some ideas so we can have a fun discussion about them instead of pretending they don’t exist.
I’ll start first with a simple example: I know something, for whatever reason. I might say something that is true, or I might say something else. Something like “there”, “that”, “and that”. All those statements have the same basic structure, and can be used in a variety of different ways. We can look at them as statements about a physical object because they describe that object well.
Now, how do we translate all these sentences in the real world? A lot of them have really important meanings, such as what the object is or what its properties are. Some of these words have very ambiguous meanings. In fact, some words may be completely meaningless. Let’s go through a few.
If a speaker says “There is a blue apple on the table”, there is no way to translate this sentence as “there is a blue apple on the table” without either a lot of words (not very useful, but a bonus) or an extra verb. All we can do is to describe what the speaker means. “There is a blue apple on the table” sounds good because it describes the object well, so you’ll probably think that there is a blue apple on the table. But what exactly is this blue apple on the table? Can you tell me? Probably there’s nothing you can describe with this sentence, and there is no meaning for this, so the meaning of this sentence is “there is a blue apple on the table”. Now if I say “I see a small green man”, that is pretty much useless, because what I actually mean is “I see a green-haired man”. But I still can use this sentence instead of saying “I see a small green man”. So we see that words have meaning and that’s probably a good thing. And so do many other things like “you”, “he”, “it”, “and that.”
But there are plenty of other things we can say that have no meaning. Maybe you want to say: “I see an orange dog”. That’s not very useful – no one could really understand that. Or, maybe you want to say “I see a purple dog”, which is also not very useful: we all know that purple is always supposed to be a color, and if I think that I see a purple dog, I
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