Pre-Archaic Industrial Jargon

W Brewer brewerwa at GMAIL.COM
Tue Mar 13 06:55:48 UTC 2012

Shifting&fixed form&meaning&referent 20120313.doc

See if I can dumb all this discussion down to my pre-Chomskyite level. I
need some handy handles on the problem of social/technological change
affecting lexicon.

Two possibilities:

(1) shifting form + fixed meaning + fixed referent; e.g. the meaning <<person
with mental disabilities>> constantly changes form (a shape-shifter).

(2) fixed form + fixed meaning + shifting referent; e.g. the form <<pen
(ink-writing implement>> changes referent Wittgensteinianly ([feather]
> quill-pen
> ink-pen > fountain pen > ball-point > computer-thingee). Shifting medium.

Therefore, is it fair to say, each and every word is on semantic, formal,
and referential treadmills, which are set at individual rates of speed? For
each speaker. At different times of life. In different moods. In different
places. On different discussion lists. Pragmatically speaking.

Ron, I do not know what subreption means in this context. (Wp: philosophy
xxx a creeping or tacit assumption(s) that is not explicitly given but is
hidden either purposefully (as in sophistry) or not (as in a visual

RB: <<< So an address book is still an address book; all that is different
is =
how the information in it is stored.>>
WB: book (scratching on beech bark > vellum > (papyrus?) > wood pulp >
electrons): a stable spelling anyway (but phonetically evolved), SHIFTING
MEDIA, stable referent. Somewhere is the back of my atrophied brain is a
semiotic triangle or something.

The American Dialect Society -

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