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Old 09-21-2012, 03:07 PM   #7
C. David Henderson
Location: Santa Fe New Mexico
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 607
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Re: Word accuracy vs. precision

I think with language sometimes it is more accurate to be less precise, as it "is difficult to paint a clear picture of a fuzzy object."

I also think the idea that a dictionary has authority to delimit meaning is of fairly recent origin. While this cultural convention is undoubtedly useful, it does not describe something inherent in natural language use, written or oral.

The meaning of words used in speech or writing is not fixed, and there are determinants of meaning that speakers and listeners, writers and readers attach that do not turn on the definition of individual words. Examples -- irony, or poetry.

Whether I understand what you say and write is subject to a (somewhat fuzzy) process of provisional attribution and confirmation.

YMMV

David Henderson
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