Towards a Theory of the Semantics of Grammatical Categories
Carl Bache and Carl Bache
3. A Possible Framework for a New Approach 49
3. A Possible Framework for a New Approach 3 .1. The Conceptual Reality of Grammatical Categories In the preceding chapter I discussed the problem of analytic direction at length and reached the conclusion that there is a point at which the distinction between the two approaches (form-to- meaning, meaning-to-form) becomes more or less neutralized, viz. when I bring the notion of 'the set of humanly conceivable notions' into the discussion. It is now time to have a closer look at the role of conceptual structures in the study of grammatical categories in natural language. As we have seen, for it to make sense at all to work with form- meaning relationships we must assume as a bare minimum that it is possible to assign one or more meanings to specific forms in a language, and that the rationale of these forms is the expression of certain meanings. In other words, a basic interpretative capacity on the part of the linguist is required if he or she wants to work with form-meaning relationships. Similarly, for a native speaker of the language to encode and decode the specific forms of a grammatical category in a language requires some sort of knowledge, if only intuitive, of the meanings conveyed (provided of course that the category conveys any meaning at all; for this problem see section 4.4 below). When encoding, the native speaker wants to convey certain meanings, and when decoding he or she interprets meanings conveyed in the message. Interpretation, whether by the...
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