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Maps and Words

Module 6

Notable Quotes

“Sometimes people confuse a word with the thing for which it stands. A word exists only as a representation of a fact. A word is not the fact to which it refers. One cause of some of our misunderstandings may be that we sometimes confuse the word with the thing it stands for; we act as if words were objects or feelings.” --Minteer, Words and What They do to You, Lesson 4

“In all civilized societies (and probably in many primitive ones as well), the symbols of piety, of civic virtue, or of patriotism, are often prized above actual piety, civic virtue, or patriotism. In one way or another, we are all like the brilliant student who cheats in his exams in order to make Phi Beta Kappa: it is so much more important to have the symbol than the things it stands for.” —Hayakawa, Language in Thought and Action, p. 30

“A group of synonyms does not define an object. A careful description may help bring it into focus for the listener, but it is not conclusive. Final identification is achieved only by pointing to the apple, touching it with the hand, seeing it with the eyes, tasting it with the mouth, and so recognizing it as non-verbal. Here is the base from which all our proud words rise — every last one of them — and to it they must constantly return and be refreshed. Failing this, they wander into regions where there are no apples, no objects, no acts, and so they become symbols for airy chunks of nothing at all.” —Chase, The Tyranny of Words, p. 39

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