Abstract

Why do people care about the meaning(s)/significance associated with a word? Does it make sense to advocate or to criticize a certain form-meaning association? This article argues that words do real cognitive and social work as they are deployed in social practice and that it is primarily through words and their histories of use that culture links to language. It is not semantic representations as such that matter but the (mostly extralinguistic) reference and conceptual baggage words acquire in their discursive world travels. Lexical significance shifts and is contested as part of shifting and contested customs, institutions, and ideologies.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 497-527
Launched on MUSE
2008-10-04
Open Access
No
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