Clare Gosling… “Reality is divided up into arbitrary categories by every language and the conceptual world with which each of us is familiar could have been divided up very differently. Indeed, no two languages categorize reality in the same way. As John Passmore puts it, ‘Languages differ by differentiating differently’ (Passmore 1985,24).” (Daniel Chandler, Semiotics – P24)
What does the meaning of familiar mean to you? If you ask someone to describe what they feel when the feel that something is familiar to them, they will take some time to think it through. Is it the cup of tea that we offer somebody when they come over to our house? Is it the way we say ‘would you like a cup of tea’? In some parts of the world you have to ask someone three times if they would like a cup of tea to be polite, in others if you ask someone three times it may look like you were trying to force a cup of tea on that person. If you served your guest chocolate flavoured tea in England – would they feel less familiar with it than if you served them Tetley’s tea which they are familiar with seeing on the shelf in their local Tescos. Or is it the emphasis we place on the word tea in the sentence around it. Would you like some TEA…?
“Linguistic categories are not simply a consequence of some predefined structure in the world. There are no natural concepts or categories which are simply reflected in language. Language plays a crucial role in constructing reality.” (Daniel Chandler, Semiotics – P24)