What is a word? This chapter starts by looking at the importance of giving one's “word”. It moves on to look at words and the place they play in our lives. What did the first words stand for? What did they mean to mankind? What do words mean to infants? Models of perception are much older than the means of speaking. Primitive organisms, when they always react in the same way to changes in light, temperature, or humidity, already demonstrate that they have a well-rehearsed repertoire of modes of perception. Modes of speech, on the contrary, are only a thin layer, or veneer, on top of modes of perception.
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