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Monday, July 30, 2018

What is establishment?


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, John Trumbull


What is the definition of establishment? Here is my definition:


Establishment is the process of causing something indefinitely into existence


I believe that language is formed through establishment rather than usage. For example, imagine that we have a million different color shades and we want to give a word to each shade. In this situation, we could name every color a separate number. This process would establish many word-concept relationships. Although we wouldn't use every color shade, the meanings would still remain. This example shows how usage is not necessary for a word to have meaning.


What if somebody starts using a word in a new way? Would this be a case where usage precedes establishment? I don't think so because the usage of a new meaning is simultaneous to the establishment of that meaning. In this regard, usage and establishment occur at the same time, but establishment is more important for creating meaning.


If somebody uses a word incorrectly, does this change the meaning of the word? I don't think so because it goes against the established meaning. Maybe with enough misuses, a new meaning can get established to coincide alongside the original meaning, but still establishment is what truly gives a word meaning. This is another example of how usage does not predominate over establishment.



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