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Archive for January, 2015

Tutorial: Meaning and Understanding (the basics)

Sentence: The big hat was put on the cat.

There are two meanings here:

  • 1) The meaning intended by the writer
  • 2) The meaning understood by the reader

 

And two acknowledgements:

  • The meaning intended by the writer cannot be known with absolute certainty.
  • The meaning understood by the reader is subjective.

 

Subjectivity: Depending on who the reader is, the meaning they take from the sentence may differ. People, children, space aliens – each will have a different interpretation of the word ‘big’. Also the standard size of a cat is likely to differ by geographical location. If you live in a jungle in India for example a bengali tiger may represent your standard ‘cat’. How large will the hat therefore need to be to qualify as big by comparison to this mighty cat? Is it on his head, or like, on his body? There are so many questions…

With that in mind, have a read of this Task B essay and the comments which follow. This should help demonstrate why meaning theory is important on the GAMSAT. More…