Question: series of events. So, the theory which

Question:
What are the three approaches explaining how representation of meaning through
language works.

Answer:
The three approaches to explaining how representation of meaning through
language works are the reflective, the intentional and the constructionist or
constructivist approaches. In the reflective approach, meaning is thought to
lie in the object, person, idea or event in the real world, and language
functions like a mirror, to reflect the true meaning as it already exists in
the world. As the poet Gertrude Stein once said, ‘A rose is a rose is a rose’.
In the fourth century BC, the Greeks used the notion of mimesis to explain how
language, even drawing and painting, mirrored or imitated nature; they thought
of Homer’s great poem, The Iliad, as ‘imitating’ a heroic series of events. So,
the theory which says that language works by simply reflecting or imitating the
truth that is already there and fixed in the world is sometimes called
‘mimetic’. As we’ve pointed out, visual signs do bear some relationship to the
shape and texture of the objects which they represent. But, as was also pointed
out earlier, a two-dimensional visual image of a rose is a sign – it should not
be confused with the real plant with thorns and blooms growing in the garden.
Remember also that there are many words, sounds and images which we fully well
understand but which are entirely fictional or fantasy and refer to worlds
which are wholly imaginary – including, many people now think, most of The
Iliad! Of course, I can use the word ‘rose’ to refer to real, actual plants
growing in a garden, as we have said before. But this is because I know the
code which links the concept with a particular word or image. I cannot think or
speak or draw with an actual rose. And if someone says to me that there is no
such word as ‘rose’ for a plant in her culture, the actual plant in the garden
cannot resolve the failure of communication between us. Within the conventions
of the different language codes we are using, we are both right – and for us to
understand each other, one of us must learn the code linking the flower with
the word for it in the other’s culture. The second approach to meaning in
representation argues the opposite case. It holds that it is the speaker, the
author, who imposes his or her unique meaning on the world through language.
Words mean what the author intends they should mean. This is the intentional
approach. Again, there is some point to this argument since we all, as
individuals, do use language to convey or communicate things which are special
or unique to us, to our way of seeing the world. We cannot be the sole or
unique source of meanings in language, since that would mean that we could
express ourselves in entirely private languages. But the essence of language is
communication and that, in turn, depends on shared linguistic conventions and
shared codes.  The third approach recognizes
this public, social character of language. It acknowledges that neither things
in themselves nor the individual users of language can fix meaning in language.
Things don’t mean: we construct meaning, using representational systems –
concepts and signs. Hence it is called the constructivist or constructionist
approach to meaning in language. According to this approach, we must not
confuse the material world, where things and people exist, and the symbolic
practices and processes through which representation, meaning and language
operate. Constructivists do not deny the existence of the material world.
However, it is not the material world which conveys meaning: it is the language
system or whatever system we are using to represent our concepts. It is social
actors who use the conceptual systems of their culture and the linguistic and
other representational systems to construct meaning, to make the world
meaningful and to communicate about that world meaningfully to others.

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