How many meanings does a word have?

John R. Taylor


In order to fully understand what a person says to you, you need to activate many kinds of knowledge and ability. One requirement for comprehension is knowledge of the meanings of the words of which an utterance is composed. Suppose someone asks you to "open the window". Your understanding of the expression open the window requires - amongst other things - that you know the meaning of the verb open and the meaning of the noun window. You identify the window as a nominal constituent, whose referent is an entity of a certain kind - specifically, an entity of the kind designated by the noun window. You realise that you are supposed to perform a certain kind of activity with respect to this entity - specifically, the kind of activity designated by the verb ~.

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