It is a truth universally acknowledged that it is only a short road that leads from grammatical laxity to cannibalism. At least, it should be universally acknowledged. Human beings are linguistic beings through and through, after all. Because of our miraculous, almost certainly extra-natural capacity for symbolic communication—uttered, written, or mimed—we are the only terrestrial species that possesses a history. Human personality, community, society, and culture are all informed, sustained, and determined by language; everything we are and can be, everything we think and know and believe, is woven from words; even our most immediate sensuous experiences are ultimately mediated to us through concepts shaped by signs.
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