Go back far enough and it meant "take in." As an English word it meant to "become pregnant" and also "begin." And all of these definitions
are still abstract and metaphor themselves
! Until we hit the bedrock of the names of objects, we are still in the realm of abstraction which is metaphor......
A person just has to take some time and think about it. Imagine humanity at the beginning of language use. Concepts weren't always here. They had to be created. Probably the word for "red" was the name of a berry. When Joe the caveman saw a bird like the berry, he could say "berry." Eventually folks could say "berry" and know that "red" was meant. It's the same with numbers. What do three frogs and three birds have in common? Threeness. We slowly build on this pile, till we have a concept for concept itself. Get out your magnifying glass. What are words made of, after all? How is meaning created?
Our abstract language is a coral reef of dead metaphors.
Main Entry: noun
Etymology: Latin conceptum,
neuter of conceptus,
past participle of concipere
to conceive - more at conceive
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French conceivre,
from Latin concipere
to take in, conceive, from com-
to take - more at heave
Date: 14th century
transitive verb 1 a :
to become pregnant
with (young) <conceive a child
> b :
to cause to begin : originate
<a project conceived
by the company's founder>
2 a :
to take into one's mind <conceive a prejudice> b :
to form a conception
of : imagine
<a badly conceived
to apprehend by reason or imagination : understand
<unable to conceive his reasons>
to have as an opinion <I cannot conceive that he acted alone>intransitive verb 1 :
to become pregnant
to have a conception -usually used with of
of death as emptiness>
Origin of language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Hockett (1966) details a list of features regarded as essential to describing human language. In the domain of the lexical-phonological principle, two features of this list are most important:
- Productivity: users can create and understand completely novel messages.
- New messages are freely coined by blending, analogizing from, or transforming old ones.
- Either new or old elements are freely assigned new semantic loads by circumstances and context. This says that in every language, new idioms constantly come into existence.
- Duality (of Patterning): a large number of meaningful elements are made up of a conveniently small number of meaningless but message-differentiating elements.
The sound system of a language is composed of a finite set of simple phonological items. Under the specific phonotactic
rules of a given language, these items can be recombined and concatenated, giving rise to morphology
and the open-ended lexicon. A key feature of language is that a simple, finite set of phonological items gives rise to an infinite lexical system wherein rules determine the form of each item, and meaning is inextricably linked with form. Phonological syntax, then, is a simple combination of pre-existing phonological units. Related to this is another essential feature of human language: lexical syntax, wherein pre-existing units are combined, giving rise to semantically novel or distinct lexical items.