Meaning refers to thoughts and feelings. Language is but a way to express them.
Language our main method we use to exchange the intangible thoughts and feelings we experience on a daily basis, but it's a also a very flawed was to achieve that result.
I believe Kim Krizan perfectly captures the flawed yet inevitable nature of language :
Creation seems to come out of imperfection. It seems to come out of a
striving and a frustration. And this is where I think language came
I mean, it came from our desire to transcend our isolation and have
some sort of connection with one another. And it had to be easy when
it was just simple survival. Like, you know, "water." We came up with
a sound for that. Or "Saber-toothed tiger right behind you." We came
up with a sound for that.
But when it gets really interesting, I think, is when we use that same
system of symbols to communicate all the abstract and intangible
things that we're experiencing.
What is, like, frustration? Or what is anger or love? When I say
"love," the sound comes out of my mouth and it hits the other person's
ear, travels through this Byzantine conduit in their brain, you know,
through their memories of love or lack of love, and they register what
I'm saying and they say yes, they understand.
But how do I know they understand? Because words are inert. They're
just symbols. They're dead, you know? And so much of our experience is
intangible. So much of what we perceive cannot be expressed. It's
And yet, you know, when we communicate with one another, and we feel
that we've connected, and we think that we're understood, I think we
have a feeling of almost spiritual communion. And that feeling might
be transient, but I think it's what we live for.
-- Kim Krizan, screenwriter
For an in depth analysis of the relationship between perception, language and objective reality, I can highly recommend Olga Bogdashina's Autism and the Edges of the Known World: Sensitivities, Language and Constructed Reality. In this impressive study, mss Bogdashina compares the way different languages correlate with different perceptions in different cultures as well as how Autistic people and "neurotypical" people with the same cultural background differ in their application of language to exchange their perception of the objective reality and culture they share.