Full Text

literal meaning

Subject Linguistics

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631214816.1999.x


The usual meaning of a word or phrase as opposed to a metaphorical or figurative meaning. It has been argued that, as the term itself suggests, this distinction is a product of literacy or was at least accentuated by its advent. Writing, so the argument goes, not only represents speech but also turns its units into objects of contemplation which can be conceived as having a stable existence with fixed properties. It helps to conceptually distinguish between what a speaker means and what a word means. Writing makes it possible to isolate words, list them independent of any particular message intent, and provide them with a written definition of their meaning, their literal meaning. This literate mode of treating language is epitomized in the monolingual dictionary. See also functions of writing ; literacy . Reading Olson 1977; Harris 1980. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top