Re: [xmca] sense and meaning

From: Ana Marjanovic-Shane (
Date: Wed Jul 13 2005 - 12:58:52 PDT

Can English "understand" be comapred to German "verstehen"? Does "verstehen" also have a root in "stand in the midst of"?

-----Original Message-----
From: Wolff-Michael Roth []
Sent: Wednesday, July 13, 2005 07:08 PM
Subject: Re: [xmca] sense and meaning

recently someone posted a definition of understanding in relation to
meaning. Some time ago, I looked it up (for my math paper the meaning
of meaning):

Understanding comes from "under" and "stand", standing in the midst of
(not "under"). When we "understand", we literally stand IN THE MIDST OF
something, the activity, the familiar world.

In this respect, an older sense of "meaning" also helps--its root comes
from *men, to think, and one of its obsolete uses was to denote "to
speak of, tell of, have in mind, and to remember" (OED online). That
is, meaning takes us to talk of, remember. What do we talk of,
remember? Familiar situations, of HAVING BEEN IN THE MIDST OF. . .

Merleau-Ponty says that the function of the body in remembering is, in
part, the deployment of a panorama experienced in the past, the
re-deployment of the attitude taken in past situations. . . which takes
us back to having been in the midst, and remembering having been there.



xmca mailing list

xmca mailing list

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Aug 01 2005 - 01:01:06 PDT