§26. One thinks that learning
language consists [entirely] in giving names to objects. Viz, to human beings, to shapes,
to colours, to pains, to moods, to numbers, etc.. To repeat—naming is [indeed] something
like attaching a label to a thing. One can say that this is preparatory to the
use of a word. But what is it a preparation for?
- One of the stages in teaching your child language is indeed to
literally stick a label with 'Table' written on it onto the thing (the
table). But going round the house doing this is not using language, nor is
it teaching language. It is not ostensive definition, nor ostensive
teaching. It is no different, so far, from going round doing the dusting.
Yet it is potentially relevant to the language-game, depending on what
happens next - what it is preparation for.
- So now I go round the house with my son; I point at the thing, and at
the label, and say "Table". I encourage him to point at it, and say
"Table". This is now what the labelling was preparation for?