“When someone says ‘it’s cold,’ you might respond by closing the window,” I tell my students. “But nothing in those words means ‘close the window’ – there’s another layer of meaning introduced by the context.”
I’ve been trying this out on my girlfriend.
“It’s cold,” I say one evening. But although there is a draught, that’s not what I mean. What I mean is that there is something small and dense in the pit of my stomach that makes me wonder whether somewhere along the line we made a terrible mistake.
She looks at me, stands up, and closes the window.