— 407 —
Words often used without signification.       §7. Secondly, That though the proper and immediate Signifi-
cation of Words, are Ideas in the Mind of the Speaker; yet because
by familiar use from our Cradles, we come to learn certain articu-
late Sounds very perfectly, and have them readily on our Tongues,
and always at hand in our Memories; but yet are not always careful
to examine, or settle their Significations perfectly, it often happens
that Men, even when they would apply themselves to an attentive
— 408 —
Consideration, do set their Thoughts more on Words than Things. Nay,
because Words are many of them learn’d, before the Ideas are known
for which they stand: Therefore some, not only Children, but Men,
speak several Words, no otherwise than Parrots do, only because
they have learn’d them, and have been accustomed to those Sounds.
But so far as Words are of Use and Signification, so far is there a
constant connexion between the Sound and the Idea; and a Desig-
nation, that the one stand for the other: without which Application
of them, they are nothing but so much insignificant Noise.
Locke Hum III, 2, §7, pp. 407-408