15 April 2008

While my son was having a bath the other day, we belatedly realised that a sound he has been making for a while – “aah-ta” – was his way of saying water. Duh!

Ever since, I’ve been pondering the mysteries of communication. Was this sound devoid of meaning, of information, before someone else started to understand it? Or is it enough for one person to intend something for some kind of signal to have meaning?

As far as I can tell, information is one of those concepts that, like money, becomes harder and harder to pin down the more you think about it. Wikipedia’s entry┬áis certainly a confused mess.

This did make me think of Wittgenstein’s idea of a private language, but by this he meant something that could never be understood, not a poor attempt to communicate nor a poor ability to grasp a child’s meaning.