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How do meaningless marks and sounds become the meaningful words of a natural language? What is the meaning of words that do not have referential significance? Can ordinary language really do what it appears to do, or is this an illusion? In this work, Dr Adler argues that these fundamental questions are not satisfactorily handled in the two main philosophies of language that have dominated 20th-century thinking on the subject - the syntactical and "ordinary language" approaches. Drawing on the tradition of Aristotle, Aquinas, Poinsot and Husserl, Adler's own discussion exemplifies the third approach, which he describes as "semantic and lexical". He advances his theory of meaning and applies it to outstanding philosophical problems.