Apparently, an ancient Athenian philosopher named Cratylus felt that language could change so quickly that it was impossible to be sure of its meaning. It depended on what its speaker meant to say. Cratylus gave up speaking entirely.
Then along came Lewis Carol's Alice in Wonderland, and translated the Cratylus Theory of Language into his nonsensical allegory. On her adventures, Alice met Humpty Dumpty on his wall, and he was talking nonsense, or what seemed to her to be nonsense or at best, unintelligible. He used words that had entirely different meanings to Alice.
Cratylus has been nearly forgotten, but Carol's Humpty Dumpty lives on:
‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.’
‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’
‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master – that's all.’
- For Teachers