How to feel things with words
A person X says to person Y ‘it’s here”. A common enough thing for someone to say to someone else, and a common enough expression for both to understand, yet professional analysts of language are troubled by what ‘it’s here’ means, it seems of quite a different order to ‘this is a tree’ or ‘if you do not eat meat then you are a vegetarian’. It would not be uncommon for certain logicians or linguists to stay with the words themselves. In staying with the words themselves, cutting away what class, gender or age of person said such words to what other category of person. Cutting away at what time period, in which culture and various other elements. Cutting away, then, most of the context and dealing with the words as if their meaning was internal to themselves. There are two things I should mention about ‘it’s here.’ Firstly, it is a favourite sort of example used to teach what indexicals in language are. Words which we rely on finding their sense by reference to their local use. Words which cause endless troubles for formal logic and for translation software. Secondly, ‘it’s here’, while not a bizarre instance, in fact recognisably and acceptably ordinary, is a made-up example. As a first step in an ethnomethodological direction I would like to shift our attention to some words actually said, come upon in looking for something else. Harvey Sacks throughout his studies of conversation analysis warned his students (and those other colleagues in receipt of his lectures) to avoid beginning with a theory and then either inventing a suitable example or looking for a quote from a transcript to pull out to illustrate it. For the former what any member of your research community views as reasonable provides the limit on suitable examples and for the latter, why bother with ordinary conversation at all?