J.L. Austin (1911–1960), "A Plea for Excuses," Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society
57 (1956-1957) 1-30 (at 7-8):
First, words are our tools, and, as a minimum, we should
use clean tools: we should know what we mean and what
we do not, and we must forearm ourselves against the traps that language sets us.
Secondly, words are not (except in
their own little corner) facts or things: we need therefore
to prise them off the world, to hold them apart from and
against it, so that we can realise their inadequacies and
arbitrarinesses, and can re-look at the world without blinkers.
Thirdly, and more hopefully, our common stock of words
embodies all the distinctions men have found worth drawing,
and the connexions they have found worth marking, in
the lifetimes of many generations: these surely are likely to
be more numerous, more sound, since they have stood up
to the long test of the survival of the fittest, and more subtle,
at least in all ordinary and reasonably practical matters,
than any that you or I are likely to think up in our armchairs
of an afternoon—the most favoured alternative method.
Id., pp. 27-28:
[A] word never—well, hardly ever—shakes off
its etymology and its formation. In spite of all changes in
and extensions of and additions to its meanings, and indeed
rather pervading and governing these, there will still persist
the old idea. In an accident something befalls: by mistake
you take the wrong one: in error you stray: when you act
deliberately you act after weighing it up (not after thinking
out ways and means). It is worth asking ourselves whether
we know the etymology of "result" or of "spontaneously",
and worth remembering that "unwillingly" and "involuntarily" come from very different sources.