Who would not answer, true, without hesitation? But consider the following thought demonstation:
Suppose Socrates[i] told you he saw a cisticola while on a trip to Africa and you asked what that might be.
He answered: “A cisticola is a very small bird that eats insects.”
In an instant you know that cisticolas, have beaks, wings, and feathers, almost certainly can fly, that they have internal organs, that they have mass and hundreds of other properties that were not contained in the sentence.
Let us step through the articulation process that Socrates when through to create the specification for the creation of this new knowledge.
First, he decomposed the concept denoted by the word “cisticola” in his mind into components concepts and selected certain ones that he guesses already exist in your mind. The key one is “bird” because if you classify cisticolas as birds you will assign them all the properties common to all birds as well as all the essential properties and attributes of animals, organisms and physical objects; a large body of knowledge.
Second, he selected concepts that will be useful for you to distinguish cisticolas from other birds, their size is very small comparatively and they are insectivorous.
He now has a parts list for the new concept to be constructed in your mind from items that you already have in your cognitive warehouse: bird, very, small, eating, insects.
Third, he provided the assembly instructions: he choose some connective words; “is,” “a,” “that” and arranged all the words in a specific grammatical order.\
Thus, natural language is a communications protocol between two entities that have pre-existing knowledge. Each sentence is an instruction, not different in essence from a line of code in a computer program.