When we have a conversation with our friends or with somebody, of course we are expected to understand each other in interpreting what our friends say. It will be inefficient if one of us could not get the meaning of words that has been stated. That may happen in our own conversation because words actually have two meaning, such as abstract meaning and contextual meaning. Abstract meaning is dictionary meaning while contextual meaning is the meaning that restricted to a very limited domain discourse. For example: at the party we heard someone saying “Pearsons are on coke”. Abstractly the meaning of the sentence could be Pearsons are drinking Coca cola. But actually the word coke there has other meanings, like using cocaine or having solid-fuel heating. To know the real meaning of the statement could only be determined in context.
When we listen to a statement or question, we don’t know that there might be alternative interpretations. For example, if a friend promises to send us a card from makassar but we can’t guess whether it will be a picture postcard, a playing card or a business card. If we can’t make shortcut interpretations then the process of understanding one another would be difficult.
So, we have to know that a word, phrase, and sentence are having abstract and contextual meaning. In order to able to know the meaning of such word that we hear, we should see the context first. If we just interpret it at once we hear the words, it could make a misunderstanding and inefficient conversation.