Bart Lipman is a theorist in Boston University. In 2002 he wrote a paper on language and economics which memorably opened with "I ﬁnd myself in the rather awkward position of trying to survey a literature which (as I will feel compelled to deﬁne it) almost doesn't exist." He has continued the fine tradition with a 2009 working paper:
Why is language vague?Barton L. LipmanDepartment of EconomicsBoston UniversityCurrent Draft: November 2009Abstract: I don't know.
Funny abstract aside, the conclusion may strike a chord with this blog's readership:
"Put differently, the vastness of even very simple sets of options suggests it is ludicrous to think a real person would have well defined ideas, much less well behaved preferences ... In short, it is not that people have a precise view of the world but communicate it vaguely; instead, they have a vague view of the world."
(H/T: Jeff Smith)
Addendum: this Father Ted clip is apt.