from The Marriage Plot
He flipped the pages until he found the one he wanted. The he returned to the bed and handed the book to her.I Love Youje-t'aime/I-love-youAs she read these words, Madeleine was flooded with happiness. She glanced up at Leonard, smiling. With his finger he motioned for her to keep going. The figure refers not to the declaration of love, to the avowal, but to the repeated utterance of the love cry. Sudeenly Madeliens happiness diminished, usurped by the feeling of peril. She wished she weren't naked. She narrowed her shoulders and overde herself with the bed-sheet as she obediently read on.
Once the first avowal has been made, "I love you" has no meaning whatever. . .
Leonard, squatting, had a smirk on his face.
Utter foulness. Those who would say that words have no meaning or have meanings that are infinitely mutable do not understand the harm they do to themselves, to others, and to the language. Words do have definitive meaning even when repeated.
Fortunately, the mere assertion does not make a thing so the burden of such a claim falls on the claimant as is always the case in those who would compromise meaning and accept anything less than the fullness of the truth. Language is not a humpty-dumpty construct in which any given word has the meaning I want it to have at any given time. It is not infinitely malleable--as malleable as it is. Nor is it infinitely empty, regardless of those who would elevate the reader to the status to the writer and who would proclaim loudly, in academic purple, the death of the author.