Kelly Gorski is pessimistic about language. I must say, I don't share Kelly's pessimism.
She quotes Derrida approvingly. But Derrida's genius was that he raised complete and utter bullshit to a high art. One must stand in speechless admiration of his skill, but it's a mistake to take him too seriously, at least after abandoning the notion of The One Truth, which he relentlessly and justly mocks.
We can never completely rigorously formalize our notions of truth and bullshit, but that doesn't mean that truth and bullshit lose all meaning, it just means rigorous formalization itself isn't all that and a bag of chips. Language transcends formalization, and it always has; formalization, although of no small value, is a specialized and late-appearing tool.
Look at Auster, for instance. Do nouns represent functions? Often, yes. Is function The One Truth of a noun's meaning? Well, if one takes postmodernism seriously, there is no One Truth about a noun's meaning: Nouns don't capture the "essence" of things, not because they (or we) are somehow deficient, but because there is no "the essence" to be captured. There are only the myriad ways individuals relate to objects, language describes those relationships, thus all language is relative. But relativism doesn't entail total vacuity or meaninglessness.
Half the postmodernist bullshit is a demand for a new absolutism, a new One True Essence, a new "modernism"; such a demand is a betrayal of the pioneering postmodernists who showed that the idea of absolute truth (independent of the speaker's and lister's relationship to the world) is nonsense.
The other half of postmodernist bullshit (and anti-postmodern bullshit) is the idea that relativism entails nihilism, vacuity, meaninglessness. And that's bullshit. Yes, language expresses relations, but I am still me and you are still you (and that guy over there is still him), we're real people, and our relationships to reality are real.
No, I don't know what you mean... but then again, do you yourself even have exactly One True meaning? Which you? The you now or the you in the past that expressed the words? Your whole mind or some of the parts?
Words aren't dead; even if their writer is dead, the words belong in part to the reader, and the words are alive so long as the reader is alive.