What We Know When We Know a Language

In Ernest Lepore & Barry C. Smith (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Language. Oup Oxford (2006)
Abstract
EVERY speaker of a language knows a bewildering variety of linguistic facts, and will come to know many more. It is knowledge that connects sound and meaning. Questions about the nature of this knowledge cannot be separated from fundamental questions about the nature of language. The conception of language we should adopt depends on the part it plays in explaining our knowledge of language. This chapter explores options in accounting for language, and our knowledge of language, and defends the view that individuals’ languages are constituted by the standing knowledge they carry from one speech situation to another.
Keywords knowledge of language  idiolects  understanding language  psychological reality of grammars
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