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By Michael Devitt

The Chomskian revolution in linguistics gave upward thrust to a brand new orthodoxy approximately brain and language. Michael Devitt throws down a provocative problem to that orthodoxy. what's linguistics approximately? What position may still linguistic intuitions play in developing grammars? what's innate approximately language? Is there a "language faculty?" those questions are the most important to our constructing realizing of ourselves; Michael Devitt bargains refreshingly unique solutions.

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Indeed, at Wrst sight, the contemplated study may seem to be alien to Chomsky’s enterprise. It may even seem to smack of studying an ‘‘E-language’’, of which Chomsky takes a dim view: ‘‘the concept [of an E-language] appears to play no role in the theory of language’’ (1986: 26); an E-language has ‘‘no corresponding real-world object’’ (p. 27). But it is not obvious that the outputs of linguistic competence Wt Chomsky’s description of an E-language. According to him an E-language is ‘‘externalized .

16 See Laurence 2003, sec. 5, for a vigorous argument to that eVect. 17 I owe this reason to Roblin Meeks. Grammar, Theory of Linguistic Reality 29 completing the contemplated task necessary for completing task (i). For, the nature of the speaker’s competence studied by task (i) involves the nature of the symbols studied by the contemplated task: those symbols are what the competence produces. 3) shows that the contemplated task has a certain epistemic and explanatory priority over task (i). How could we make any signiWcant progress studying the nature of competence in a language unless we already knew a good deal about that language?

That is the reality of a language. And the task we have been contemplating, and that I wish to 26 Linguistics is not Psychology promote, is the study of the nature of this reality. This is not Chomsky’s task (i), the study of the nature of the competence itself. Indeed, at Wrst sight, the contemplated study may seem to be alien to Chomsky’s enterprise. It may even seem to smack of studying an ‘‘E-language’’, of which Chomsky takes a dim view: ‘‘the concept [of an E-language] appears to play no role in the theory of language’’ (1986: 26); an E-language has ‘‘no corresponding real-world object’’ (p.

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