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Ignorance of Language$
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Michael Devitt

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199250967

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0199250960.001.0001

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(p.3) 1 Introduction
Ignorance of Language

Michael Devitt (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

In Chomsky’s view, linguistics is about a psychological state, the speaker’s knowledge of language which constitutes her linguistic competence. This knowledge is said to underlie her linguistic intuitions. The rules (principles) of the language are thought to be “psychologically real” in that they are represented — the Representational Thesis (RT) — or otherwise embodied in the language faculty. This book’s plan is described, which is to look critically at these views and propose others. The chapter concludes with some clarifications of the book’s relation to I-languages, to grammatical levels and to linguistic details; and of the importance of its conclusions.

Keywords:   Chomsky, knowledge of language, linguistic competence, linguistic intuitions, psychological reality, Representational Thesis, RT, language faculty, I-languages, grammatical levels

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