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Grazer Philosophische Studien

Volume 42, 1992

Criss-crossing a Philosophical Landscape

Gordon Baker
Pages 107-131

Some Remarks on 'Language' and 'Grammar'

To clarify Wittgenstein's status as an analytic philosopher, we must study his use of the expressions 'language', 'grammar', etc. We tend to take 'language' as an abstract mass-noun and to generalize quite specific remarks. We overlook the possibility of taking 'our grammar' to refer to our particular description of the use of words rather than to what we describe. Preserving the ambiguity of 'Sprache' between language and speech calls for a neutral translation, e.g. 'what we say'. Wittgenstein's 'descriptions of the grammar of our language' are more varied and purpose-specific than usually recognized.

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