Croatian Journal of Philosophy

Volume 10, Issue 3, 2010

John Collins
Pages 199-207

How Long Can a Sentence Be and Should Anyone Care?

It is commonly assumed that natural languages, construed as sets of sentences, contain denumerably many sentences. One argument for this claim is that the sentences of a language must be recursively enumerable by a grammar, if we are to understand how a speaker-hearer could exhibit unbounded competence in a language. The paper defends this reasoning by articulating and defending a principle that excludes the construction of a sentence non-denumerably many words long.

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