the structure of E-language and its influence in linguistic theorizing
Svetlana T.davidova
August 2021

Modern linguistics defines language in terms of the dichotomy of competence and performance, or I-language and E-language. The linguistic output of the average normal adult speaker, i.e. E-language is usually envisioned as unsystematic, unruly mix of utterances of various types. The present article argues against this conventional understanding and shows that linguistic performance has internal structure composed of 3 subsystems in reflection of the types of social relations of the individual speaker reflected in one's linguistic behaviour. The social interactions of a normal adult human are of 3 major types : a. interactions at the professional level with colleagues and co-workers, b. interactions at the personal level with family members, friends, neighbours etc., c. occasional interactions with strangers, i.e. fellow humans. These 3 types of communicative engagements determine the internal structure of the linguistic output, or E-language, which is organized into 3 subsystems : a code-like subsystem, an inferential subsystem and a rudimentary subsystem. These exist and function in parallel in the human mind. From a usage-based perspective the language system is a reflection of the linguistic communication of the normal adult human. This suggests that an adequate description of the language system as a pre-requisite to the design of linguistic theories, must recognize and incorporate all three subsystems. Each of the three reveal different aspects of the bio-cognitive foundations of language in the human organism and attributes to a better understanding of the Language Faculty.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/006346
(please use that when you cite this article)
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keywords: competence, performance, i-language, e-language, language system, communication, linguistic theory, language faculty, semantics, syntax
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