&c.: On Linguistic Regularity, Normativity and Language Acquisition

  • Niklas Forsberg


How do we know when learning has taken place? When is a teacher’s job done? One answer that may be drawn from Wittgenstein’s work is: when the pupil is able to go on alone. One temptation here is to say that a child has learned how to go on alone when she has grasped the regularity underlying the phenomena at hand—we know how to use a word in new contexts when we know what it means, or we know how to use the words we have learned when we know the rules that guide their correct use. This paper aims to show that we often misunderstand the point where the student is ready to part way with his or her teacher if we focus to strongly on rules. It is argued that it may be helpful here to think more about kinds of regularities in language use that are not so self-evidently “rule-like” in order to further make clear that regularity in language use, the normative force of language , does not depend on, or fall back upon, a kind of rule, or form of language, that precedes all articulations (correct and incorrect).


Wittgenstein Rule following Language acquisition Normativity Contextualism 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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