Language communication and its adequacy

Urszula Wybraniec-Skardowska (Poznań School of Banking), Jacek Waldmajer (University of Opole)

The main task of this paper is to provide a conceptual apparatus of a logical general theory of language communication that takes into account the following three aspects:

1) cognitive-communicative function of a natural language, according to its genesis,

2) the so-called functional approach to logical analysis of this language


3) two understandings of a manner of use and a manner of interpreting language expressions in


By taking into account these aspects and according to the token-type distinction of Peirce, a language is formalized on two levels: first as a language of token -objects (understood as physical, material, empirical, enduring through time-and-space objects) and then - as a language of type -objects (understood as abstract, ideal objects, as classes of tokens ).

In the paper an axiomatic theory of language communication is proposed. The basic notions of the theory, i.e. the concept of communication and related concepts: meaning and interpretation of well-formed expressions ( wfes ) participating in communication are formalized on the type -level. This is done by utilizing some notions introduced on the token -level such as: using tokens , interpreting tokens and act of communication.

The conceptual apparatus of the theory allows to:

define the phenomenon of language communication and to consider the problem of its adequacy

(i.e. What are general principles of correct functioning of communicating?),

answer the question:

What is language communication at all?

and to consider the problem of its adequacy

(i.e. What are conditions of correct communication?).

The theory assumes that sign- tokens are primitive linguistic beings. It is based on a theory of syntax formalized on two levels: the token -level and the type -level and its expansion to the semantic-pragmatic theory of meaning and interpretation built by the first author of the paper [1991, 2006]. On the ground of the theory we may give some answers concerning the problems of adequacy discussed by the second author of the paper [2005]. In particular, we may formulate when, in an empirical act of communication, holds understanding, when - misunderstanding or incomprehension. We may also formulate some conditions of correctness of language communication in general.


Urszula Wybraniec-Skardowska: The Theory of Language Syntax . Categorial Approach , Kluwer

Academic Publishers, Dordrecht-Boston-London 1991.

Urszula Wybraniec-Skardowska: 'Meaning and Interpretation', Part I and Part II, Studia Logica

(2006) (to appear).

Jacek Waldmajer: 'On the Problem of the Adequacy of Representation of Knowledge', in: J.Y.

Beziau, A.Costa-Leite (Eds.) Handbook of the First World Congress and School on Universal

Logic. UNILOG'05, Montreux -Switzerland 2005, 102-103

(the full text of the paper will appear in: The Proceedings of the Congress ).