Commonly, three notions of ›language‹ are distinguished: (a) the species-specific and genetically given ›language faculty‹, (b) individual linguistic systems, and (c) the communication with the aid of these systems. This paper deals with the way from the language faculty to the linguistic system and the role of communication in this process. There are two types of transition, language creation (i.e., the building of a new linguistic system) and language acquisition, i.e., the copying of an existing system by an individual. In each case, communication is essential. Therefore, it is useful to distinguish three clearly distinct subfaculties — the »construction faculty, the copying faculty, and the communication faculty, i.e., the capability to use available linguistic knowledge for communicative purposes«. Their role varies in the two types of transition. It is argued that only trivial universal properties of linguistic systems follow immediately from the construction property. Most interesting structural universals are developed over a long course in the interaction of the three properties. Examples are subordination, scope and finiteness, whose role is discussed at some lenghth.
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