HomePhilosophia: International Journal of Philosophyvol. 38 no. 1 (2009)

Linguistic Communication versus Understanding

Xinli Wang

Discipline: Philosophy, Languages, Linguistics



It is a common wisdom that linguistic communication is different from linguistic understanding. However, the distinction between communication and understanding is not as clear as it seems to be. Presumably, the relationship between linguistic communication and understanding depends upon the notions of understanding and communication involved. Thinking along the line of propositional understanding and informative communication, communication can be reduced to mutual understanding. In contrast, operating along the line of hermeneutic understanding and dialogical communication, the process of understanding is in essence a process of communication.