In the face of the complexity of language as an object of study, it becomes crucial for researchers who investigate its various facets to communicate and to understand each-others’ terminology, methods and results. The feasibility and utility of striving for the elegance of formal models of isolated aspects of the linguistic system (for example, set of generative rules in an individual’s head) are called into question: a theory of language needs to account for how it functions in multiple systems and on multiple time-scales. This short introduction to the special issue on Language as Social Coordination situates works in this issue on the map of collective effort to formulate such a theory. It is also a reflection on the form of a theory of language that could integrate this variety of data and results.
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