§18. Do not be troubled by the fact that languages (2) and (8) consist only of orders. If you want to say that this shows them to be incomplete, ask yourself whether our language is complete;—whether it was so before the symbolism of chemistry and the notation of the infinitesimal calculus were incorporated in it; for these are, so to speak, suburbs of our language. (And how many houses or streets does it take before a town begins to be a town?) Our language can be seen as an ancient city: a maze of little streets and squares, of old and new houses, and of houses with additions from various periods; and this surrounded by a multitude of new boroughs with straight regular streets and uniform houses.


  1. The "straight regular streets" are the introduction of technical additions to our language, for special purposes.
  2. There is not, and cannot be, an ideal language - one that is complete, that precisely expresses everything that can be expressed. (cp. §81) This is the ideal of a 'logical language' that he sought in his Tractatus.
  3. "How many houses or streets does it take before what we previously called 'a collection of houses' or 'a hamlet' should correctly be called 'a town'?" would be more accurate.