Starting with some sceptical remarks on the idea that the relationship between linguistics and literary studies has broken down and that linguistics is primarily concerned with texts for daily use, the article proposes some elements of a text-linguistic approach covering notions, ideas and activities long since familiar to literary scholars, especially those preparing editions. The notion of virtual text is introduced to denote the abstract entity underlying different versions and copies of one and the same text. Following Ehlich's suggestion that a (prototypical) text is not necessarily a written sequence of signs, but a complex sign passed on by tradition, the importance of reproducing texts – and hence the role of members of the speaking community in producing textuality – is emphasized: Re-reading, reciting, reading aloud to others, reprinting, reediting, and even rewriting, resuming or referring to by allusions are different means of transmitting the text or elements of it to others, including the following generations. Some of them require a complete ‘cognitive copy’ of the text, but the longer the text is, the more probable it is that only fragments are part of the linguistic knowledge of (groups of) the community. Nevertheless, (fragments of) texts can be stocked in the individual memory, just as lexical items are. The last chapter presents the number and type of transmission authorities (commercial editors, scientific editors, lecturers, literary agents, and so on), as well as the number and type of versions and copies as criteria to differentiate texts for daily use, scientific and literary texts.