Volume 24: Grammatical Method (1962)
Three 1-hour lectures.
The count is taken without the object’s knowing it. The words are spoken between people arguing about defining them. The name is known to the bearer of the name first, and much later to all the others. It’s the very opposite from figures… Figures come at the end of reality. Names start reality… That is, the three grades of speech-figures, words, and names—also connote the three distinctions of the times in which you live.
Rosenstock-Huessy begins with the statement that the methods of the natural sciences are inappropriate for social analysis. Acts between people are manifested in speech.
“Speech surrounds an act. It precedes it and it looks back on it… invocation is that physical utterance by which the spirit can only enter reality. So we begin not with the word which has become flesh, but with the physical utterance… as an argument, as a proof, that the spirit is ready to enter creation.”
Rosenstock-Huessy outlines the basic elements of speech that give structure to social life. As speech is the basic social reality, so the discipline for the study of speech is the only appropriate method for studying society.