Volume 29: Lingo Of Linguistics (1966)
Three 1-hour lectures.
By speech and by listening, we become different people… It is the most important quality of speech, that if you call my name, I respond… We create by names the times and spaces which our historians, our politicians, our scientists take for granted…
By bestowing a name on a person, and calling him by this name, that we cut avenues of time, through centuries. And if you are called an American, if you are called a Christian, or you are called a Jew, that means that you create and are created into a time… All times are social creations.
—April 5, 1966
In these lectures given at a conference on language held at Western Washington University, Rosenstock-Huessy attempts to point out to the other speakers that their formal studies of the structure of languages represent abstractions ripped from the larger context in which “life-giving speech” takes place.
While he admits some value for such study, he points out how those abstractions omit the true nature of communication, which after all is an action between human beings who are struggling to survive against severe odds. He attempts to clarify the essential differences between linguistics and vital speech, between generalizations and flesh and blood.