Speech, Space, Time

Rosenstock-Huessy argues in Speech and Reality that speech creates space and time:

“Without speech, the phenomena of time and space cannot be interpreted. Only when we speak to others (or, for that matter, to ourselves), do we delineate an inner space or circle in which we speak, from the outer world about which we speak. . . . And the same is true about the phenomenon of time. . . . By human speech, space and time are created. The scientific notions of time and space are secondary abstractions of the reality of grammatical time and space. Grammatical time and space precede the scientific notions of an outer space or of a directed time. For they presuppose an inner space between the scientists and some contemporaneity between them, too. Without the pre-establishment of one inner space of ‘science,’ no scientific analysis of time and space holds water, or even can take place at all.”

Rosenstock surpasses even the most radical post-structuralists in his claims about the power of speech, while remaining utterly concrete.

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