Collingwood on Grammarians

From Greg Williams (920511)

I'm posting the following quote not because I know anything about linguistics,
but because it is virtually the only thing I think might be worth passing on
to netters from Israel Rosenfield's new book, THE STRANGE, FAMILIAR, AND
FORGOTTEN: AN ANATOMY OF CONSCIOUSNESS. So this constitutes a sort of review
of a terribly vague account of neurology and perception which could use a good
dose of PCT.

On pages 118-119 of SFS, Rosenfield quotes from R.C. Collingwood's PRINCIPLES
OF ART (1958, page 257) as follows:

"We vaguely suppose it [grammar] to be a science; we think that the
grammarian, when he takes a discourse and divides it into parts, is finding
out the truth about it, and that when he lays down rules for the relations
between these parts he is telling us how people's minds work when they speak.
This is very far from being the truth. A grammarian is not a kind of scientist
studying the actual structure of language; he is a kind of butcher, converting
it from organic tissue into marketable and edible joints. Language as it lives
and grows no more consists of verbs, nouns, and so forth than animals as they
live and grow consist of forehands, gammons, rump steaks, and other joints."

(Note, Bruce N., that Collingwood was a major influence on Gregory Bateson.)

Greg Williams