16: Stage 2 – a pause for thought

And, so, as it’s been a while, let’s recap on what has been being done here and consider ‘where now’.

Dissecting, questioning, dividing

I’ve been dissecting thought and grammar into 2 basic intersecting dimensions of the analytic and the synthetic. And here’s an anecdote on the synthetic and the analytic: someone asked me recently what the word was for the hook used to hold a cord in place attached to a blind. They wanted to buy one online but couldn’t think of the word for it. I searched on the Internet for ‘hook’ and antonyms of ‘hook’. I was thinking analytically and didn’t get anywhere near the answer but just found lots of irrelevant forms of hook. However, my questioner then did his own search with the word ‘blind’ – he was thinking synthetically, of course. His method was much more successful than mine and he found the word he needed: cleat.

Of course, both ways of thinking have their value but, in this case, the synthetic approach proved the more effective. Interestingly, when I then observed, somewhat pedantically perhaps, on the contrast in our methods, he explained that he was not aware of any difference. It’s funny how our methods of thinking can be so unconscious in our patterns of mental behaviour that we are largely unaware of what type, or mix, of thinking we are engaged in at any one time. Grammar being a hugely clever system or set of systems, combines the synthetic and analytic within itself, and we are largely unaware of what method, or mix of methods, of explaining the world and ourselves (to ourselves) we are engaged in.

But, so far, I’ve focused on the synthetic grammar and found the conventional explanations in this area and the conventional terminology to be wanting, according to a set of criteria that I have established for the determination of a successful system of categorisation, whatever the system, grammatical or otherwise. Then, I’ve divided the sentences of English as conforming generally to one or the other of two basic sentence types: ‘linear’ sentences and ‘loop-back’ sentences – a very obvious and basic insight into the language, it could be said. But it has been hard-gained as it has been hidden by the conventional, confusing and opaque, sentence-function terminology of subject, verb, predicate, complement, adverbial etc. – all of which need to be abandoned and replaced, I feel.

And now?

And so, essentially, so far, the focus has been on dissecting, questioning and deconstructing … and, I’ve started to do some basic dividing into two basic sentence types, ‘linear’ and ‘loop-back’. Now, we are ready to use that basic division of types, and it’s time to build, on the ‘quarry‘ of ideas, a new approach to describing the synthetic grammar and, thence, to questioning, reassessing and rebuilding the analytic grammar model and, then, to model the complex and subtle relationships between the analytic and the synthetic within the grammar.

And how?

One of the problems one encounters, of course, when rebuilding an old structure is the question of how radical to be. Too bold and innovative and people can feel alienated from the new plan, they can feel it’s a step or steps too far, motivated by vanity more than reason. Too cautious and uncertain and people can become incensed, almost, that they have had to take a long journey through so much ‘quarry’ work and yet, at the end of the ‘day’, have very little ‘new build’ offered to show for it, for all that questioning and reappraising.

It’s been difficult to know how best to resolve all of that but, after a lot of thought, I’ve decided to go for the radical approach (true to the name of this site), so that the system is not only coherent in itself but also grasps the opportunity for change as fully as it can … even if, ultimately, as a consequence, it does not achieve anything much in the way of some form of acceptance from the pundits or the experts, so-called, or the learning student, heavily influenced by the previous two groups.

And, in fact, if the ideas here were given any general credence, then an awful lot of texts would have to be rethought and rewritten, and established publishers don’t like change – it creates an uncertain commercial climate that is difficult for them to control – change is expensive to deliver and uncertain in its financial return. There’d be a lot of unhappiness within the ‘status quo’. 🙂

David Lott

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