Re: Writing, language, &.../ just another orality detail

Wade Tarzia (tarzia@UCONNVM.UCONN.EDU)
Thu, 3 Oct 1996 11:31:59 -0400

>...The US is a predominantly literate
>culture; Belize, on the other hand, is a predominantely oral culture. (This
>is in spite of having compulsory education through the primary grades.)
>That human beings have orality is trivially true but irrelevant. (Jesse)

--- Again a reply to a mere detail as the eddies of the giants swirl about
me: this seems to be an overly simple conception of orality for both
literate and somewhat-literate societies.

For example, because I work in a editorial office, I may well type more
than I say, and read more than I hear. But if I were working on a highway
crew, oral communications might become primary. Another example: now that
my 7 year old daughter reads, she prefers to read rather than to hear me
read. I thought I would introduce her to The Hobbit this week to let me
read to her again (the senetnces being more reticulated here, harder to
read). But no, the drive is so strong that she wrestled the book from me
and started reading to me.

So here the concepts of literacy and orality integrate in complex ways with
the social context of reading alone versus reading aloud to an audience,
and what actor in these contexts gets to do so. So then, what can we do
with a vastly reducing definition of orality, its context, and function,
even in a modern industrial nation state? --wade tarzia