Blog Post 3: Orality & Literacy

After reading the first two chapters of Walter Ong, Orality and Literacy, I made a few connections to my personal life. Ong thought of writing as “A kind of complement to oral speech, not as a transformer of verbalization”, which I agree with because its an addition to orality and another form in which people express themselves. He also states human beings communicate in countless ways, making use of all their senses, touch, taste, smell, and especially sight, as well as hearing. I have a friend who uses hearing aids and sometimes I have to point to, or draw out objects in order for her to understand. Ong also states non-oral communication such as your thoughts or gestures is used. I am not sure if it relates, but sometimes when my niece and I are together, we don’t have to talk to one another if something happens. We automatically look at each other and laugh and know what we are thinking.

Also, Ong states “language is so overwhelmingly oral that of all the many thousands of languages—possibly tens of thousands—spoken in the course of human history only around 106 have ever been committed to writing to a degree sufficient to have produced literature, and most have never been written at all. Of the some 3000 languages spoken that exist today only some 78 have a literature” I think the cultures who never transformed their orality to written language wants to preserve the uniqueness of their language. Once you start writing, it can be viewed different ways and also Ong states it is a loss of memory. Once you start writing, you start forgetting. I remember when most people remembered the phone numbers to everyone they spoke to and now, if you ask someone to repeat at least 5 people, they are unable to do so because of advanced technology of writing down the numbers in a phone.

“We have to die to continue living.” Todays society has become different from before. People communicate in a lot of different ways since technology has advanced. When someone refer to a text, no one thinks about a book, most likely its a text in which you communicate through phones. Communicating also became shorter in texts and people don’t read as much anymore. Old ways has died for the new generation to keep advancing.

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1 Response to Blog Post 3: Orality & Literacy

  1. Interesting post. The second paragraph is very observant, and I’m impressed to see you handling the reading so well. You end with that great quote about dying to live and say we have to advance, but doesn’t it make you think that maybe we are not? In a lot of ways, doesn’t Mumford keep saying that we are not advancing, that we may be moving forward but not so much as moving “ahead”?

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