Text, coding on a black screen computer

Conversations: Orality Versus Literacy


A revisitation of week 1 and 2 in our class discussions. Classifying and categorizing technology and anolog. This first chapter of the book, “Old media, new media, and knowledge” Backs up what we learned during those weeks. Through our conversations, we classified and categorized different items as either anolog or technology. It also debunks the idea that technology has only been around for at least forty plus years. It says, “ In today’s culture we are told by people who are trying to sell us new technologies. That the information age is the most popular in human kind. But communication technology was not invented in the 1980’s. We need to recognize that writing too is a technology. Even though it might be hard to imagine this today. Even though pencils and paper seem like primitive artifacts.” 

Different forms Of Converstions

However, long before the ones Walter Ong describes in the chapter such as Orality and Literacy,  there were other forms of communication. Cave paintings, and drawings, signs, gestures, smoke signals, symbols, dancing. He uses Orality to characterize speech, and Literacy for written language. Before the introduction of writing, communication was all oral for about 2500 years. Since we’re so acustom to it and better at it, oral communication remains the most popular form of language beingn used to this day. It allows us to learn and master tasks much faster because we learn best by imitating and emulating what others do. Let’s take children for example. By the age of two, most children are capable of performing many taks by themselves without the knowledge of reading and writing. It’s all because they mimic and imitate their environment. Monkey see, monkey do” 

Nonetheless, there are certain advantages for conversations with literacy that either require more time or just simply be impossible to achieve with orality. Hence, in oral cultures we have to constantly repeat what we learn, or face the risk of losing it. But literacy allows us to work on our ideas bit by bit because we can keep going back to it to revise, edit, and add information if necessary. 


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