Oral culture
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Oral Culture. Team Presentation 1: Laura Ahumada, Nick Cerretti, Brian Hall, Kara McDermott, Yasmine Sareini. History of Orality. 40,000 yrs ago: records show the beginnings of oral traditions 6,000 yrs ago: Chirographic culture begins

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Oral Culture

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Oral culture

Oral Culture

Team Presentation 1:

Laura Ahumada, Nick Cerretti, Brian Hall, Kara McDermott, Yasmine Sareini


History of orality

History of Orality

  • 40,000 yrs ago: records show the beginnings of oral traditions

  • 6,000 yrs ago: Chirographic culture begins

  • Ancient Greece: first significant move from a primarily oral


Ancient greece

Ancient Greece

  • First significant move from a primarily oral culture

  • Greek vowels appeared in the 4th cent. BC

  • Allowed for a closer representation of the sounds of spoken language


Western world

Western World

  • In the last 1000 years or so, oral culture has been mostly replaced by a literate culture

  • The invention of the printing press marks the end of oral culture

  • Orality still exists in some forms within the literate culture


Roles in an oral culture

Roles in an Oral Culture

  • “Poet”- very important member of society

    • Responsible for knowing all the vocabulary, history, and traditions of a society and passing them down to the next generation


Secondary orality

Secondary Orality

  • Orality still important in gathering history (e.g. experiences in wars)

  • Sustained by telephone, radio, TV, internet

    • These forms create the same collaboration found in oral culture

  • Characteristics:

    • Deplotted fictions

    • “Hollowed-out” characters

    • Post-Modernism


Characteristics of orality

Characteristics of Orality

  • Additive vs. subordinate

  • Aggressive vs. Analytic

  • Redundant

  • Conservative

  • Thought is concrete

  • Agonistically intoned

  • Sympathetic vs. distanced

  • Homeostatic

  • Situational vs. abstract


Aspects of an oral culture

Aspects of an Oral Culture

  • Superstitions

  • Music

  • Dance


Development in an oral culture

Development in an Oral Culture

  • Evolution of human speech capabilities


How orality is seen in our texts

How Orality is seen in our texts

  • Emphasis on stress and alliterative long line used as a mnemonic device

  • Reinforcement of values

    • E.g. Loyalty and bravery in the Battle of Maldon

  • Makes Christian themes accessible

  • Entertainment

    • As seen in the riddles, which could be passed from person to person as a game


Advantages of an oral culture

Advantages of an Oral Culture

  • Flexibility

  • Personal

  • Emphasis on memory

  • Focus on community


Works cited

Works Cited

  • Biakolo, Emevwo. “On the Theoretical Foundations of Orality and Literacy.” Research in African Literatures. Austin: Summer 1999. vol. 30, Iss. 2; pg. 42. Accessed from Proquest on 3 October 2006.

  • Dolan, Molly. “Orality in Relation to Computer-Mediated Communication.” The Implications of Technology on the Perception of Community. http://www.owlnet.rice.edu/~univ302/StudentWork/S96/Dolan/orality.html

  • Wolman, David Chewing Over the Evolution of Speech, Science and Spirit Magazine 2002.

  • Fitch, W. T. (2000) The evolution of speech: a comparative review. Trends in cognitive sciences, 4(7):258--267.

  • The Evolution of Speech, in: Brown, K (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics 2nd edition, Elsevier.


Works cited1

Works Cited

  • Comparative Vocal Production and the Evolution of Speech:Reinterpreting the Descent of the Larynx, W. Tecumseh Fitch (in press in: The Transition to Language (A. Wray, Ed.) Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • “Descent of the larynx in chimpanzee infants” by Takeshi Nishimura, Akichika Mikami, Juri Suzuki, and Tetsuro Matsuzawa, Published online 05 29 03, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA , 10.1073/pnas.1231107100

  • http://www.ucalgary.ca/~bakardji/Orality/orality_characteristics.html

  • http://www.engl.nin.edu/wac/ong_rvw.html


Works cited2

Works Cited

  • Bingham, Art. “Review of Walter J. Ong's Orality and Literacy.”

  • <http://www.engl.niu.edu/wac/ong_rvw.html>

  • The Computer Culture. < http://www.units.muohio.edu/englishtech/eng49501/

  • moscakj/essay.htm>.

  • Charlton, Thomas L, Lois E. Myers, and Rebecca Sharpless. Handbook of Oral History.

  • Altamira: New York, 2006.

  • December, John. “Characteristics of Oral Culture in Discourse on the Net.” 1993.

  • http://www.december.com/john/papers/pscrc93.txt


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