Literacy and Orality

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David R. Olson, Nancy Torrance
Cambridge University Press, Jul 26, 1991 - Education - 288 pages
In this study of the social and psychological implications of literacy, sixteen distinguished scholars provide a sustained and detailed examination of the relations between orality and literacy, the traditions based on them, the functions served by them, and the psychological and linguistic processes recruited and enhanced by them. By shedding the romantic view that literacy is the road to rationality and modernity, the volume provides a more functional view of literacy. The articles place new emphasis on the relationship between speaking and writing and highlight the different ways in which people exploit the particular resources of speech and writing for special purposes, such as building communities, creating records, and specializing genres, such as prose fiction, enhancing private study and meditation, and enhancing the specialization and organization of knowledge.
 

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Contents

The oralliterate equation a formula for the modern mind
2
A plea for research on lay literacy
28
Oral metalanguage
47
Rational thought in oral culture and literate decontextualization
66
Cree literacy in the syllabic script
90
Literacy an instrument of oppression
105
Lie it as it plays Chaucer becomes an author
111
The invention of self autobiography and its forms
129
Thinking through literacies
165
Literacy its characterization and implications
177
The separation of words and the physiology of reading
198
Linguists literacy and the intensionality of Marshall McLuhans Western man
215
A neurological point of view on social alexia
236
Literacy as metalinguistic activity
251
Author index
271
Subject index
276

Literacy and objectivity the rise of modern science
149

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Page 1 - What matters is what people do with literacy, not what literacy does to people. Literacy does not cause a new mode of thought, but having a written record may permit people to do something they could not do before - such as look back, study, re-interpret, and so on. Similarly, literacy does not cause social change, modernization, or industrialization. But being able to read and write may be vital to playing certain roles in an industrial society and completely irrelevant to other roles in a traditional...

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