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Lecture 4

CMNS 110 Fall 2012 - Week 4 Lecture Notes

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CMNS 110
Gary Mc Carron

CMNS 110 Lecture – Week IV Orality & Literacy - Ong & McLuhan examined the forms of communication technology that were dominant in each historical era  this is how they explained historical development o “Medium Theory” o Shift from Orality to Literacy was deemed the most influential by Ong o Memory became less important - Ong’s main interest = the way that oral societies and literate societies differ o Studied the social, cultural, and educational implications from this change o Ex: how PowerPoint has changed education [You can store all of the information outside of your body—in your brain] o Printing creates individualism  Ex: religion – people could now interpret religious documents independently rather than having someone else interpret them for them o Orality is still important in contemporary society*  Testimony in courts must still be given orally  Orality is still important in public & political debate  Graduate studies must complete an oral examination  Marriage ceremonies have an important verbal component - Although orality is still important in contemporary society, it is subordinate to literacy, which dominates our society - Orality leaves you less time to reflect on the quality of what is being said - People can dissect arguments or statements more easily when they are recorded in writing - Do people who live in oral cultures have different outlooks on society compared to those who live in literate cultures? Milman Perry – discovered that the peculiar way in which Homer writes is due to the fact that his writings had previously been memorized and recited - They had outstanding memory - Poetry is much easier to remember than prose - Homer’s writings retained characteristics of orality while it was in a literate form - We have the same memory capacity, yet we are not expected to use it, and we do not use it - Mnemonics: science and techniques for aiding memory o Repetition
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