Lecture 2 - Innis' Bias and Language This note goes over Innis' bias of media - space vs. time based medias - as well as language. It also explains (or 'unpacks') the readings of the week.

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Published on 16 Oct 2011
School
University of Waterloo
Department
Computer Science
Course
CS100
September 29, 2010
“The concepts of time and space reflect the significance of media to civilization. Media that
emphasise time are those that are durable in character, such as parchment, clay and stone... media
that emphasise space are apt to be less durable and light in character, such as papyrus and paper.”
Innis’ Bias of Media
Time (clay, stone)
Space (paper, new media)
Heavy
Light
Records
Transmits
maintenance
Expansion
Language
- First system for representing info
- Defining characteristics of being human
- All cultures/societies/groups share similarly complex languages and phonological systems
- Language is innate
Reading Innis
Ancient Egyptian civilization changed from a monarchy to a more democratic social order
when it moved from using stone tablets as a dominant form of medium to papyrus as a
dominant medium
This is a shift from a time based medium to a space based one
What is Language?
First system for representing information
o “Communications is an exchange of information and messages”
Defining characteristics of being human
All cultures/societies/groups share similarly complex language and phonological structure
Advent of Writing
Oral communication is our first form of human communication
At some point in history we needed to represent language in fixed form
Writing begins with the need to find ways of representing information that doesn’t require
the immediate presence of everyone
Extrasomatic memory
Human communication involves signs and codes
Signs: refer to something other than themselves, they can also be called “signifying
constructs” (traffic signs/words)
Codes: systems into which signs are organized and determine how signs relate to each other
(red/paragraph)
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Document Summary

The concepts of time and space reflect the significance of media to civilization. Media that emphasise time are those that are durable in character, such as parchment, clay and stone media that emphasise space are apt to be less durable and light in character, such as papyrus and paper. All cultures/societies/groups share similarly complex languages and phonological systems. Ancient egyptian civilization changed from a monarchy to a more democratic social order when it moved from using stone tablets as a dominant form of medium to papyrus as a dominant medium. This is a shift from a time based medium to a space based one. Communications is an exchange of information and messages . All cultures/societies/groups share similarly complex language and phonological structure. Oral communication is our first form of human communication. At some point in history we needed to represent language in fixed form.