What is Orality?

Orality – get used to the word, I’m going to say it often. 

“the quality of being oral or orally communicated”

– the dictionary

That’s it. 

It’s a word that has baggage that I’m going to throw away, and I’d like you to as well. 

There seems to be some religious baggage. Looking over Twitter’s #Orality,  from what I can tell, some use it when referring to the art form of a sermon and preaching, and some use it when discussing bringing the bible to the illiterate.  While there could be overlap with religion – I will not mean anything religious when I use the word.

There is also some academic baggage. A few of the “big wigs” (Harold Innis, Eric Havelock, Marshall McLuhan, and Walter Ong) have determined Orality and Literacy are in opposition. These worlds were exclusive. You lost your orality the moment you became literate. This also, is not what I mean. You can be both.

What’s nice – is in later years there have been more arguments supporting my current use and belief of Orality.

“orality is not what is spoken, but what allows one to speak.”

Donald Wesling and Tadeusz Slawek, Literary Voice: The Calling of Jonah, 159

The same could be said that literacy is not what is written, but what allows one to read.

It’s a skill. Perhaps, once learned, it becomes more than that.

And there’s the big HINT HINT, WINK WINK.

This is post #1.

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