Oral Translation to the Digital Frontier Essay

1685 Words 7 Pages
We cannot escape human contact by hiding behind separate screens and keyboards, communicating via messages, emails, and status updates, as anchored in social media usage. Despite the fact that we’re hidden, true verbal communication and oral culture is not totally lost. As Walter Ong put it in the introduction of his book Orality and Literacy, “Our understanding of the differences between orality and literacy developed only in the electronic age, not earlier.” Social networks and the activity that occurs on them is an extension of orality, though many could argue that status updates and tweets are literary due to their written form. However, the digital age is an age of ‘secondary orality’, a resurgence of orality if you will. The orality …show more content…
Bynes replied, “@rihanna no one wants to be your lover so you call everyone and their mother that I almost named my new dog Rihanna”. Although published “tweets” are written and Twitter seems to be comparable to written culture, Twitter is more comparable to oral culture. Tweeting is equatable to real-time communication such as speaking, with similar, minimal verbal filters. Twitter is a medium that supplies ample time for users to be decisive in regards to a reply to a tweet, though “tweeters” [Twitter users], in particular, are more akin to responding within seconds. Since the inception of the Internet, mobile phones, and, thus, instant gratification, the interim between reading and responding has greatly decreased. In written language, there is no adjustment to language as a reaction to another’s reply; but, there is a large interim between reading and responding [take written, letter correspondence for example]. However, oral expression is an instantaneous product of give and take—a speaker can defend himself of herself from verbal attacks, just as Rihanna did with her response and subtweet to Bynes. The instant-reply methodology native to Twitter is comparable to oral culture more so than social medias’ claim to similarities to written culture. In his book, Ong also suggests that orality is aggregative rather than

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