Littera Deusto

Modern Languages, Basque Studies and Humanities

Group E – Orality, Literacy and Hypertext

diciembre 13th, 2006 · No hay Comentarios

Since Ancient Times, relationships among human beings have evolved at the same time their ways of communication were undergoing into deep changes.

First, information was transmitted orally by the tribes as a matter of culture and supervivence. When the peoples were able to write their knowledge down, a new Era started. Nowadays, we live in the Age of Technology and the traditional text has developed to the hypertext.

These three methods present some differences:

  • Orality is not permanent -it exists only in the moment of its being said. The written word is unchanging and everlasting, and so the hypertext.
  • They use different tools: orality needs the spoken word, the printed word requieres a sheet of paper and ink and the hypertext digital technology.
  • Linking: thanks to the hypertext, you can “travel” through different sources of information. Orality and literacy don’t give us that useful advantage.
  • Grabbing information: with the orality some information is missed and the hypertext is not made for a deep reading. For this, the traditional printed writing source is the most effective.
  • Interactivity: literacy means objetivity and distance between the trasmitter and the receiver, while orality and the hypertext involve the contribution and the dynamism of the users.

In this area, one of the most important researchers is W. J. Ong with his work Orality and Literacy. It is worth mentioning an interesting article about David Kolb’s Socrates in the Labyrinth, said to be “the most exciting piece of non-fiction hypertext”. It is also interesting the contribution of Professor Doug Brent from the Faculty of General Studies of University of Calgary (Canada). The Italian writer Umberto Eco has also something relevant to say about this. Here in Spain, Susana Pajares tackles this topic on her doctoral thesis.


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