Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The battle of Lankshear and Ong!

In formulating my response to Mona’s collaboration and response to both Lankshear and Ong, I find myself somewhere in the middle. Neither do I believe that writing and the literacy it may provide should only be equated to the functionality of the individual nor do I believe that oral traditions provide a more accurate account of the conversation (ideas, discussion, thought processes, etc.). Instead I believe that a hybrid of both concepts would benefit society most fully. Alone the two processes both fail to encourage a higher thinking of the members of society.

As discussed in class, I think the oral tradition and the methodology of learning to read and write coincide within one another. As a child true spoken word may be learned quicker and easier but that is not to say that those same parents don’t immediately begin letter and number and color recognition with the utterance of their child’s first complete word. Singing the “abc’s” seems to be a crucial lesson in a young child’s life, but if the oral tradition can compensate for what the tradition of writing may provide then what is the point of knowing, learning, and studying the “abc’s”? They are learned to allow children to begin to understand how words and letters work together to make comprehensive statements. Nevertheless, I do understand, that in true oral tradition practices, alphabets may have not been learned, studied, or even create, because they had no use correct? Instead the methods used were the art of pictograms, illustrating actions, histories, stories, etc. This form of recording may be considered the first step in the evolution of the written word.

Technologies evolve. That’s all there is to it. They cannot be stopped or delayed. Literacy, and its definition, has continuously been altered, changed, evolved with the times. What was once completely oral based, was translated into art (dance, play, drawings), the development of drawings brought about experimentation with the creation of characters to represent a sound, a thing, or a place. The evolution continued as writing was perfected, and now look at us; we use keyboards as pens, screens as paper, and backspace as an eraser. The evolution of the oral tradition will continue to evolve, to say writing is superior to its mother oral tradition is completely inaccurate. Instead one should see them working together, the mother teaching the child its traditions, passing with them the need for accuracy in spreading what is recorded/ remembered.

The oral tradition I see as the basis for formulating higher thoughts, higher ideas, and promotes the idea of literacy to umbrella more than merely functional reading and writing. Without spoken word, one is unable to reach the highest level of cognitive awareness strived for by all intellectuals alike. With the oral word and the evolutions to the tradition, higher thinking is allowed and encouraged. And that’s what’s important. Not which is better or more accurate, but that the two combined push learners to be more, to explore language in all its aspects and to experiment with the literacies offered to them and those not yet discovered.

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