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5 - Orality and literacy in sociolinguistics

from Part I - Foundations of sociolinguistics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Rajend Mesthrie
Affiliation:
University of Cape Town
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Summary

The oral-written contrast has roots in both cultural psychology and anthropology. The contrast between oral and written language has proved to be especially productive in educational linguistics, particularly for understanding the enormous task that speakers face as they become fully literate in their first language. Written texts differ from oral discourse in numerous dimensions that reflect both the real-world contexts of language production and comprehension and the conventions that have become associated with particular written and spoken genres over time. Communicative goals of speakers and writers in relation to their audience are broadly similar across genres and modalities: the task of securing the interactant's commitment, interest, and uptake is an overriding concern in the production of even prototypically written register texts like academic articles. The influence of written language on oral communication comes through children's exposure to new words and grammatical structures in written text.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011

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