Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Oral Tradition: Writing Evolves from Speech

It's no accident that written alphabets are adapted to serve the needs of spoken speech.  As humans, our language first evolved as an oral tradition.  It's only been recently (in the past five to six thousand years or so - yes, recently) that language has come to be shared through visual media.
Research Diagnostic
Before beginning today's lesson, we're going to go through a Pre-Course Diagnostic on your knowledge of library resources.  This is to see where you are as a class in terms of gathering research materials so I can better direct our lessons.

Talking: The Rapid Exchange of Free-Flowing Ideas
In Williams's "Don't Be Quiet" from Grassroots, we see how verbal discussion allows us to rapidly consider, share, and evaluate ideas.  Let's take a look at this clip from Monty Python and the Holy Grail to see how conversation rapidly evolves to fit the circumstances:
Take particular note of the Arthur's formal speech, the way the Frenchman changes diction depending on which characters he addresses, and the way the Englishmen shift tone after the cow flies over the ramparts.
Ideally, our written words should have the same verve and flexibility of spoken speech, but with the added advantage of narrative control.  To do this, we must consider our writing in light of our motives and audience.

Pair-Groups Activity: Review Your Three Letters
In pairs, log-in to Blackboard and bring up the three letters you wrote for Thursday.  I'd like each of you to select one of the three letters, and then take turns reading your letters aloud.  With each letter, consider the overall effect.  What is the goal of the letter?  Who is the intended audience?  Do you think the letter would achieve its aims?  How do you think the audience will respond?  What is the likely trajectory of this letter?

Based on this discussion with your partner, go ahead an revise the letter you've chosen.  Work opening with your partner, and then switch.  Add this letter to the comments section of Thursday's assignment as a "fourth" letter.


  1. I am happy to read here about that oral tradition and i am looking for more information about it because i have to share it with rushessay writers to add it in my essay to make it more beneficent.

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