Wednesday, 22 October 2008


The association of literacy with writing/reading, the printed word in general, is interesting in the context of the forms of language emerging from digital environments and new technologies which look like they hover somewhere between speech and writing.

Here's Susan Herring:
Various attempts have been made by linguists to classify CMD [computer-mediated discourse], starting in the 1980s and early 1990s. Accustomed to dealing with two basic modalities of language – speech and writing – these linguists first asked: Is it a type of writing, because it is produced by typing on a keyboard and read as text on a computer screen? Is it “written speech” (Maynor 1994), because it exhibits features of orality, including rapid message exchange, informality, and representations of prosody? Or is it a third type, intermediate between speech and writing, or in any event characterized by unique production and reception constraints (Ferrara, Brunner & Whittemore 1991; Murray 1990)?
Herring, S. (2007). A faceted classification scheme for computer-mediated discourse. Language@Internet, 4.

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