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By Graham Furniss

Oral verbal exchange is varied in spontaneity and communicative strength from textual and visible communique.

This e-book explores, from a cross-cultural point of view, the centrality of orality within the ideological strategies that dominate public discourse, supplying a counterbalance to the debates that foreground literacy and the ability of written communication.

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Additional info for Orality: The Power of the Spoken Word

Example text

The very unexpected, spontaneous and thus sometimes explosive nature of the articulation and simultaneous perception of an idea (such as Eminem describes as ‘coming once in a lifetime’) brings into question the nature of the aims and purposes that lie behind speech. Intentionality is an assumed correlate of most utterances, an intention to communicate to another person, or to express feelings, thoughts and emotions that are fighting to get out and to be articulated in a form that goes beyond the silence of meditation and into expressed words.

Reading from a written script on a series of small sheets of paper, he spoke for about twenty minutes. Nothing was ad lib, there was no composition in performance, indeed little in the content of the speech would lead one to think that it could not as well have been simply published first in one of the national newspapers, as it was the following day. Yet there had been growing 30 Orality criticism of Mrs Thatcher over some months and years printed and read in national newspapers, some of it also by other departed members of her Cabinet.

The source of the ‘devastating effect’ is the exposure in public of a naked truth, a truth about the moral basis of a relationship reinforced by the dismissive overtones of ‘nightmare image’, ‘background noise’, ‘casual comment’ and ‘impulsive answer’ – a relationship that previously had been repeatedly tested in the fire of political action. It was not a statement about European policy but a view of betrayal and loyalty, reciprocity and rules that lay at the heart of the devastation. The evidence of the response of those who were present on that afternoon suggests that the effectiveness of the speech derived from the articulation of two parallel themes.

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