Ong’s most widely known work, Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word (1982), a volume in the New Accents Series, is translated into eleven other languages. In it he attempts to identify the distinguishing characteristics of orality: thought and its verbal expression in societies where the technologies of literacy (especially writing and print) are unfamiliar to most of the population. He then reviews the transition from an oral culture to awriting culture, that is to the use of the technologies of written words for communication.Ong drew heavily on the work of Eric A. Havelock who suggested a fundamental shift in the form of thought coinciding with the transition from orality to literacy in Ancient Greece. Ong describes writing as a technology that must be laboriously learned, and which effects the first transformation of human thought from the world of sound to the world of sight. This transition has implications for structuralism, deconstruction , speech-act and reader-response theory, the teaching of reading and writing skills to males and females, social studies,biblical studies, philosophy, and cultural history generally.
orality and literacy30 01 2008