Twitter a diwylliant llafar

Diwylliant llafar ac ieithoedd

This distinction is probably a bit harder to observe in the English Twitter-verse since English is so thoroughly colonized by writing. Whenever I dive into the Turkish Twitter, I notice tweets employing many forms of Turkish which are solely found in oral Turkish and almost never written down in literate culture. I think this distinction may be more visible in other societies where oral culture was not as decisively beaten back as in the English speaking world — this makes it harder to explain the issue in English.

Y sffêr cyhoeddus

What we are seeing with social media is the public sphere, hitherto dominated by written culture, has been more opened up to oral psychodynamics. And this is particularly difficult to deal with for intellectuals who rely on their competence with, and dominance of, the written form as hallmark of their place in society. (As I will argue, there are reasons to be concerned but it is important to separate these issues). Also, television, too, is secondary literacy in that television acts in a way which assumes and implies writing. (I am not going to go into this at length here but there is a lot of work on this topic, starting with Ong).

Ossym, LOL ayyb…

I think all the horror and outrage at txtspeak and other unconventional spelling is part of this story. I think this is mostly turf wars by the literate classes against the encroaching oral culture. English spelling is quirky, illogical and result of historical accidents. If the Great Vowel Shift had not happened when it did, we might have had a reasonable system worth defending. Yes, I, too, am a product of this system, and I, too, cringe at “c u l8r.” However, I suspect I just need to get over it just as any logical, reasonable learner of English has to get over her horror of the fact that “tough” “thought” “through”, and “thorough” are all spelled so similarly when they sound so different. A lot this angst is about conventions and conventions evolve which always horrifies those who have acquired privilege and power by mastering certain conventions while dismissing others. Cultural capital, in other words.

Mewnwelediadau gan Zeynep Tufekci

Meddwl am ddechrau profi mwy gyda fideo yn Gymraeg ar hyn o bryd…