ABC easy as 123

“Ways of managing knowledge and verbalization in primary oral cultures” (Ong, 1982)

It amazes me of how extraordinary the human brain is functioned to work, especially how man developed language to communicate with one another. Although orality and writing do not fall together synonymously, it was the first step to changing how we transmitted ideas between each other.  The translation of thoughts onto paper have inevitably changed the world of publishing forever.

Oral speech becomes spontaneous from our first words as child, our brains suddenly churn away and absorb each and every single word we hear, forming it into exquisite languages. Then we progress for a few years blabbering on with our motormouths, until kindergarten where we learn the ABC of the alphabet. This is the case for phonetic languages such as English. For my poor unfortunate soul, I was born into a family where 2 languages exist together. Except one does not have an alphabet. I grew up with Chinese as my first language and english as my second, but it has slowly worked its way around. Although I can speak fluently in the language, there is a struggle to actually write to communicate with others due to its logo syllabic nature. On top of this , I was also born into the electronic age…

“Electronic age is also an age of secondary orality in phones, radio , television” (Ong, 1982) 

We have been so immersed into integrating technology into our lives that it has developed many new languages. That be of html coding, leetspeek, text messaging acronyms, all of these have been a communication revolution. However we have also been sensitized to the previous contrast been orality and writing, as technology has taken over in a form of print (Ong,1982). Without being able to know these languages, you will start to struggle with the very means of communication in this era, many older generations are conforming to learn TXT speech and using the internet. There has been cases where lingo has even been bleeding into school paper essays as teacher Mike Kliener describes it as no shock to him, kids these days are just using their thumbs to communicate to each other. 

As we progress further into this new form of publishing electronically will we see further transcending language barriers being developed to make it more effective (Brannon, 2007). 

In the meantime I will leave you with this article that will change the way you think about knowing the alphabet A-Z back to front.


1. Ong, W 1982, ‘Orality and literacy: the technologizing of the world’, Methuen, New York

2. Brannon, B 2007, ‘The Lazer Printer as an Agent of Change’ in Baron. Sabrina et al., (eds.) Agent of Change: Print Culture Studies after Elizabeth L. Eisenstein Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press: p.353-364

3. Harshman, M 2011, ‘OMG! textspeak in schoolwork ;-)’, The Columbian,, accessed 15 March 2013