Writing and Society: An Introduction
How does writing relate to speech? What impact does it have on social organisation and development? How do unwritten languages differ from those that have a written form and tradition? This book is a general account of the place of writing in society. Drawing on contemporary and historical examples, from clay tablets to touchscreen displays, the book explores the functions of writing and written language, analysing its consequences for language, society, economy and politics. It examines the social causes of illiteracy, demonstrating that institutions of central importance to modern society are built upon writing and written texts, and are characterised by specific forms of communication. It explores the social dimensions of spelling and writing reform, as well as of digital literacy, a new mode of expression and communication posing novel challenges to the student of language in society.
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The tyranny of writing and the dominance of vernacular
The past in the present and the seeds of the public sphere
Written and unwritten language
Literacy and inequality
The society of letters
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alphabet Arabic Bernstein Bloomﬁeld century Chapter Chinese Codex Hammurabi countries cultural deﬁned deﬁnition dialect difﬁcult diglossia economic elaborated code English ethnic example ﬁ‘om ﬁeld ﬁrst ﬁxed ﬂow French Functional illiteracy functions gender German Greek guage ideological illiteracy important inﬂuence inscriptions institutions Internet Latin Latin alphabet letters linguistic landscape literacy education literacy skills literate mass means minority languages modern multilingual national language norms Occitan ofﬁcial oral orthography patois political public sphere question Qur’an read and write reﬂect restricted code Rosetta Stone rules Saussure script sense signiﬁcance Sinhala social class society sociolinguistic speakers speciﬁc speech and writing speech communities spelling reforms spoken and written standard status stela Swiss German symbolic tion translation UNESCO universal unwritten varieties vernacular WikiLeaks word writing reform writing system written form written language