oa Alternation - A brief overview of Zulu oral traditions

Volume 1, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



With reference to the discussion by Jaco Alant on orality, I would like to emphasise certain points raised which correlate with my overview of 'Zulu Oral Traditions'. Firstly, 'the study of orality deals specifically, not so much with speaking in its everyday sense ... but, in fact, with particular culturally defined forms of speaking. As such, orality studies are about oral genres'. Secondly, 'the crucial factor in distinguishing between orality and literacy should lie in certain characteristics of the language used. An oral conception of language may well, at times, manifest itself as writing, just as a highly literate conception of language may be put across orally'. Ong makes the important point that 'oral cultures concern themselves with doings, with happenings, not with being as such: they narrativize their own existence and their environment'. (1988:8).

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