New Guinea communities without writing and views of primary orality

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Discursive and cognitive practices of primary oral societies have been described to a significant extent in terms of additive parataxis, context-bound concreteness and formulaic-repetitive style. Such qualifications as a rule did not emerge from empirical study of specific primary oral societies in their historical unicity but seem to result from universalistic projections on these societies of pictures from various academic debates such as the Homeric debate, the debate of written versus oral style in English and the anthropological debate on cognitive dichotomies in terms of literate versus illiterate societies. The only feature that can lay some claim to universality is a specific type of metalanguage in primary oral contexts in which the distinction between wording and intention is not made.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-405
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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