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Characteristics of Orality

Albert B. Lord

Oral Tradition Volume 2, Number 1

In his book Orality and Literacy Father Ong listed a number of characteristics which are among “those which set off orally based thought and expression from chirographically and typographically based thought and expression, the characteristics, that is, which are most likely to strike those reared in writing and print cultures as surprising” (1982:36ff.). In this paper I should like to discuss several of these important characteristics in further depth in respect to their applicability to oral traditional literature, especially oral traditional poetry.

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