© 2004


The Power of the Spoken Word


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Graham Furniss
    Pages 1-11
  3. Graham Furniss
    Pages 12-42
  4. Graham Furniss
    Pages 92-130
  5. Graham Furniss
    Pages 131-163
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 171-188

About this book


Oral communication is quite different in its spontaneity and communicative power from textual and visual communication. Culturally-bounded expectations of ways of speaking and individual creativity provide the spark that can ignite revolution or calm the soul. This book explores, from a cross-cultural perspective, the centrality of orality in the ideological processes that dominate public discourse, providing a counterbalance to the debates that foreground literacy and the power of written communication.


aesthetics communication creativity culture discourse expectation genre ideology individual literacy oral discourse revolution

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.School of Oriental and African StudiesUniversity of LondonUK

About the authors

GRAHAM FURNISS is Professor of African Language Literature at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK. He is the author of Poetry, Prose and Popular Culture in Hausa and Co-Editor of African Broadcast Cultures; Power, Marginality and African Oral Literature; and African Languages, Development and the State.

Bibliographic information


'a thought-provoking view on the centrality of orality from a cross-cultural perspective.' - Luna Beard, Linguist List