Communicating in Print about Communicating Orally

  • Daniel C. O’Connell
  • Sabine Kowal
Part of the Cognition and Language: A Series in Psycholinguistics book series (CALS)

Well then, is it at all possible to communicate scientifically, i.e., within the science of psychology, about communication that makes use of oral language? We think it is indeed possible, and that is why this book has been written. Although the variability both of language and of the use of spontaneous spoken discourse is socio-culturally colossal, orderliness and even scientific lawfulness can be discovered therein, not perhaps the lawfulness of the natural sciences, but a truly scientific understanding nonetheless. The paradoxical challenge for research on this topic, as we have emphasized throughout this book, is that researchers who are well trained, literate people have to struggle against the biases in both methodology and theory that result precisely from their own – our own – competence with written language. Only then can they do justice to spontaneous spoken discourse. A simple example will serve to pinpoint this problem: When one asks orally – and the reader should...


Oral Language Notation System Sentential Structure Literate People Discourse Proceeds 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel C. O’Connell
    • 1
  • Sabine Kowal
    • 2
  1. 1.Georgetown UniversityUSA
  2. 2.Technische Universität Institut für Sprache und KommunikationGermany

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