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By jamaalma Nov 04, 2013 508 Words
Which is more valuable to civilization – written or spoken communication?

Oral traditions are viewed as “the means by which knowledge is reproduced, preserved and conveyed from generation to generation…” – Renee Hulan, Renate Eigenbrod. It is clear that greater value has to be placed on our verbal communication skills because of how integral it is in our everyday lives as a civilization. Imagine a world without the ability to speak or communicate with each other in an oral fashion. For one that would be a very dull society and communication would be extremely limited. Think about how much time it would take for a written piece of information to get to perhaps another town. Whereas with speech, this same information could be easily and more quickly transferred by passing on to one another what we would have heard from the other person. It is said that oral societies have very interesting and innovative means of documenting historical (cultural) information such as singing, dancing and drumming; means of documentation without the use of written word. Spoken communication is observed in many contexts such as polite society (formal meetings) to merely chatting with a friend and its value is placed on this way of communicating mainly because of its fluidity and ease of utility. At any rate spoken communication is more valuable because it is easier to carry out. From birth we see that how we were taught majority of what we know today was through our parents speaking to us while they demonstrated certain things to us. This is to say that because this way of communication was the first way to be introduced to us it becomes a part of our natural being even more so than that of communication through writing.

This ease of communicative practice segues into its use in certain contexts we find ourselves in on a daily basis. Take the work place: business meetings. The boss may want to meet with the staff for a quick meeting. If there were a lack of speech in this meeting and each member of staff were to read an essay and pass it to the next person, then that meeting would turn into a long and boring meeting. In the same way chatting with friends wouldn’t be as carefree and would be a strenuous task having to pass around sheets of paper at a time to get the messages to each person within that circle. Despite the fact that many oral societies have adopted the use of writing as a documentation device, or a general communicative tool, many still rely on the transmission of knowledge through the spoken word and value it as an intrinsic part of their culture, as their cultural background has been preserved and passed down through generations over the years To reiterate, spoken communication is more valuable to civilization as it plays a major, even vital role in our daily lives. It is far more easily practiced in our society today while being a key factor to the settings we find ourselves in.

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