Home > Uncategorized > Blog #2 – Generative Work of Rhetoric and Language

Blog #2 – Generative Work of Rhetoric and Language

I thought Walter J. Ong, S.J.’s “Writing is a Technology That Restructures Thought” was an extremely interesting article. Through this article I came to see how intertwined language and rhetoric are. Without language, rhetoric would not exist. Rhetoric relies on language to create meaning of our thoughts and ideas. In our society we also rely not only on language to convey message, but also writing. I did not realize how much writing impacts our society as a technology. As Ong’s points out “we have interiorized the technology of writing so deeply that without tremendous effort we cannot separate it from ourselves or even recognize its presence and influence” (24).  I think we forget that writing is a technology because we are focused on the newer technologies like computers and the Internet. Writing just like printing and computers “are all ways of technologizing the world” (28).

Slack, Miller and Doak’s article dealt more with the communicating of the message. They touch upon how messages are sent, received, and conveyed. Often messages can be interpreted and reinterpreted by the various individuals involved in the transmission of the message. They provided three different models of communication: “the transmission view of communication,” “the translation view of communication,” and “the articulation view of communication.” These three models help to provide an understanding the communication process.

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  1. khamil13
    September 13, 2011 at 4:22 AM

    I had the same reactions to the articles as you did. I thought they were very interesting, especially Ong’s, and they helped me to realize the intense impact writing as a technology has had upon our daily, human activities. The concept of writing as a technology was a weird idea for me to grasp for the exact reasons that Ong indicated. It seems almost second nature to write something, and I cannot imagine it as something new, foreign or inhuman as other, modern technologies are today. I also thought Ong provided a really interesting example of how we have adapted writing as completely humanly natural. Ong describes how someone from a high-literacy/technology culture cannot imagine a word without picturing that word spelled out in his/her mind. This contrasts sharply with someone from a predominantly oral culture who would never do this and would instead associate that word with other ideas/concepts or listen to the way it sounds, for example. I think that this idea demonstrates how writing is a technology that we have truly adapted as our own in our culture. However, I also agree that writing enhances human life and thought in a very monumental way. As Ong also stated, writing was perhaps one, if not the most, influential and powerful technology as it, in turn, influenced other technologies, such as print and computers. I think it’s important to remember how much we take writing for granted and to take a step back and truly appreciate it as an art and technology that is so vital and valuable for our lives.

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