The Alphabet : Natural Or Unnatural?

1336 WordsApr 22, 20176 Pages
The Alphabet: Natural or Unnatural? Dictionary.com defines literacy as “the quality or state of being literate, especially the ability to read and write.” In other words, people who are literate have the ability to look at and comprehend the meaning of written or printed matter. In “Animism and the Alphabet,” David Abram, an American philosopher and cultural ecologist, discusses several forms of literacy, including oral, print-based, and electronic. He explains the reasons for the cultural shift from oral literacy to print-based literacy that occurred centuries ago and argues that “...modern civilization 's evident disregard for the needs of the natural world” is partially at fault with the alphabet (28). The reason being that the first…show more content…
According to Abram, this was the first reading and writing system. Constantly Shifting After oral literacy, came print-based literacy. During the __ century, “The elite of society were reciters and performers;” no one wanted to use the alphabet (qtd. in Abram 36). They did not see the use for the new technology: reading and writing. However, there is no doubt how important the alphabet, language, and the recording of the two, (whether it be print-based or electronic), is today. Before the alphabet, it was harder to remember spoken words if they didn 't rhyme in some way or another. According to Milman Parry, a Harvard classicist, and his assistant Albert Lord noticed that Homer, an influential author, used many of the same phrases throughout his poems, making him an “eloquent rap artist” (37). Today, I see people my age who are able to remember lyrics to songs that they heard years ago, but have trouble memorizing information from a textbook that they would use on a test in the upcoming week. Mankind has come a long way, from reading the traces left by animals in the soil to reading the scratches and scrawls across a white surface, (or the printed letters on a page). However, printed records are hardly ever hand-written anymore since the impact of electronic (and digital) environments are so prevalent in lives. With the exception of those who still write out their notes for school or send heartfelt cards during the holidays, most people don 't
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