Publication details [#682]

Akinnaso, F. Niyi. 1982. The literate writes and the nonliterate chants: Written language and ritual communication in sociolinguistic perspective. In Frawley, William, ed. Linguistics and literacy. Plenum Press. pp. 7–36.
Publication type
Article in book
Publication language
Language as a subject


A. notes that the often noted differences between oral and literate are not characteristic per se for this distinction: in nonliterate societies situational communication is different from everyday talk in much the same way. On the basis of Yoruba rituals, it is shown that the difference between the two modes is more a matter of degree than of kind, and it is argued that as to the socio-historical functions, oral ritual communications and written language are more similar than they are different.