Redundancy … repeated … again.

Continuing the conversation regarding redundancy or repetition (from 11.21.07), this concept can be seen as a large difference in the digital orality and new media psyche, quite separate from the writing psyche.

“Since redundancy characterizes oral thought and speech, it is in a profound sense more natural to thought and speech than is sparse linearity. …. Eliminating redundancy on a significant scale demands a time-obviating technology, writing, which imposes some kind of strain on the psyche in preventing expression from falling into its more natural patterns” (Orality and Literacy, 40).

Ong’s statement here is true, but the “writing psyche” can be presented orally in digital orality as well. That is, with writing one need not rely heavily on repetition, since the reader can backloop as needed. This is part of the writing psyche. Conversely, with a live oration, one adds the element of repetition to better emphasize certain points the audience should remember. With digital orality, however, even though it is non-textual, the orator can have the aspect of the writing psyche in that he or she can go through the speech without relying heavily on repetition, since the listener can backloop (rewind/replay) as necessary. Repetition for the sake of emphasis and rhetorical persuasion definitely still has its worth in digital orality, but it is not a staple of the digital orality psyche.

“Redundancy is also favored by the physical conditions of oral expression before a large audience.” (40). This statement refers to the conditions of a large hall or space where oral presentations are given. In this setting, not every audience member hears every word, so, repetition assists in ensuring a higher number of individuals receive the content. Again, this is not the case with digital orality, since, beyond backlooping ability, the listener has volume control.

“The public speaker’s need to keep going while he is running through his mind what to say next also encourages redundancy. In oral delivery, though a pause may be effective, hesitation is always disabling.” (40).

Once again, this condition is not wholly present in digital orality, since the speaker can rerecord if need be. That is, one can make notes or, if a thought or content direction is lost, the speech can be rerecorded. Also, there is less of a need (one can do it by choice and for intentional entertainment) for mass presentation when speeches can be delivered on an individual level from a PC or handheld device.

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