Phonocentrism  

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This page Phonocentrism is part of the linguistics series. Illustration: a close-up of a mouth in the film The Big Swallow (1901)
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This page Phonocentrism is part of the linguistics series.
Illustration: a close-up of a mouth in the film The Big Swallow (1901)

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Phonocentrism is the idea that sounds and speech are inherently superior (or "more natural") to the written language. To adherents of this philosophy, spoken language is inherently richer and more intuitive than written language. Phonocentrism holds that spoken language is the primary, fundamental way of communicating, and writing is merely a "second-rate" attempt to capture speech.

Linguist Leonard Bloomfield expressed this concept by arguing that "writing is not language, but merely a way of recording language". Other philosophers, such as Plato and Rousseau have also expressed skepticism about writing-- feeling that written works are inherently inferior to oral teaching methods.

Rhetorician Walter Ong also exhibited a belief in phonocentrism, saying,"We are so literate in ideology that we think writing comes naturally. We have to remind ourselves from time to time that writing is completely and irremediably artificial". Ong emphasizes that while almost everyone can easily communicate orally, writing well requires a great deal of skill: "the spoken word... lends itself... to virtually everyone, the written word only to the select few".

Philosopher Jacques Derrida criticized Phonocentrism and insisted that the written word has its own value, and is "not a supplement to the spoken word".

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Phonocentrism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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