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Re: orthography and pronunciation

From:John Cowan <cowan@...>
Date:Thursday, April 12, 2001, 3:54
Patrick Dunn scripsit:

> > We don't really know how long CDs will last. But it hardly matters: the point > > is that whatever is in active use will get copied and transcribed over and over. > > Whoah. What you describe *there* is an oral,k not a written, culture. > Are we now an oral culture? *staggers* SAeriously.
We are and always have been an oral culture. Books help maintain it, of course. But why are you surprised by the notion of copying and transcription? That's just what happens in all manuscript traditions: no material lasts forever. We have many literary works (the Bible, all the Greek and Roman and Sanskrit classics) which are much older than the earliest surviving manuscripts. Textual criticism is not a thing of the past either. The published versions of Joyce's _Ulysses_ now available still have hundreds of errors, though far better than the original printings (favorite error: plot aborts on page 4 when Buck Mulligan goes "over the side" of the martello tower instead of "over to the side"!). As for the textual criticism of _Finnegans Wake_, it is in its infancy. It's just that now the transcription and copying can be done on a vast scale and millions of times faster and cheaper than before. -- John Cowan One art/there is/no less/no more/All things/to do/with sparks/galore --Douglas Hofstadter