3.1107 silent reading; electronic discourse (184)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Tue, 27 Feb 90 19:29:34 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 1107. Tuesday, 27 Feb 1990.

(1) Date: Mon, 26 Feb 90 21:38:31 EST (14 lines)
From: "Marjorie (Jorie) Woods" <A014@UORVM>
Subject: reading aloud

(2) Date: 26 Feb 90 22:30:19 EST (39 lines)
From: James O'Donnell <JODONNEL@PENNSAS>
Subject: Augustine and silent reading

(3) Date: Mon, 26 Feb 90 23:07:05 EST (33 lines)
From: Brian Whittaker <BRIANW@YORKVM2>
Subject: silent reading

(4) Date: 27 Feb 90 16:31:00 EST (12 lines)
From: "DAVID KELLY" <dkelly@apollo.montclair.edu>

(5) Date: Tue, 27 Feb 90 17:54:40 EST (15 lines)
From: Norman Zacour <ZACOUR@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: Silent reading

(6) Date: 27 February 1990 (32 lines)
From: Willard McCarty <MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: also consider ordinary speaking

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 90 21:38:31 EST
From: "Marjorie (Jorie) Woods" <A014@UORVM>
Subject: reading aloud

St. Augustine comments in his CONFESSIONS about how rare it was that St.
Ambrose was able to read silently. Paul Saenger has an article in
VIATOR about 1983 or so on the development of silent reading during the
Middle Ages; it might have the witch allegation Robinson requested.

Marjorie Woods
Department of English, University of Rochester
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------41----
Date: 26 Feb 90 22:30:19 EST
From: James O'Donnell <JODONNEL@PENNSAS>
Subject: Augustine and silent reading; other Latin fathers in e-text

From: Jim O'Donnell (Penn, Classics)

What goes around comes around and bites you on the behind. I posted the
original query about modern silent reading, which has evolved into
discussion on medieval silent reading, which has evolved into Willard
remembering that there was some discussion of this last August, which
reminds me that last August it was *I* who posted the news that
Augustine gets credit for having detected the invention of silent
reading (watching Ambrose do same), but that the issues are more
complicated than that and Bernard Knox (interesting to compare to
cyberhandle of latest querier) wrote the current standard article in
*Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies* c. 1968, showing that knowing *how*
to read silently existed far earlier in antiquity; and it is generally
agreed (many scholars, see esp. P. Saenger in *Viator* c. 1980) that the
habit of silent reading did not significantly exclude reading aloud
until much, much, much later. (Inter alia, I'm curious to know when
`moving your lips when you read' -- a vestige of reading aloud in a
silent reading culture -- began to be something kids get criticized for
in school, as a sign of inability to perform the supposedly higher task
of reading silently. The most interesting thing I've found since
posting my query a couple of weeks ago is a little book by a Cornell
professor of the turn of the century, Hiram Corson, *The Voice and
Spiritual Education*, making a strong case for teaching `reading aloud'
as an essential part of education. Me, I think he's right. Meanwhile,
thanks to others who have publicly or privately responded to my query.)

Latin fathers (not Aug.) on e-text: situation similar to worse. What
CETEDOC has is one thing, likewise Vienna, likewise (linked with
CETEDOC) the Corpus Christianorum series, and what an interested user
can get his/her hands on for practical use is *quite* another thing.
It's discouraging, but if anybody knows of anything about any late
antique Latin texts, patristic or otherwise, I'd be delighted to know.
My colleague Bob Kraft is the wizard of these things and would be
delighted to talk about helping get things into the widest possible
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------41----
Date: Mon, 26 Feb 90 23:07:05 EST
From: Brian Whittaker <BRIANW@YORKVM2>

St. Augustine, in his Confessions, writes of how he came upon his
mentor, St. Ambrose, reading silently. This spectacle so fascinated
Augustine that he watched for some time as Ambrose went through all
the motions of reading, except that he remained silent. Augustine gives
this information as one of the remarkable facts about Ambrose.

The various monastic Rules, including The Rule of St. Benedict,
call for the reading aloud of instructional material by one monk
while the others eat in silence (a scene to which much prominence is
attached in Umberto Ecco's novel The Name of the Rose and in the
film based on the novel).

Jean LeClerc, in The Love of Learning and the Desire for God,
discusses at length the signicance of reading aloud in the
Benedictine tradition. In the library, monks were to read aloud.
The carrell would serve a double function, cutting down on the din
of others reading and reinforcing the sound of one's own reading.
The purpose of reading aloud in this context is so that the reader
learns the text not just with his mind but also with his body.
The Benedictine is to learn a few texts, but learn them so well
that recall is immediate and accurate.

As a postscript, I would add that I have had my Old English students
chant their declensions and conjugations in class, just as I chanted
my Latin conjugations and declensions in high school and just as the
monks chanted their Psalms. The technique is dramatically successful.

Brian Whittaker
Department of English, Atkinson College, York University
(4) --------------------------------------------------------------23----
Date: 27 Feb 90 16:31:00 EST
From: "DAVID KELLY" <dkelly@apollo.montclair.edu>

The passage referred to by one correspondent is from the Confessions of
St. Augustine. He came upon St. Ambrose, the Bishop of Milan, reading
silently and was amazed. "Sed cum legebat, oculi ducebantur per paginas
et cor intellectulm rimabatur, vox autem et lingua quiescebant....sic
eum legentem vidimus tacite et aliter numquam...(Book 6, 3, 3).
David Kelly, Classics, Montclair State College

(5) --------------------------------------------------------------23----
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 90 17:54:40 EST
From: Norman Zacour <ZACOUR@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: Silent reading

"When he was reading, he would draw his eyes across the pages
and his heart searched for the sense; but his voice and tongue
kept silent. Often...we saw him reading silently, never
otherwise...." Augustine, Confessions, 6.3.3. Referring to
Ambrose, of course.

Norman Zacour
Dept. of History
Univ. of Toronto

(6) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: 27 February 1990
From: Willard McCarty <MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: also consider ordinary speaking

You know me, always trying to think of ways to subvert discussions so as
to bring in the technological, computational perspective. This is
another such attempt, but also an excuse to mention what I take to
be a splendid book on a subject closely related to Humanist's medium.

John J. Gumperz, in _Discourse Strategies_ (Cambridge, 1982), notes that
the sociolinguistic study of ordinary conversational language was not
really possible until the advent of modern technology allowed spoken
discourse to be captured for transcription. For this reason, Gumperz
wrote 8 years or more ago, some very basic questions about this sort of
discourse are yet to be addressed. One of the things that makes for
interesting questions is the cultural and other diversities very common
now, especially in urban centres. To a much greater extent than ever
before, people are obliged to communicate a great deal about themselves
and their situation in order to establish common ground (or apparent
common ground) with others. Now it strikes me that electronic
"conversation" makes for a very fruitful application of
sociolinguistics: you've got the diversity in spades, you've got a
medium that depends crucially on command of language -- all other social
cues are absent -- and you've got it all already transcribed!

Does anyone know if a sociolinguist has tackled electronic discourse?
Any suggestions? Any sociolinguists out there want a very fine research

Yours, Willard McCarty