Speaking and writing—A study of differences

C. H. Woolbert
1922 The Quarterly journal of speech  
OPEAKING and writing are alike-and different. Just how like *-' and how different has never been adequately stated. An attempt may be in order to draw the lines with sharper differentation. Both are branches of the fundamental study of studies, the mother tongue. They are the broadest of liberal disciplines because everybody needs to know them. Other subjects in the study of the mother tongue are less liberal because less necessary to everyday happiness. Literature comes next; yet literature
more » ... ; yet literature easily becomes exotic, ego-centric, esoteric. It tends continually away from simple needs, leading its votaries even so far from liberality of culture as to become Pharisaical, canting, and bigoted. Allied with literature is criticism, which as an aspect of the study of mother tongue is' quite out of the world of every-day things, preferring the coterie and the "chosen few." Finally, as philology, the most remote stage, this great subject looses touch with common affairs and is no longer liberal at all; it is as much a matter for the specialists as is possible to be found. At the opposite end stand speaking and writing. The most liberal of all liberal subjects, they are the hand-maidens of all education and even of socialized life itself. In text books speaking and writing are commonly treated as though they were about the same thing; not quite, but almost. Especially where they obviously overlap, in the matter of thought content and rhetorical structure, are they left undifferentiated. Little has ever been written of their differences; much has been implied of their likenesss; more than the facts warrant. The reason for this is rather apparent,-text books are written, not spoken. They are compiled by writers, reflecting the attitudes of writers, most of whom have had no special training in speaking and who are unfamiliar with the speaker's problems. Many of these writing
doi:10.1080/00335632209379390 fatcat:wb4vfixzufddjmy3nm5pnce2sa