Thursday, March 2, 2017

Oracy – a 20th century word for a very old idea

Last week at LinkedIn Pulse I found a very brief article by Kathryn Rikert titled What is oracy and why should every child be taught it? which linked to a September 16, 2016 article at edutopia titled Oracy in the Classroom: Strategies for Effective Talk. That word is popular in educational circles (look it up in the ERIC database).

The online Merriam-Webster Dictionary says that noun came from 1965 and it defines oracy as:

“Proficiency in oral expression and comprehension.”

The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as:

“Competence in oral language; the ability to express oneself fluently and grammatically in speech.”

In 1965 A. Wilkinson wrote of it:

“The term we suggest for general ability in the oral skills is oracy; one who has those skills is orate, one without them inorate.”  

Seeing that word reminded me of what Moliere said in his 1670 play Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme:

“Par ma foi, il y a plus de quarante ans que je dis de la prose, sans que j'en susse rien.

(Good heavens! For more than forty years I have been speaking prose without knowing it).”

A sculpture of Demosthenes came from Wikimedia Commons.

No comments: