ERIC Number: ED263554
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Mar-23
Reference Count: 0
The Basic Writer as Reluctant Oralist.
By identifying speculations concerning cognitive abilities and cognition's relation to culture, this paper outlines some of the work surrounding basic writers and speaking-writing relationships. Beginning with a discussion of the differences between speaking and writing popularized by Mina Shaughnessy, the paper goes on to examine studies that attempt to determine the extent to which speaking interferes with effective writing. The paper explores two hypotheses: (1) the cognitive disadvantage theory, which concludes that since basic writers have difficulty with the kinds of analyses, syntheses, abstractions, and "decentering" needed for college work, they must be at a lesser developmental stage than their more able peers; and (2) the oral cultural hypothesis advocated by Thomas Farrell, which indicates that American blacks are unable to reach the highest levels in Piaget's cognitive scheme because their language relies on narrative and coordinate, rather than logical and subordinate, syntactic structures. The paper recommends comparing the processes of the skilled and less skilled writers, rather than comparing dialects, races, or ethnic minorities with the supposed majority. It concludes that though we do students a disservice by advising that they write like they talk, we also do a disservice by insisting on radical difference. (EL)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (36th, Minneapolis, MN, March 21-23, 1985).