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Zeman, Sonja (2013): Historische Mündlichkeit. Empirische Erörterung einer theoretischen Problemlage. In: Zeitschrift für germanistische Linguistik, Vol. 41, No. 3: pp. 377-412


While there is common agreement that “orality” has to be considered a crucial factor in analyzing historical data, it is still an open question how this should be done in a theoretically as well as empirically satisfying manner. In this respect, the paper aims at a comparison of different empirical and theoretical approaches to “ancient orality” in order to determine the factors which have so far prevented an alignment of different perspectives: Taking particular “oral” phenomena as a point of reference, the main thesis of the paper claims that the traditional binary distinction “oral” vs. “written” is neither an absolute concept nor does it adequately account for the complex historical (and present-day) conditions. Instead, it is shown by means of a detailed empirical analysis of different “oral” phenomena that (at least) three different dimensions on two different levels of “orality” have to be taken into account. This leads to a three-dimensional model of “orality” which is discussed concerning its implications with regard to a theory of “ancient orality” and present spoken language.