I had a really interesting thought the other day: Is oral language dominant/superior in some way to written language?

I bring this up because every time I need to correct or edit my written words (I see this with other people, too), I say the words out loud. This has become exceedingly apparent ever since I became an English teacher abroad. I always have teachers coming to me and asking, "Does this sound right? Is this correct?"

If it sounds funny when I say the words out loud, I change it. If it sounds right, I keep it. It's as if saying the words confirms/rejects the accuracy or correctness.

Do you think this is because we learn how to speak before we learn how to read? ...Or that we trust what we hear more than what we read? Is it a social thing? Do we like hearing voices more than reading words?

Is there a sub-category in psycholinguistics (or maybe sociolinguistics) for this phenomenon? I've been trying to pinpoint it but I can't seem to find anything on the interwebs.

  • When you say ‘my written words’, do you mean phrases/sentences? Or are you talking about spelling single words? Feb 26, 2016 at 8:50
  • Are you asking whether phonotactics are more natural than graphotactics?
    – Crissov
    Feb 26, 2016 at 14:13
  • Welcome to Linguistics.SE. You're asking several questions at once, and it would require writing a little book :-) to cover all aspects. However, we have quite a few questions about spoken vs. written language, I would suggest reviewing them, especially this one — it has several great answers. This would probably help reducing your questions into smaller ones. Feb 27, 2016 at 2:54


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