The arrival of computer-mediated communication has called into question existing classifications such as the distinction between mass- and individual media, dialogic and monologic communication or the concepts of orality and literacy. This paper will focus on the question if and to what extent the orality/literacy-model proposed by Koch/Oesterreicher (1985, 1990, 1995) can be applied to new forms of computer-mediated communication. After some terminological clarifications it will deal with the medial (spoken vs. written) as well as with the conceptual (oral vs. literal) aspects of the model of Koch/Oesterreicher and will propose some adaptations to the latter allowing a more precise and appropriate classification and description of different forms of computer-mediated communication. It will finally introduce an alternative concept, the one of Media Synchronicity recently proposed by Dennis/Valacich (1999, 2002) and try to reveal parallels with the orality/literacy-model which may prove useful in view of an extensive analysis of new forms of communication.
The journal Zeitschrift für germanistische Linguistik (Journal of German Linguistics) explores the German language in its various manifestations, past and present. It publishes essays, discussions, reports on important developments, and commentary on selected books, with a key focus on standard modern usage.