Word Spy gets it wrong about transliteracy

It's interesting to see the concept of transliteracy being taken up in various concepts, but frustrating when a spur definition starts to go in what I would call the wrong direction. Word Spy recently picked it up, but the definition it uses seems to come from no quoted source and it is incorrect. According to Word Spy, it is:

The ability to read and write using multiple media, including traditional print media, electronic devices, and online tools.


The problem with this definition is that it leaves out a vitally important element of transliteracy, namely the literacies of the 'pre-print' era – orality, signing etc as per the definition agreed on and distributed by PART and found at Wikipedia, where it has already been extended in an intelligent fashion:

The ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks. (PART 2007) The modern meaning of the term combines literacy with the prefix trans-, which means "across; through", so a transliterate person is one who is literate across multiple media.


I run a Google Alert for transliteracy and it's interesting to see where it appears these days, but sometimes depressing to see that it is already – of course – being misunderstood. I did post a correction at the Word Spy forum but it was ignored.

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