Roy Harris has always been recognized as an unusual thinker, a lone warrior battling against what he felicitously calls “the language myth in Western culture” but, today, his views seem poised for a comeback. The position long held by him that “words are not learnt separately from everything else, but as integrated and integrating elements in a whole continuum of acquiring knowledge” is now supported by several robust new studies in language acquisition (Bloom 2000; Lanza 2001; Tomasello 2003). At the same time, the implications for language teaching of his more controversial view, that the invention of writing systems provided the human species with “important mental resources that were not available previously” and so changed forever the understanding of spoken language in literate cultures, have been less thoroughly examined. This paper attempts to bring together these two apparently disparate theses in Harris’s integrationist work by examining them in the light of the long history of written scripts in India as well as the equally complex multilingual scenario characteristic of spoken discourse in India.