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what is oral literature

Oral literature (or orature) is often sung or recited, by bards or griots (West African praise-singers, poets or musicians) and can take the form of songs, with tongue-twisters, recitations, poetry, proverbs and riddles. Oral art as literature. Modern archaeology has been unveiling evidence of the human efforts to preserve and transmit arts and knowledge that depended completely or partially on an oral tradition, across various cultures: The expression is self-contradictory: literature, strictly speaking, is that which is written down; but the term is used here to emphasize the imaginative creativity and conventional structures that mark oral discourse too. 3. oral literature is a performance and therefore features of an oral performance are vital in understanding the meaning of oral literature. How do you use oral literature in a sentence? ORAL LITERATURE AND AWARENESS Oral literature makes us aware of ourselves, other human beings, our environment and our history. Audience and occasion. Oral literature or folk literature is a literature that is spoken or sung as opposed to that which is written, though much oral literature has been transcribed. We tend to regard all the genres of orature as belonging to the homogeneous complex of folklore.". It includes epic poems, musical genres, folk tales, songs, and myths. Oral literature is an aspect of literature preserved not in written form but in oral form. The creator or transmitter did not write the song or the story but sang or told it; the receiver did not read the song or story but heard it. Manners, customs, superstitions, ballads, proverbs, etc. Dancer, West Africa (photo Sandra Bornand). The different genres of oral literature pose classification challenges to scholars because of cultural dynamism in the modern digital age. It means spoken literature, or literature by word of mouth, which makes it a controversial term. courtesy Jeff Opland). A broad conceptualization refers to it as literature characterized by oral transmission and the absence of any fixed form. In literate societies it is used especially in the transmission of genres of traditions and folklore. Written literature and oral literature share similar characteristics, including the need to use heightened language and literary techniques such as alliteration, flashbacks, foreshadowing, narrative hooks and plot twists. From the 1970s, the term "Oral literature" appears in the work of both literary scholars and anthropologists: Finnegan (1970, 1977), Görög-Karady (1982), Bauman (1986) and in the articles of the journal Cahiers de Littérature Orale. Thus even where no phrase in local language which exactly translates "oral literature" is used, what constitutes "oral literature" as understood today is already understood to be part or all of the lore media with which a society conducts profound and common cultural affairs among its members, orally. Performance plays a vital role in oral literature. Oral literature, then, consists of the songs and stories, and other sayings, that people have heard and listened to, sung and told, without any intervention of writing. Performance plays a vital role in oral literature. The Ugandan scholar Pio Zirimu introduced the term orature in an attempt to avoid an oxymoron, but oral literature remains more common both in academic and popular writing. Illustrations Frontispiece: The praise singer Mqhyai, distinguished Xhosa imbongi, in traditional garb with staff (photo . In either case, it is transmitted from mouth to mouth over generations. It is highly valued in Africa in general and in Igbo in particular mainly because of its didactic nature. Oral Literature in Africa.indd 12 8/28/12 12:58 PM. Oral interpretation of literature may even be a part of your Sunday morning church service. xvi: Figure 2. Many fairytales were originally oral literature. Most simply, oral literature refers to any form of verbal art which is transmitted orally or delivered by word of mouth. Oral literature is a term generally applied to spoken literary traditions such as folk tales, musical theater, proverbs, riddles, life histories, plays, proverbs, epic poems and historical recitations. Building on Zirimu's orature concept, Mbube Nwi-Akeeri explained that Western theories cannot effectively capture and explain oral literature, particularly those indigenous to regions such as Africa. [4], Oral literatures forms a generally more fundamental component of culture, but operates in many ways as one might expect literature to do. Please consider donating to OBP and purchasing our books to support our work. … • Oral Literature is used 1. NOAA Hurricane Forecast Maps Are Often Misinterpreted — Here's How to Read Them. [citation needed], Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, "Oral Literature in Nigeria: A Search for Critical Theory", List of Chinese administrative divisions by illiteracy rate, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Oral_literature&oldid=992037077, Articles with unsourced statements from May 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Tsaaior, James Tar (2010), "Webbed words, masked meanings: Proverbiality and narrative/discursive strategies" in D. T. Niane's. Oral literature - Oral literature - Myth: Myth is a particular form of oral literature, the subject of which is cosmological. What are synonyms for oral literature? Stories, songs, proverbs, riddles and jokes in oral literature use colorful words and vivid images to describe human beings, their feelings and their behavior towards one another. 2. Oral Literature in Africa.indd 12 8/28/12 12:58 PM. Oral literature is a broad term which may include ritual texts, curative chants, epic poems, musical genres, folk tales, creation tales, songs, myths, spells, legends, proverbs, riddles, tongue-twisters, word games, recitations, life histories or historical narratives. 2.Forms of Oral Literature include:--Songs-Oral Narratives-Oral poetry-Riddles-Tongue Twisters 3.Myths are Characterized by the following:--gods and supernatural beings Oral tradition, oral culture and oral lore is a way for a society to transmit history, literature, law and other knowledges across generations without a writing system; one set of criteria specifies material held in common by a group of people, over several generations, and thus distinct from testimony or oral history. This literature through narrative, poetry, song, dance, myths and fables, and texts for religious rituals provides a portrait of the meaning of life as experienced by the society at its particular time and place with its unique existential challenges. The author on fieldwork in Limba country, northern Sierras Leone, 1964. xxii: Figure 3. It was earlier thought that many such stories were explanatory. Alizés : Revue angliciste de La Réunion, Faculté des Lettres et Sciences humaines (Université de La Réunion), 2004, Founding Myths of the New South Africa / Les mythes fondateurs de la nouvelle Afrique du Sud, pp.95-110. 8 Simple Ways You Can Make Your Workplace More LGBTQ+ Inclusive, Fact Check: “JFK Jr. Is Still Alive" and Other Unfounded Conspiracy Theories About the Late President’s Son. Even when these are collected and published by scholars such as folklorists and paremiographers, the result is still often referred to as "oral literature". The perception of African oral literature 29 Nineteenth-century approaches and collections. [3], Literate societies may continue an oral tradition — particularly within the family (for example bedtime stories) or informal social structures. Lore is seen in societies with vigorous oral conveyance practices to be a general term inclusive of both oral literature and any written literature, including sophisticated writings, as well, potentially, as visual and performance arts which may interact with these forms, extend their expression, or offer additional expressive media. The oral literature is the standard form or genre of literature in those societies that do not have written language. It encapsulates the traditional knowledge, beliefs and … … According to the book Defining New Idioms and Alternative Forms of Expression, edited by Eckhard Breitinger (Rodopi, 1996, page 78): "This means that any 'oral society' had to develop means to make the spoken word last, at least for a while. English Secondary School Notes It includes the stories, legends, and history passed from generations in a spoken form. The author on fieldwork in Limba country, northern Sierras Leone, 1964. xxii: Figure 3. First, what is oral literature? 1. Figure 1. It includes the stories, legends, and history passed from generations in a spoken form. Oral tradition, oral culture and oral lore is a way for a society to transmit history, literature, law and other knowledges across generations without a writing system; one set of criteria specifies material held in common by a group of people, over several generations, and thus distinct from testimony or oral history. [5] The Encyclopaedia of African Literature, edited by Simon Gikandi (Routledge, 2003), gives this definition: "Orature means something passed on through the spoken word, and because it is based on the spoken language it comes to life only in a living community. Oral literature (or orature) is often sung or recited, by bards or griots (West African praise-singers, poets or musicians) and can take the form of songs, with tongue-twisters, recitations, poetry, proverbs and riddles. Where community life fades away, orality loses its function and dies. They become part of a heritage that identifies a culture or group of people. Explore their characteristics as well as the features. 2. The term oral literature is also used to describe the tradition in written civilizations in which certain genres are transmitted by word of mouth or are confined to the so-called folk … ", In Songs and Politics in Eastern Africa, edited by Kimani Njogu and Hervé Maupeu (2007), it is stated (page 204) that Zirimu, who coined the term, defines orature as "the use of utterance as an aesthetic means of expression" (as quoted by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, 1988). What is oral literature? It is considered a verbal art form. 2.Forms of Oral Literature include:-. hal-02344099 Literature, since time immemorial, is usually composed to be recited or sung. The reason is that there are elements to oral traditions in these places that cannot be captured by words such as existence of gestures, dance, and the interaction between the storyteller and the audience. Such information. Vansina, Jan (1978), "Oral Tradition, Oral History: Achievements and Perspectives", in B. Bernardi, C. Poni and A. Triulzi (eds), This page was last edited on 3 December 2020, at 03:49. The study of orality is closely allied to the study of oral tradition.. Thank you for your interest in Oral Literature in Africa. Epiphanies, plot twists and motives are all revealed by the storyteller. In 1960, Albert B. Lord published The Singer of Tales (1960), which influentially examined fluidity in both ancient and later texts and "oral-formulaic" principles being used during composition-in-performance, particularly by contemporary Eastern European bards relating long traditional narratives. It needs people in a living social setting: it needs life itself. Chants and rituals are also forms of oral literature because of the provocative powers of the spoken word, especially when coupled with historical facts. 1.Oral literature is a performed art which in most cases uses words as a medium of communication. A broad conceptualization refers to it as literature characterized by oral transmission and the absence of any fixed form. Stories, jokes and poetry are passed on from person to person with no written medium. Oral literature or folk literature is a literature that is spoken or sung as opposed to that which is written, though much oral literature has been transcribed. Many fairytales were originally oral literature. Africa possesses both written and unwritten traditions. this genre of literature is dynamic, that is, it permits change in terms of form and content; it requires creativity and originality; and it is performance based. The telling of urban legends may be considered an example of oral literature, as can jokes and also oral poetry including slam poetry which has been a televised feature on Russell Simmons' Def Poetry; performance poetry is a genre of poetry that consciously shuns the written form. Thus even where no phrase in local language which exactly translates 'oral literature' is used, what constitutes 'oral literature' as understood today is already understood to be part or all of the l… Audience and occasion. To educate the society on the past events. Oral literature is an aspect of literature preserved not in written form but in oral form. Manners, customs, superstitions, ballads, proverbs, etc. Dancer, West Africa (photo Sandra Bornand). Derived from the Latin word literature meaning "writing formed with letters," literature most commonly refers to works of the creative imagination, including poetry, drama, fiction, nonfiction, and … Oral literature or folk literature is a literature that is spoken or sung as opposed to that which is written, though much oral literature has been transcribed. These stories and songs are, therefore, not only oral but also aural; they are not only told, they are also heard. Literature refers to written works, and oral, in this case, refers to utterances or spoken words. Russell H. Kaschula. courtesy Jeff Opland). What is the definition of oral literature? Oral art as literature. 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