Oral Tradition characteristics and types

Oral Tradition

The oral tradition is the sociocultural communicative fact based on spoken language through which historical and cultural knowledge, scientists are transmitted to a community, in order to preserve such knowledge from generation to generation. Oral Tradition characteristics and types

It is one of the oldest and most relaxed human communication activities along the plane, among hundreds of cultures. It is considered by Unesco as an intangible heritage of humanity, a necessary resource for the survival of cultures.

Its content is significant and identity, because it promotes among the members of the community the appropriation of the ideas, facts, and values that have forged the culture of the place where they live.

Its application suggests a series of rules to be observed, in which respect for the norms of the good speaker and listener occupies a significant place. Orality becomes one of the most relevant elements since it is the primary means of communication.

Speakers who assume the role of communicators are required to handle the appropriate intonation, rhythms and concise pauses that keep the listeners attentive and engaged.

The necessary game with the intensity of the voice, the propitious silences and the proper use of non-verbal elements, make this ancient resource for the transmission of knowledge into an art.

It is an act that requires great commitment and seriousness, which implies a respect and serious study of the contents where objectivity in the speech must prevail to avoid the misrepresentation of the message and, therefore, the loss or truncating of the information on the part of the you listen.

Characteristics of oral tradition

Cultural identity

This particularity refers to those narrative features that differentiate the oral tradition of one community from that of another. Oral Tradition characteristics and types

These elements are usually well marked and defining, generating clear differences between the groups, both from the point of view of the structuring of the stories and the intonations and rhythms used to express them.

Regarding this point, aspects such as: pre and post narrative rituals, the durability of the speeches over time, the extension of the different narratives, the linguistic richness of these, among other qualities, are also taken into account .

Collective memory

It refers to the history of each community. It focuses more on the substance than on the form, that is, on the cognitive and value richness that each narrative possesses.

Each ethnic group, each human group has a past that defines it. That past, those experiences, are the ones that are transmitted among the inhabitants, reinforcing the evocative and remembrance bank that gives reason for being to the lineages.

Pedagogical end

It has been customary, in different human communities, the use of oral tradition, not only to keep the memory of the peoples alive , but also to educate their children, youth and adults in the correct paths.

It must be clear that said paths, said paths of rectitude, are adapted to the customs of the people of the town in which they lived.

It is common then to feel clear morals in each story, in each story, in each riddle. Every communicative act of this nature has a didactic purpose, which makes this type of dialogue a very productive pragmatic fact. Oral Tradition characteristics and types

It can be stated that, by resorting to multi-thought and diversity, what is good for one culture is often not good for another. Each community has forged its value judgments around its experiences.

It uses the use of various literary genres

In every community the multiplicity of literary genres in the oral tradition is evident. Poems, sayings, stories, legends, stories, myths are appreciated; each and every one well explicit and differentiated.

Of course, each ethnic group presents handling of different kinds, some deeper, others more superfluous, however each one with an undeniable richness.

The level of depth of the oral tradition is determined by the cultural advancement of the peoples. The more calm, the greater the orality. The more adversity, the greater the need to survive and, therefore, the less the need to transmit knowledge.

The shape tends to change over time, not the bottom

It is common that in the broader genres, such as the short story, what remains fixed in the listener’s memory is the teaching. Because of this, when the story is redistributed in another subgroup it may vary in the way it is represented (subjects, situations), but not in its message.

The form, then, does not play such a decisive role, however the substance does. Experts in the field such as Vansina, assert that many sayings are the product of the synthesis of stories and many stories are the result of the expansion of sayings. And so with the riddles, myths and legends.

They allow the perpetuity of customs without resorting to letters

Although it sounds retrograde in the XXI century, there are communities that have not yet adopted the letters and persist in propagating their ideas, laws and other knowledge and customs orally.

This has a high degree of romance in a good sense of the word. Thanks to this, man, after reviewing the law so much so as not to forget it and being able to transmit it to his family in a reliable way, becomes law.

Citizens of any community, who are in constant relationship with their remote history orally, live and feel their culture more. They are not only hearers, but doers as well. It is the daily life, the continuity, which makes the cultures of the peoples perpetual and strong.

Types of oral tradition

According to the morphological characteristics of their contents, they have been classified into two types:

Fixed traditions

They are those whose content or structure remains unchanged over time. Normally it occurs due to the brevity of its premises or due to the rhythmic peculiarity and consonance that they possess.

Among these can be named: riddles, sayings, proverbs, tenths or stanzas and songs.

Free traditions

They are those whose content, due to the breadth of their structures, varies over time. Its parts are: introduction , middle and end. Oral Tradition characteristics and types

Among these can be named: epics, legends, myths, stories and tales.

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