Difference Between Folklore and Orature
There are many forms of literature in the world, some of which can be traced back to centuries ago. Yet there are some that are more recent and have been introduced in the last few decades or so. Whatever the form, literature, that is basically any written work, has played a vital role in preserving and promoting the values and norms of societies, religions, cultures, traditions etc. It is in fact because of literature that we know so much about our past and how people lived at that time. Moreover, there are also fictional forms of literature that are reflections of some real happenings or are merely a showcase of a situation, feeling or a lesson. Folklore and Orature are also forms of literature and few people are able to correctly define and differentiate them. We will discuss these two in detail in this article.
Folklore, or simply lore is a form of literature that depicts cultures and traditions in the best of manners. It makes use of music, legends, jokes, proverbs, oral history, stories, fairy tales, tall tales, popular beliefs as well as customs that are part of the traditions of a cultural group, subcultural group or any group for that matter. Moreover, it also includes the practices through which these genres are expressed or shared. The people who study folklore are known as folklorists and the study of folklore is known as folkloristics. The word folklore was first introduced by William Thoms in 1846. The study of folklore can be divided into artifacts (such as voodoo dolls), entities that are transmissible and describable (such as oral tradition), culture, and behaviour, which includes rituals. These divisions are not mutually exclusive as it is possible that a particular element or item fits in more than one of these.
Moving on, orature which is a word to describe oral literature or folk literature also has many dimensions to it and takes literature to greater horizons. As its name suggests, it is in the sphere of the spoken word unlike other forms of literature that are written. In fact, literature means any written work and so it can be concluded that orature is indeed a unique part of it! However, due to this, it forms a fundamental component of culture although the expression is similar to other forms of literature. The word orature was first introduced by Pio Zirimu as a short form of oral literature but the latter has remained more popular amongst writers and readers alike. Orature includes something that is passed on through spoken word and comes to life better in the spoken community due to the fact that it is based on spoken language. However, it has its limitations. The point where community life fades is also the point where orality and consequently orature loses its function and seizes to exist.
The main difference between folklore and oral literature is the way that the literature is recorded and passed on to the next generation. The former is written or recorded whereas the latter is passed on by word of mouth. This also leads to the next important difference which is the type of effect the two forms are expected to have on the audience. For orature to be effective, the existence of a well-defined community is necessary whereas that is not the case for folklore which can be as effective even in the absence of it.
- Folklore, or simply lore is a form of literature that depicts cultures and traditions using music, legends, jokes, proverbs, oral history, stories, fairy tales, tall tales, popular beliefs as well as customs that are part of the traditions of a cultural group, subcultural group or any group; orature is in the sphere of the spoken word unlike other forms of literature that are written, it is the short form of oral literature
- Difference in the way the two are passed on: folklore is written or recorded whereas orature is passed on by word of mouth
- For orature to be effective, the existence of a well-defined community is necessary whereas that is not the case for folklore which can be as effective even in the absence of it
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