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Difference Between Oral Literature And Written Literature Pdf

difference between oral literature and written literature pdf

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Forms of Written Literature

To browse Academia. Skip to main content. By using our site, you agree to our collection of information through the use of cookies. To learn more, view our Privacy Policy. Log In Sign Up. Download Free PDF. S Jayasrinivasa Rao. Download PDF. A short summary of this paper. This Block will trace the development of Indian languages and their corresponding literature, see how various movements impacted and led both the languages and literature to evolve in specific ways and how colonialism affected the literature being written in India and how, with the advent of English, there was a change in sensibility and expression.

We will also open up the concept of culture as a way of life of social groups which is responsible for imparting a distinct identity and look at the Bhakti movement, important in Indian history with spiritual, cultural and sociological implications; its pan Indian features, the inclusion of female poets, the sociohistorical reasons for its popularity and the nature of its rebellion against constricting religious authoritarianism.

Every effort has been made to trace the copyright holders of material reproduced in this book. Should any infringement have occurred, the publishers and editors apologize and will be pleased to make the necessary corrections in future editions of this book. It aims to familiarize the learner with the concept of 'culture' which is a key concept in the area of comparative literature and anthropology. It is only through an understanding and appreciation of the complexity of the term that we can fruitfully study and compare literature and works of art across cultures.

We will trace the development of the concept of culture and the relevance of the concept in literature. From its association with high art and intellectual pursuits to its broader definition as a way of life of a community, culture has been a complex and controversial concept. We will also attempt to understand how relationships of power articulate and establish what is culturally approved or disapproved.

We hope to sensitize you, the learner, to the fact that literature is also embedded within structures of power and dominance. At the same time, it has potential for acting as a harbinger of change and challenging established orthodoxies.

In the contemporary times, the utility and relevance of the concept has also been questioned. Rapid social change, globalization, hybridization and transnational transactions have made boundaries between groups and communities increasingly porous and permeable. The well known British scholar Raymond Williams writes that culture is one of the two or three most complex words in the English language, not just on account of its complicated historical development but also because it has become a key concept in several intellectual disciplines and in several distinct and sometimes incompatible systems of thought.

Its Latin root is colere which variously means to inhabit, cultivate, protect, honour with worship. The Latin word cultura pertained to husbandry or the tending of natural growth; it entered the English language as the word 'culture'. The early usages of culture were as a noun of process; the tending or nurture of something basically crops and animals.

From the 16 th century upto the 18 th and 19 th centuries the usage of the term was extended from the tending of natural growth to the process of human development. Williams cites examples from Bacon: 'the culture and manurance of minds' ; Hobbes: 'a culture of their minds' ; Johnson: 'she neglected the culture of her understanding' However, it is only in the late 18 th century that the word 'culture' came to be used as an independent noun, an abstract process or the product of such a process.

Williams points out that by the middle of the 18 th century, it came to be used as a synonym for 'civilization'. To be 'cultured' or 'civilized' meant being genteel and well-mannered; having the ability to appreciate the finer things of life like art, music, literature etc. Even today, the term is frequently used in this sense. A glance at the matrimonial columns in any Indian newspaper will show advertisements seeking a bride or groom from a 'cultured' family. The growth of industrialization in the 18 th and 19 th centuries in Europe resulted in mechanization and material advancement and the development of abstract rationality.

Romantic writers like Wordsworth critiqued these developments and sought a more organic and empathetic relationship between human beings and Nature. Material or mechanical development thus came to be tagged with the category of 'civilization' whereas 'culture' symbolized spiritual, intellectual and aesthetic development of an individual or community. Meanwhile, the German philosopher Herder introduced a critical idea that further developed the concept; namely, that we must speak of cultures rather than culture in the singular; in other words, whole ways of life of particular groups.

From this emerged the anthropological understanding of culture as we know it today. Our usage of terms like 'tribal culture' 'Indian culture' or 'folk culture' derives from this understanding. However, as Raymond Williams points out, the 19 th century idea of culture as a process of mental and spiritual cultivation gave it a special association with intellectual work and the arts.

The term is a kind of shorthand for both, the process and product of these activities. Thus when we speak of "culture" the general association that comes to mind is that of literary works, painting, sculpture, music etc. However, sociologists and anthropologists, consider art and literature as just a part of the overall culture of the group.

For them, cultures has a much broader meaning as the way of life of a community. Activity 1Make a list of the different words used to capture the concept of culture in the major Indian languages. How are these words used in everyday life? What meaning do they convey?

Discuss with your peers at the Study Centre. Thus reading Browning or Kalidasa are merely elements of the larger whole or totality of culture.

This totality includes mundane activities such as cooking food or driving a car. It may therefore be concluded that for the social scientist there is no such thing as an uncultured person or society; every society no matter how small or simple possesses a culture, all human beings, by virtue of belonging to a group, are cultured. Definitions of culture are many; yet it is argued by some scholars that the concept of culture is the single most difficult term in anthropology.

Kroeber and Kluckhonh identified different formal definitions! There is a general agreement that culture is learned; that it enables humans to adapt themselves to their natural and social settings; that it is greatly variable and that it is manifested in institutions, thought patterns and material objects and artifacts. Herskovits, Often, it is used synonymously with 'society'.

The distinction made by anthropologists between these seemingly interchangeable terms is as follows: Culture is the way of life of a people; while society is an organized and interacting aggregate of individuals who follow a given way of life. Society implies relationships and groupings while culture implies ways of acting and living.

In the words of Herskovits, "a society is composed of people; the way they behave is their culture". Society is also defined by some scholars as a group of people who occupy a particular territory and speak a common language. By this definition, societies may or may not correspond to the contemporary categories of 'nation-states' or countries.

Many countries, including India, have within their boundaries groups of people speaking different languages which may not be understood by other groups, and therefore may be said to comprise a number of 'societies' with distinct cultures. By the same logic we may say that some societies may include more than one nation or countries. Bangladesh and West Bengal in India, for example share a common language, Bangla.

Punjabi and Sindhi are spoken on both sides of the Indo-Pak border. Can we then speak of Bangla or Punjabi society and culture that cut across national boundaries? Does this come in conflict with the idea of a 'pan-Indian' culture? What about ethnic, religious and other 'minority' cultures which fear that they are being subsumed or swallowed up by the majority? These days we also hear the term 'multi-cultural societies' further complicating the concept.

Thus we see that culture is indeed a very porous and politically loaded concept. One of the most durable and widely-used definitions of the term was given way back in the year by the British anthropologist E. According to Tylor, culture "is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, custom, and any other capabilities acquired by man as a member of society".

Note that culture includes both material and non-material dimensions. Material culture refers to houses, tools, musical instruments etc. Material and non-material dimensions are intricately interconnected. If we take an example of material culture like say, a hand-woven silk sari, we find that there is an entire system of values underlying its production.

The designs or motifs handed down through generations; the myths and legends associated with it; the specific system of power relations and hierarchies that mark production and consumption it may be a valued item in the trousseau of an upper-caste or upper class bride, but the weavers who make it are very poor ; gender relations and so on.

Thus the production of a material artifact is steeped in complex layers of culture and politics that must be delicately teased out to understand it properly. Let us take another example from contemporary urbanized societies.

Physical fitness and slimness is regarded as a highly desirable goal. This is directly related to the development of a consumption-driven society where food and food choices are abundant, where technologies for 'fitness' exercise machines, gyms, special clothing and accessories etc. However, in a society where food is scarce and starvation common, the emphasis on diets and lifestyles would be, indeed, out of place and inappropriate.

While archaeologists and cultural anthropologists lay a good deal of emphasis on the material dimension of culture, historians and scholars of cultural studies emphasise ' symbolic and signifying systems' and thus pay greater heed to the process of production of cultural products rather than the products themselves. The relations between material and symbolic production constitute the central point in any discussion of culture, according to Williams , and thus must always be related rather than contrasted.

Tylor' s definition of culture given above is a 'hold-all' one in which he included every human capability he could think of, which makes it both useful and allencompassing in one sense, and far too general to be of much use in another. The American anthropologist Clifford Geertz's works suggested that culture be viewed as shared meanings expressed through public communication. While different individuals may not imbibe exactly the same knowledge or develop the same skills, they nonetheless share a common world-view and a common framework of values and meanings.

In this sense, culture permeates all human activity; it shapes our understandings of what is valuable, desirable and undesirable; it regulates our behaviour and our interactions.

According to the British scholar Stuart Hall, one way of thinking about culture is in the form of 'shared conceptual maps, shared language systems and the codes which govern the relationship of translation between them' Culture, as you will have realized from the above discussion, is socially learnt and transmitted, and provides the mechanism through which human needs are satisfied.

Unlike animals, which rely upon their instincts, humans are fundamentally social, and rely upon cultural practices to fulfill their physical needs as well as social needs for security and companionship. Culture prescribes certain norms or standards of behaviour which members of the society are expected to follow and each culture has its own distinctive beliefs, practices and ways of life that are passed down from generation to generation.

At the same time, culture is not a static phenomenon and adapts and changes in accordance with changes in the environment. When we examine the history of a society it becomes obvious that its culture has changed over time. These changes may be stimulated by changes in the external environment as well as in the social environment.

The colonial expansion of Western societies over the past few centuries has led to dramatic changes in different parts of the world. In India, the British rule led to changes in systems of land tenure, agriculture, administrative and economic arrangements, education, law, political systems to name but a few. The introduction of English simultaneously undermined traditional hierarchies and put in place new privileged classes and elites. Activity 2Identify two or three members of your family or people in your neighbourhood who belong to the generation of your parents or grandparents.

What Are The Differences Between Oral And Written Literature?

Vincent Ferraro and Kathryn C. Most of us intuitively understand that there are differences between oral and written language. All communication includes the transfer of information from one person to another, and while the transfer of information is only the first step in the process of understanding a complex phenomenon, it is an important first step. Writing is a fairly static form of transfer. Speaking is a dynamic transfer of information.

Consider how African literature has evolved over time, from oral stories and Egyptian hieroglyphs to the novels, poems, and plays of today. As George Joseph notes on the first page of his chapter on African literature in Understanding Contemporary Africa, while the European perception of literature generally refers to written letters, the African concept includes oral literature. African literatures are of high literary quality. That's because, prior to colonialism, much of African literature was oral literature… African literature possessing those qualities that define it as such. African literature has a long history stretching back over thousands of years. What does it mean to be human? There are 3, African literature titles in print in English and French alone and over 10, in African languages.

Oral Literature & Written Literature

african literature characteristics

Oral literature

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. Most simply, oral literature refers to any form of verbal art which is transmitted orally or delivered by word of mouth. Orature is a more recent and less widely used term which emphasises the oral character and nature of literary works. In African Oral Literature for Schools , Jane Nandwa and Austin Bukenya define oral literature as "those utterances, whether spoken, recited or sung, whose composition and performance exhibit to an appreciable degree the artistic character of accurate observation, vivid imagination and ingenious expression" 1. The Canadian Encyclopedia suggests that "the term oral literature is sometimes used interchangeably with folklore , but it usually has a broader focus.

Oral literature, the standard forms or genres of literature found in societies without writing. Differences between oral and written discourse and the. Written communication, on the other hand, is a formal means of communication, wherein message is carefully drafted and formulated in written form. This paper explores the association between specific aspects of oral and written language as reflected in current literature and research. Similarities and differences between oral and written comprehension. In this article, weve presented all the important differences between oral and written communication in tabular form.


there is a difference between oral and written Persian narratives for reference to activated participants in the Literary texts (short stories). Published during the.


Definitions and understandings of oral literature

There are many clear differences between oral and written literature. In modern times, written literature has been preferred to oral literature because written literature in most cases serves as or contains facts and evidence, whereas oral literature is said to be words without evidence though it is more interesting. Didn't find the answer you were looking for? Ask a Question. James FitzGerald answered. Oral literature is as explained done through words and speaking, whereas written is through the written word. This is important as there have been a tremendous amount of written stories over the past few hundred years that have been the cornerstone of English literature.

Asked by Wiki User. In this context the contrast is between oral unwritten and written literature. Oral is spoken and written is read. Oral is given by speaking, written is given in writing. Oral literature is a form of literature that is not written but instead is passed verbally from person to person.

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