Oral narratives are a type of story that’s told orally, often using gestures and facial expressions to convey the story. There are many different types of oral narratives, each with its own unique characteristics. In this post, we’ll examine some of the most common types of oral narratives. We’ll also address some of the factors that can influence the effectiveness of oral storytelling. By understanding these different types of oral narratives, you’ll be better equipped to tell your own stories effectively!
Types of Oral Narratives Include Tales, Legends, Songs, and Myths
Oral narratives aren’t all the same. Traditionally, we can divide oral narratives into several types, including:
A tale is a traditional story that may or may not contain supernatural elements. Fairy tales are examples of tales.
A legend is a story that may contain some truth and is set in the past. An example of a legend would be the story about King Arthur and his knights, who were known for their chivalry and bravery.
Songs are also considered a type of oral narrative, as they often tell stories about everyday life or historical events such as famous battles.
Finally, myths are orally transmitted narratives in which gods or supernatural beings perform miracles.
However, I think it’s important to point out that the art and craft of oral storytelling aren’t confined to a long-forgotten past. It’s still very much alive today, as this article will show.
Folktales Are Stories That Are Often Passed Down From One Generation to the Next
One type of oral narrative is the folktale.
Folktales are fictional stories that are often passed down from one generation to the next. They’re told by an author or storyteller who usually narrates in the first person (i.e., the speaker says “I” or “me”). In many folktales, there’s a moral lesson that helps children learn right and wrong behavior.
They’re often set in an imaginary environment that’s timeless and placeless.
Among the most famous fairy tale characters are Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella. The author of these stories is unknown because they were passed down orally for so long before they were written down in books.
In the case of Cinderella, for example, the first written version is believed to have come from Rhodopis, a Greek slave girl who marries the king of Egypt – a story first told by the Greek geographer Strabo around the time of Christ.
Legends Are Stories That May Have Some Truth to Them but Often Have Been Embellished Over Time
A legend is a type of oral narrative and can sometimes be equated with a myth. Legends are stories that may have some truth to them but have often been embellished over time. Or they may have been lost over time.
Legends are often about historical events or people, but they may not be entirely true. Legends are told over and over again and change over time. Legends are often about heroes who perform superhuman feats, such as slaying dragons or fighting giants to save innocent people from harm or death.
Legends, like myths, are often told orally. Examples of legendary figures include King Arthur, Robin Hood, and William Tell.
Myths Are Often Religious in Nature and Explain the Origins of Things
A myth is a story handed down that deals with the early history of a people or explains natural or social phenomena.
Myths often deal with supernatural beings and explain the origin of things. Many myths explain how the earth and the universe were created. Myths are often religious in nature, explaining some aspect of a religion or a particular god or goddess.
Some myths also contain a moral lesson that they teach. There are many types of myths, including creation myths, hero myths, and coming-of-age myths.
Myths are often told to young children by their parents to teach them about their family’s beliefs or culture. Children often learn about popular culture by watching cartoons on TV and listening to music with their friends; however, parents use oral narratives such as myths to communicate their beliefs to their children from an early age.
Narratives Are Stories
Narratives are stories; that’s, narratives aren’t just accounts of events. Although it seems a simple concept, narrative is more complex than it first appears.
- First, in a narrative, an event cannot simply be described. The events must’ve meaning to the person telling or participating in the story. In other words, someone must experience them. Otherwise, there’s only a description of the event and no story about the event.
- Second, it must be possible for the listeners to put themselves in the shoes of the people who experienced or witnessed the event; they must imagine that they were there at the time. In other words, they must somehow identify with what they hear and see so that they can imagine how they’d react or feel if they’d had similar experiences or saw similar things.
- Third, narratives usually contain an element of surprise: something unexpected happens to make the story a fulfilling one.
A narrative has a plot with a beginning, middle, and end. It usually contains a series of characters involved in events that take place sometime in the past or in the future.
A narrative can be real or fictional, and it can be told either in writing or orally. Historical narratives, for example, consist of stories about people and events from the past that have been written down for later reference. Historians study historical narratives to learn about the past from different perspectives and to get ideas for their own research about the past.
Oral Narratives Are Told in Spoken Language
Oral narratives are told in spoken language.
They may be “written down” or even published and thus be in printed form, but that doesn’t make them a written genre.
Oral narratives are also not primarily visual; their primary medium is sound.
On the other hand, oral narratives can be a performance genre because they consist of a verbal exchange between narrator and audience.
As such, these stories are often improvised by the storyteller and may vary from narrative to narrative. They rely on the skill and memory of the teller, as well as his or her personal storytelling style.
In history and, for example, in fantasy literature, people who recite oral narratives for a living are called bards or minstrels and usually worked for kings or princes (or their cultural equivalent).
Bards were very popular in the Middle Ages when many people were illiterate and only learned about what was happening in other countries or even in their own village through bardic performances.
Examples of bardic performances are:
- Stories explaining how a town was founded
- Legends, folk tales, and fairy tales explain why things exist in nature
- Stories describing historical events.
Every Culture Has Forms of Oral Narrative
Every culture has its own rich history of traditional oral narratives, from African griots to Native American storytellers – both of which traditions used trickster narrative as a central storytelling pivot.
These narratives are usually created by a group of experienced storytellers who often pass their skills down through generations. As an art form, they’re interwoven with the shared values and ideals of a particular culture. In many ways, they reflect both the unity and division of culture.
- Renga is an example of a Japanese oral narrative that’s comparable to poetry. They consist of verses written in pairs, with one poet writing the first three lines while another poet finishes the following couplet. This arrangement allowed poets to write renga together even when separated by great distances. By examining how each poet finishes the verse begun by another poet, we can see how the various poets viewed their role in society at large.
- Fairy tales are an example of orally transmitted stories that are common in our Western society. They’ve become imprinted in our collective consciousness as ideal morality tales that educate people about social norms and acceptable behavior. The most famous fairy tale still told today is probably Cinderella – it’s been put into different forms by different cultures and ages. However, many older versions from Europe have darker and more violent themes than what we’re used to seeing today.
Oral Narratives Can Serve Many Purposes
Oral narratives can serve many purposes. Sometimes oral narratives help us understand the world better.
For example, people may tell ghost stories that explain why something bad happened to prevent it from happening again.
In other cases, oral narratives teach us how to behave. For example, someone may tell a story about a child who disobeyed his mother because he wanted to play with a toy and ended up getting lost in the woods-this is how children are warned not to disobey their parents, to teach them how to behave.
Oral narratives can also be used for entertainment; we might tell jokes or riddles just for fun!
Finally, oral narratives can also convey culture and oral history. An example of this is the epic poem Beowulf: although it’s written down today, it was originally intended to be performed orally – telling its listeners about the ideals of bravery, honor, and loyalty in pagan Scandinavia through the story of its central character, a legendary warrior.
Oral Narratives Are Dynamic and Change Over Time
Oral narratives are dynamic and change over time. In fact, they can change with each telling. They can change depending on the teller, the listener, or even the purpose of the story.
Consider an example: a family legend about how your great-grandfather survived a shipwreck during World War II. As your mother tells it, he was at sea when his ship was torpedoed by German U-boats.
Miraculously, he survived by floating in the water for several hours until he was able to swim to shore at dawn.
Your grandmother tells a similar story but adds that his life jacket helped him swim safely to shore. When you hear this story from your great-grandfather himself, he adds that he got caught in a current and washed ashore in France, where local fishermen rescued him and nursed him back to health in their home for three weeks before sending him back to England on another boat!
Each of these retellings differs slightly from one another because the context (whose perspective you’re hearing it from), the audience (who it’s being told to), or the purpose (why they want to tell that particular version) changes.
Also, in each version, certain details are emphasized and others are downplayed to foreshadow what happens next or to convey a moral message that’s important to us as listeners.
- Every time an oral narrative is passed on, it changes.
- An oral narrative can change depending on the context in which it’s told.
- An oral narrative can change depending on who hears it.
- An oral narrative can change depending on the purpose of the story (humor, entertainment, teaching).
- An oral narrative can also change because different storytellers have different styles.
People Learn About the World Through Oral Narratives
Oral narratives play an important role in our daily lives. Narratives can be used to entertain, but they’re also a way to think about the world and to teach.
Because narratives help us understand and share our experiences, they’re often used as learning tools. Narrative is a way of thinking, teaching, and learning.
It’s how we make sense of our lives and the world around us.
They give meaning to our experiences, they convey values and beliefs, and they help us share our knowledge with others.
Long ago, before there were books, movies, video games, or iPhones (okay, at least cell phones), oral narratives were the primary means of passing on information about one’s life and experiences.
The Relationship Between Orality and Literacy Can Be Complex
The relationship between orality and written literature can be very complex. For example, stories passed down orally were written down and are now part of the literary tradition as oral literature. Some stories have also become so well known that they’re passed down in both oral and literary traditions.
Folklorists have studied how stories change as they move from one form to another, and this isn’t just a matter of written versus oral. It’s been shown that the coexistence of the two forms leads to new interpretations of old stories and the creation of new stories.
The story of Cinderella is a case in point, as there are many versions of the story that has been both told orally and written down.
However, not all stories that are told orally make it into literary tradition. This is because many people don’t have access to written stories or are illiterate, but are still able to tell stories orally.
This means that there will always be a large number of stories that exist only in oral tradition.
In addition, some people who can read still prefer to pass on information through an oral story rather than writing it down for others to read because it takes less time to say something than to write it down word for word.
We Live in a Literary World, but Oral Narrative Continues to Exist, Even if We Don’t Always Think About It as Such
Our world is largely a literary world. We live in a digital age and have the widest selection of books and written materials available at our fingertips, whenever and wherever we need them. But that doesn’t mean that oral storytelling has completely disappeared.
Even if reading and writing are powerful, there will always be a place for oral narratives in our world.
Oral narratives exist in video games, movies, and even television shows where characters narrate their lives through dialog with others. Oral narratives are also passed on through music lyrics and poetry recitals.
Although they’ve taken different forms than in the past, oral narratives still exist today because they’re so versatile and can change over time.