Oral Tradition Quotes

Quotes tagged as "oral-tradition" Showing 1-22 of 22
Jessica Maria Tuccelli
“I wish I’d paid better attention. I didn’t yet think of time as finite. I didn’t fully appreciate the stories she told me until I became adult, and by then I had to make do with snippets pasted together, a film projected on the back of my mind.”
Jessica Maria Tuccelli, Glow

Kailin Gow
“myths reflect centuries of oral tradition in non-literate as well as literate peoples – when it comes to the supernatural, there's no beating folklore.” - Breena Malloy from Bitter Frost by Kailin Gow”
Kailin Gow, Frost Series Omnibus Volume 1

Edwidge Danticat
“These were our bedtime stories. Tales that haunted our parents and made them laugh at the same time. We never understood them until we were fully grown and they became our sole inheritance.”
Edwidge Danticat, Krik? Krak!

Simone Schwarz-Bart
“...when an old person dies, a whole library disappears.”
Simone Schwarz-Bart

N. Scott Momaday
“Writing engenders in us certain attitudes toward language. It encourages us to take words for granted. Writing has enabled us to store vast quantities of words indefinitely. This is advantageous on the one hand but dangerous on the other. The result is that we have developed a kind of false security where language is concerned, and our sensitivity to language has deteriorated. And we have become in proportion insensitive to silence.”
N. Scott Momaday

Alice Walker
“The life of my people is to remember forever; each head granary is full. The life of your people is to forget: your thing granaries ("museums"), and not yourselves, are full.”
Alice Walker, The Temple of My Familiar

Ted Chiang
“We don't normally think of it as such, but writing is a technology, which means that a literate person is someone whose thought processes are technologically mediated. We became cognitive cyborgs as soon as we became fluent readers, and the consequences of that were profound.

Before a culture adopts the use of writing, when its knowledge is transmitted exclusively through oral means, it can very easily revise its history. It's not intentional, but it is inevitable; throughout the world, bards and griots have adapted their material to their audiences and thus gradually adjusted the past to suit the needs of the present. The idea that accounts of the past shouldn't change is a product of literate cultures' reverence for the written word. Anthropologists will tell you that oral cultures understand the past differently; for them, their histories don't need to be accurate so much as they need to validate the community's understanding of itself. So it wouldn't be correct to say that their histories are unreliable; their histories do what they need to do.

Right now each of us is a private oral culture. We rewrite our pasts to suit our needs and support the story we tell about ourselves. With our memories we are all guilty of a Whig interpretation of our personal histories, seeing our former selves as steps toward our glorious present selves.”
Ted Chiang, Exhalation

Fernanda Melchor
“El estilo narrativo de Jorge me intrigaba: sabía entretejer el relato directo de lo sucedido con fragmentos de diálogo, con ademanes aferrados a su cuerpo, con sus propios pensamientos, los presentes y los pasados. Un jarocho de pura cepa, pensaba yo, fascinada; entrenado para la conservación de las hazañas viriles desde una cultura que desdeña lo escrito, que desconoce el archivo y favorece el testimonio, el relato verbal y dramático, el gozoso acto del habla.”
Fernanda Melchor, Aquí no es Miami

Juan Carlos Onetti
“No mentiría; pero la mejor verdad está en lo que cuento...”
Juan Carlos Onetti, Cuentos completos

Assia Djebar
“My oral tradition has gradually been overlaid and is in danger of vanishing: at the age of eleven or twelve I was abruptly ejected from this theatre of feminine confidences - was I thereby spared from having to silence my humbled pride? In writing of my childhood memories I am taken back to those bodies bereft of voices. To attempt an autobiography using French words alone is to lend oneself to the vivisector's scalpel, revealing what lies beneath the skin. The flesh flakes off and with it, seemingly, the last shreds of the unwritten language of my childhood. Wounds arc reopened, veins weep, one's own blood flows and that of others, which has never dried. As the words pour out, inexhaustible, maybe distorting, our ancestral night lengthens. Conceal the body and its ephemeral grace. Prohibit gestures - they arc too specific. Only let sounds remain.

Speaking of oneself in a language other than that of the elders is indeed to unveil oneself, not only to emerge from childhood but to leave it, never to return. Such incidental unveiling is tantamount to stripping oneself naked, as the demotic Arabic dialect emphasizes. But this stripping naked, when expressed in the language of the former conquerer (who for more than a century could lay his hands on everything save women's bodies), this stripping naked takes us back oddly enough to the plundering of the preceding century. When the body is not embalmed by ritual lamentations, it is like a scarecrow decked in rags and tatters. The battle-cries of our ancestors, unhorsed in long-forgotten combats, re-echo across the years; accompanied by the dirges of the mourning-women who watched them die.”
Assia Djebar, Fantasia: An Algerian Cavalcade

W.B. Yeats
“Folk art is, indeed, the oldest of the aristocracies of thought, and because it refuses what is passing and trivial, the merely clever and pretty, as certainly as the vulgar and insincere, and because it has gathered into itself the simplest and most unforgettable thoughts of the generations, it is the soil where all great art is rooted. Wherever it is spoken by the fireside, or sung by the roadside, or carved into the lintel, appreciation of the arts that a single mind gives unity and design to, spreads quickly when its hour is come.”
William Butler Yeats, The Celtic Twilight

Walter Benjamin
“To illustrate this claim, Benjamin relates a fable about a father who taught his sons the merits of hard work by fooling them into thinking that there was buried treasure in the vineyard by the house. The turning of soil in the vain search for gold results in the discovery of a real treasure: a wonderful crop of fruit.

With the war came the severing of ‘the red thread of experience’ which had connected previous generations, as Benjamin puts it in ‘Sketched into Mobile Dust’. The ‘fragile human body’ that emerged from the trenches was mute, unable to narrate the ‘forcefield of destructive torrents and explosions’ that had engulfed it. Communicability was unsettled. It was as if the good and bountiful soil of the fable had become the sticky and destructive mud of the trenches, which would bear no fruit but only moulder as a graveyard. ‘Where do you hear words from the dying that last and that pass from one generation to the next like a precious ring?’ Benjamin asks.”
Walter Benjamin, The Storyteller: Tales out of Loneliness

“This land has brought forth numerous children, favouring both the bad and the good ones. It is not the land that is responsible for the people’s hardships, it is the people themselves. Pg.8”
Obehi Peter Ewanfoh, Amende The Stream Water

“Dry your tears, woman, the boy will be found. Nobody can do him anything…” Gradually, the tears began to dry from Etusi’s eyes, thanks to Okokpujie’s words, a mighty force that swung the entire village to action. Pg.38”
Obehi Peter Ewanfoh, Amende The Stream Water

Guus Kuijer
“Ik zou het op prijs stellen wanneer u deze namen uit uw hoofd leerde opzeggen, ook in omgekeerde volgorde.”
Guus Kuijer, Het begin: Genesis

“Indeed, if these final decades of the millennium have taught us anything, it must be that oral tradition never was the ‘other’ we accused it of being; it never was the primitive, preliminary technology of communication we thought it had to be. Rather, if the whole truth is told, oral tradition stands out as the single most dominant communicative technology of our species, as both a historical fact and, in many areas still, a contemporary reality. The miracle of the flat inscribable surface and Gutenberg’s genius aside, even the electronic revolution cannot challenge the long-term preeminence of the oral tradition. ("Introduction" by John Foley)”
E. Anne Mackay, Signs of Orality: The Oral Tradition and Its Influence in the Greek and Roman World

“If there was a group of men, one of them sipped his chai and told his story, and when he got to a point where he couldn’t continue, the point in the story I most wanted to hear, someone else
took a sip of his chai and began his own story, and so on and so forth, until everyone was given a say and not a single story was actually finished.”
JAMIL JAN KOCHAI, 99 Nights in Logar

“There, against the dark lining of their eyelids, backlit by their most golden memory, would live the real Vince. The boy, the flesh of legend, the breath of an oral tradition.”
Vivian Pham, The Coconut Children

“We didn’t need to read the puranas or epics, we just grew up listening to the stories narrated by our grandmothers. It caught our fancy, it fired and enriched our imagination, gave ideas and metaphors, and colour to our language! It is sad that the oral tradition kept alive by grandmothers is slowly dying! Though there are exceptions! I was pleasantly surprised when I heard my daughter-in-law sing Krishna songs in her mother tongue Gujarati, and Ashtapati while bathing her babies or when putting them to sleep!”
Lalitha Ganesan, Vergal: A Memoir

Gloria Naylor
“Cause everybody wants to be right in a world where there ain’t no right or wrong to be found. My side. He don’t listen to my side. Just like that chicken coop, everything’s got four sides: his side, her side, an outside, and an inside. All of it is the truth”
Gloria Naylor, Mama Day

Brad Warner
“Buddhism is basically an oral tradition, not a religion based on a book. The meaning behind the words is far more important than the specific words used to convey that meaning. The way human beings tend to misremember what they’ve heard is actually part of the Zen tradition.”
Brad Warner, Don't Be a Jerk: And Other Practical Advice from Dogen, Japan's Greatest Zen Master

Brad Warner
“These days we tend to put far more faith in concrete recordings, whether written or electronically preserved in audio and video, than we do in what someone remembers somebody having told them. The early Buddhists saw it differently. They thought the oral tradition was more likely to preserve the true essence and intention of what their master had said than if his exact words had been preserved on paper.”
Brad Warner, Don't Be a Jerk: And Other Practical Advice from Dogen, Japan's Greatest Zen Master