Oral Tradition Quotes

Quotes tagged as "oral-tradition" Showing 1-16 of 16
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

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

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

“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, Mnemosyne, Supplements, 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

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