Sustaining Folk Literature: A Study

Author Information

T. Sai Chandra Mouli,
Independent Scholar

DOI: 10.47298/cala2022.7-7
The GLOCAL Proceedings:  The GLOCAL Conference in Asia 2022


Folk literature is integral to all languages. Verbal and nonverbal forms of folk literature are all pervasive. Verbal forms include proverbs, riddles, lullabies, tales, and ballads, among others. The nonverbal form encompasses dances, games, toys, and objects comprising ethnic designs and flavors. A community’s outlook is shaped by these forms. By and large, folk literature in South Indian languages is performance-oriented, and music is an essential component of the same. The written form has a greater status than the oral presentation. Thus ‘highbrow’ or classical literature enjoys greater status than ‘popular’ or ‘folk literature.’ For thousands of years, humans communicated orally, not with the stylus nor pen. With the advent of printing technology, the explosion of electronic media and the inconceivable impact of information technology, folk literature seems to be waning.  This has survived on account of performances by people who live in rural areas and who are generally not so well educated. The same technology should be employed to further the study of folk literature and to preserve the folk literature in Asian countries, as elsewhere. Translation of folk literature into a global language such as English assists in preserving this and in offering the language a greater reach. Making use of online tools in the transmission and the sharing of data is imperative. This presentation seeks to focus attention on efforts made in this direction in South India.

Keywords: Culture, performance, folk literature, oral tradition, technology, translation, preservation, linguistic anthropology


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