|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
Oral storytelling has distinctive features, shaping the tropes it uses. Speech is not nearly as fast as reading, so a evening's worth of story is shorter, it is not possible to page back through the story, and the story itself needs the kind of repetitive features that aid memorization. Even with memorization, stories often became distorted over long periods as the details of the original telling fell victim to the ravages of time.
Much of the oral tradition falls somewhere on the myth-legend-fairytale spectrum. Myths deal with gods, demigods, and the shaping of the world. Legends are on a slightly smaller scale, dealing with great heroes, the founding of nations, and other history shaking events. Fairy tales, for all their princes, are on a smaller scale still.
The oral tradition also includes such things as nursery rhymes and folk songs.
There are various tropes stemming from classical myths and European fairytales used to mark written stories as belonging in these genres. For obvious reasons, every trope here is one of The Oldest Ones in the Book, if they haven't been forgotten.
- Oral Tropes - those linked to the oral medium
- Mythic Tropes - which mark a story as mythic
- Fairy Tale Tropes - mark a story as fairytale.
Each culture has its own oral tradition, many of which have inspired later stories.
- American/United States Folklore
- Armenian Folklore
- Australian Folklore
- Celtic Mythology
- Chinese Mythology
- Classical Mythology - Greek and Roman
- Egyptian Mythology
- European folklore
- European Fairy Tales
- Finnish Mythology
- The Kalevala - not a pure example as it was collected and put together by a modern poet, and he also added his own stuff here and there.
- Hindu Mythology
- Japanese Mythology
- Mesopotamian Mythology
- Native American Mythology
- Norse Mythology
- Persian Mythology
- Slavic Mythology
- West Indian Folklore
- "The White Witch of Rose Hall" - a famous ghost story from the island of Jamaica
- Folk Songs
- Urban Legends - modern day folk stories.
- Nautical Folklore
- Nursery Rhyme
- The Great Flood - Falls under all of the above, and below, and possibly future additions to this list.
- The Quran - Oral in origin given that the texts were recited and memorized before being written down by Muhammad's companions.
- The Bible - Partially oral in origin, e.g. the oral accompaniment of the Torah (later written down, with extensive commentary, as the Talmud) and gospels of the New Testament. The Torah itself, most of the Prophets, and some of the Writings are also attributed to the Hebrew oral tradition, compiled and redacted under Ezra and Nehemiah in the fifth century BCE.
- Arabian Nights - Middle Eastern fairy-tales. Big-ass Framing Device.