Oral Literature and the Structure of Language.

by H. Jason

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An application of the analytic method of structural linguistics to oral literature from all continents and many cultures. Narrative structure is conceptualized as a kind of grammar; the two basic layers are the function (a unit of action in the tale) and the move, which usually consists of three functions; connectives between moves are changes in information, state, or space. Basic moves combine to form whole tales. The main tale-roles are the hero, the donor/tester who rewards or punishes, and the donor/compensator. Since functions may be active or passive from the hero's viewpoint, the "donor" may actually obtain an item from the hero, or the hero may take it by trickery or outright theft. So far this analytic method has been applied successfully except to Oceanian tales. 22 pp.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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