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Questions tagged [oral-tradition]

Questions related to works of literature which are transmitted through speech or song.

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11 votes
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What's the origin of the rhyme "My friend Billy had a ten foot willy"?

A simple rhyming song which I heard growing up and which still gets stuck in my head every so often: My friend Billy had a ten foot willy. He stuck it through the neighbour's door. OR He showed ...
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11 votes
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Why, at the begining of the tale Jealous Twins, does the storyteller frame the story?

The Verba Africana website is a fantastic website that publishes recordings, transcriptions, and analysis of African oral literature. One of the stories published on the site is called Jealous Twins; ...
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7 votes
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Were any of the Asbjørnsen og Moe stories transcribed directly from oral traditions?

Asbjørnsen og Moe are the Norwegian answers to the Brothers Grimm, the collectors of what is still considered the definitive volume of Norwegian folk tales. How many of these tales were taken from ...
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5 votes
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The Grand Old Duke of York: how did historical events become nursery rhymes?

"The Grand old Duke of York" is a well-known English nursery rhyme concerning the exploits of an not-specifically-identified duke of York. Wikipedia, citing the Opies and other books, gives ...
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3 votes
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How does Ahmad Khani's Mem and Zin differ from the pre-existing oral tradition of the story?

Mem and Zin is a classic tale of traditional Kurdish storytelling, passed down through oral tradition for centuries, but also written down in 1692 by the Kurdish poet Ahmad Khani. In the process of ...
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3 votes
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How did the Cutty Wren come to be the national anthem of Tristan da Cunha?

"The Cutty Wren", a traditional English folk song, is the "territorial song" (like national anthem for a British Overseas Territory?) of Tristan da Cunha, one of the remotest ...
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3 votes
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Origin of “walking to the end of the rainbow”

I have a problem translating a particular idiom to an other language (Arabic if this is relevant). The idiom is as in the title: "People of that age [middle aged people in their 40's] become little ...
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3 votes
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What does "M O" in the Razzle Dazzle cheer song mean?

I would like to know what a particular line in the following cheer poem is a reference to. Razzle Dazzle Leader: My name is (your name) I'm number one My reputation has just begun So if ...
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