Thursday, December 08, 2005

Oral history - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Oral history
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Jump to: navigation, search
Oral history is an account of something passed down by word of mouth from one generation to another. Oral history is considered by some historians to be an unreliable source for the study of history. However, oral history is a valid means for preserving and transmitting history. Experience within literate cultures indicates that each time anyone reconstructs a memory, there are changes in the memory, but the core of the story is usually retained. Over time, however, minor changes can accumulate until the story becomes unrecognizable.
A person within a literate culture thus has presuppositions that may falsely affect her judgment of the validity of oral history within preliterate cultures. In these cultures children are usually selected and specially trained for the role of historian, and develop extraordinary memory skills known as eidetic or photographic memory.
Before the development of written language in a given society, oral history is the primary means of conveying information from one generation to the next. The most common form of this transmission is through storytelling and the recitation of epic poetry, with the stories and poems collectively known as the oral tradition of a people. The combination of this oral tradition with morals and rituals passed down by word of mouth is known as the folklore of a society. Although not as prevalent now as in the past, oral history is still very much alive among many North American native groups.
The information passed on has occasionally shown a surprising accuracy over long periods of time. For example, the Iliad, an epic poem of Homer describing the conquest of Troy, was passed down as oral history from perhaps the 8th century BC, until being recorded in writing by Pisistratos."

No comments: