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Oral literature or folk literature corresponds in the sphere of the spoken (oral) word to literature as literature operates in the domain of the written word. It thus forms a generally more fundamental component of culture, but operates in many ways as one might expect literature to do. The Ugandan scholar Pio Zirimu introduced the term orature in an attempt to avoid an oxymoron, but oral literature remains more common both in academic and popular writing.<ref>The Anthem Dictionary of Literary Terms and Theory By Peter Auger Anthem Press, 2010 ISBN 9780857286703 at Page 210 and Uhuru's Fire: African Literature East to South By Adrian Roscoe CUP Archive 1977 ISBN 9780521290890 at page 9</ref> In the book Encyclopaedia of African Literature edited by Simon Gikandi Routledge 2003 edition defines it as, 'Orature means something passed on through the spoken word, and because it is based on the spoken language it comes to life only in a living community. Where community life fades away, orality loses its function and dies. It needs people in a living social setting: it needs life itself.'In the book Songs and Politics in Eastern Africa by Kimani Njogu, Hervé Maupeu 2007 edition states at Page 204 as Pio Zirimu (that Ugandan theorist who coined the word 'orature'), defines it as 'the use of utterance as an aesthetic means of expression' (as quoted by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o 1988). In the book Defining New Idioms and Alternative Forms of Expression edited by Eckhard Breitinger Rodopi 1996 at page 78 'This means that any "oral society" had to develop means to make the spoken word last, at least for a while. We tend to regard all the genres of orature as belonging to the homogeneous complex of folklore.'

Pre-literate societies, by definition, have no written literature, but may possess rich and varied oral traditions—such as folk epics, folklore, proverbs and folksong—that effectively constitute an oral literature. Even when these are collected and published by scholars such as folklorists and paremiographers, the result is still often referred to as "oral literature".

Literate societies may continue an oral tradition - particularly within the family (for example bedtime stories) or informal social structures. The telling of urban legends may be considered an example of oral literature, as can jokes and also oral poetry including slam poetry which has been a televised feature on Russell Simmons' Def Poetry; performance poetry is a genre of poetry that consciously shuns the written form.<ref>Sam Parker, "Three-minute poetry? It’s all the rage", The Times, December 16, 2009.</ref>


Oral literature sections
Intro  History of the oral literature concept  Styles of memorization  Deaf culture  See also  Bibliography  External links  References  

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