Editor’s Column

Readers of Oral Tradition will find in this issue an exceptionally rich and varied assortment of topics. The six essays presented here discuss texts and performances in eight different languages, several of them appearing for the very first time in the journal’s pages. As George E. Dunkel (“The Oral Style of the R̥gveda”) points out […]

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Epic Inside-Out

Oral Tradition, 35/1 (2021):37-66  In spite of ourselves, epic absorbs us.1 And then we encounter issues that are more tangled than grass roots. For example, we have now identified two other versions of the adventures of Ajkuna, wife of Muj, and they give quite different explanations for what happened to her. It must have been […]

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The Oral Style of the R̥gveda

Oral Tradition, 35 (2021):3-36 1. The Study of R̥gvedic Repetitions1  In the second volume of his 1877 edition of the R̥gveda, Theodor Aufrecht collects about three thousand repeated verses and phrases from that text. Beginning with the paired Vālakhilya hymns 8.49-52, which he describes as “two versions of the same material . . . like two […]

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Coast Miwok Oral Tradition

Oral Tradition, 35/1 (2021):67-86  Little has been published on the oral traditions of the Coast Miwok that provides any information on the original language and linguistic verbal art of this group.1 The Coast Miwok language was spoken north of San Francisco Bay, largely in an area corresponding to modern Marin County and parts of Sonoma County, […]

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About the Authors

Oral Tradition Volume 35, Number 1 George Eugene Dunkel After studying Greek, Sanskrit, and Comparative Indo-European Linguistics in Paris, Philadelphia, and Erlangen, George Dunkel taught in the Departments of Classics at Johns Hopkins University (from 1975) and Princeton University (from 1978). He then served as chairman of the Indogermanisches Seminar of the University of Zurich, […]

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The Musical Poetry of Endangered Languages

Oral Tradition, 35 (2021):103-66 Many peoples of the world conceptualize what English speakers call poetry and music or song as a single integrated unit, what I will call the “poem-song.” Poem-songs may function as models or molds, opening up possibilities for singers, poets, and composers to structure and remember texts, and to convey their ideas […]

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Dynamics of Voiced Poetry

Oral Tradition, 35 (2021):167-88 Introduction In African Muslim societies, religious values are transmitted and reinforced through “voiced texts,” poetic texts recorded in writing but designed to be performed orally and received aurally (Foley 2002). Aural reception implies the participatory and/or virtual involvement of an audience within sacred or hybrid frames. For most Muslim preachers, voiced […]

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Founding Fathers, Patrons, Mothers, and Other Bertso-School Groupies

Oral Tradition, 35/1 (2021):87-102   In March, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced hundreds of thousands of Basque citizens into full lockdown,1 the electronic revolution in communications allowed the Association of the Friends of Bertsolaritza (Bertsozale Elkartea)2 to extensively share, advertise, and disseminate their online offerings. (Bertsolaritza is the Basque cultural practice of singing improvised verses.3) The scheme presented bertso followers with an […]

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