Anyuaa Oral Prose Narratives; Ethnic Genres and Social Functions

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Addis Ababa University


This thesis is concerned with studying the oral prose narratives of Anyuaa society, one of Ethiopian Nilo- Saharan groups bordering the Sudan. The major problem of the research arises from the need for paying due attention to study and appreciate the indigenous ways of catagorizing folklore in general and oral literatures in particular in various parts of the country. Thus, identifying the logical principles underlying the Anyuaa systems of generic classification of oral prose narratives, describing the distinctive features of genres and showing their most recurring social functions in the society are the main objectives of the study attained through descriptive methods of literary analysis. By so doing, the research contributes to the future tasks of categorizing oral prose narratives on national level or a larger scale. Folklore data within their social contexts are made apposite to the goals to be achieved and problems formulated. Therefore, the study depends primarily on extensive fieldwork A total of 118 narratives have been recorded using the methods of observation, interview and focus group discussion through survey, depth, local and incidental research projects. With the purpose of maintaining the contextual meanings conveyed by the source language, "word-for - word," "free" and "dynamic equivalent" translations have been employed and then validated by knowledgeable natives. After a close examination, selection, and interpretation of data, the research come up with the following original findings. (1) Three genres of oral prose narratives exist in their own rights as integral parts of the whole system of Anyuaa culture sharing common social functions identified as perpetuating culture, justifying social norms, controlling deviations, maintaining societal value systems, enculturing the youths through entertainment (2) Generic names are designated as the" Leere" , the "Wae" and the " Angade" in their local language. (3) The research also arrives at three indigenous principles with which the natives themselves make use of in delineating genres of oral prose narratives identified as (a) cultural meanings of generic names (b) narrative contents, and (c) performer's age. (4) Genres are actualized in seven natural contexts determined by the purposes of institutionalized or incidental social actions.



Ethnic Genres, Social