storytelling, the old fashioned way

Languagehat has a story about a plaza in Morocco where storytellers carry on the tradition of telling epic folk tales to a crowd.

This always reminds me of the villages in Austria where oral storytelling is so important, and such a rich experience. It’s this kind of storytelling, a give and take between teller and audience, that can never be captured on a page or even on a screen. In this country, the communities that still tell stories in this way function mostly below general notice. You’d be most likely to come across this phenomenon in inner city neighborhoods or in very small, rural towns, especially in the south. And if you’re reading this, the storytelling you’d hear would not be in the variety of English you speak.

There are people in this country who are dedicated to maintaining and nurturing the art of oral storytelling. You don’t have to look very far to find them.

But really what all of this brings to mind is the tyranny of the written word.