Human anthropological and sociological evolution has developed over the past 50000 years from re-enactment, to speech, to the written word, to audio-visual expressions of ideas. Here are some terms to help you better understand how stories have developed.
Can loosely be defined as ancient stories to explore the human experience and to explain the physical universe. They help steer our moral and social compasses and are a blueprint for better living. They explore our origins, ancestors, fathers, mothers and gods. Where did we come from and what is our purpose for existing today?
Back in the mid 19th century, the term folklore was introduced to describe how antiquities related to people’s daily lives. Folklore consists of song, music, dance, artifacts, proverbs rituals, oral stories and various traditions. Unlike myths, folklore is generally unwritten. Rather than being moralistic, folklore is more designed to enhance social connectivity and bind societies with common goals and interests. It expresses identity and a way of life, based on a common past.
Are often verbally passed down from generation to generation and are generally targeted towards children. They are fantastical in nature and feature personified inanimate objects, talking animals, plants, and other natural forces such as the wind and rain. Fables tend to be cautionary stories.
Also tend to be targeted towards children and include folk and fairy tales. They reside in the land of make believe and are often cautionary in nature. Tall tales are deliberately an exaggeration of the truth and rely on the suspension of disbelief to make them enjoyable and entertaining. Old wives tales are urban myths or falsehoods such as a haunted house.
Usually refer to a made up or embellished heroes which has impacted a local community. They include ghosts, monsters and superheroes. A legend depicts the action of a particular person. An urban legend is a believable fabrication from the recent past. They are often verbally passed on along generations and give a sense of protection, importance and love.
These are fictitious simple short stories illustrating a moral or religious issue.
These are repeated distortions of historical accounts that are eventually assumed to be true. They have been rationalized to minimize their apocryphal nature. They are reminiscent of re-enactments.
These are stories that have a strong underlying meaning over and above the literal. Some believe that allegorical stories were the precursors of myths which have a more literal (albeit untrue) meaning. They contain potent symbolism and rhetoric to convey their messages of life and the greater universe.
They include figures of speech and turns of phrase to depict something other than the literal. They are also used to understand one concept in terms of another. “They broke my heart” is a common metaphor.