Soe Marlar Lwin


Folktales are part of folk literature manifesting the cultural heritage of a people. They are traditional stories that have been passed on by word of mouth before writing systems were developed. In the modern world, there seem to be a misperception that these tales are only for the child audience. Here I will first introduce folktales as oral literary texts and argue that the wisdom we can draw from folktales goes beyond understanding the triad narrative structure and “good guys vs. bad guys” struggles. While folktales do appeal to children and help them develop critical, social, cognitive, and linguistic skills; the themes and issues raised in these tales can be significant for all ages and all humanity, and relevant even in the 21st century. With some examples of contrastive analysis of narrative structures and contents from folktales of Myanmar and a few other cultures, I will discuss the richness of these oral literary texts and how they can be used in and beyond language teaching.


Folktales; oral literary texts; narrative; culture

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