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Literature – what is it

If you, the reader, have asked the question: “literature – what is It?”and I would like to get a succinct answer, but still true and scientific, then you turned to the right text. So, in this article, I will briefly consider what literature is, as well as tell you about its two main forms – oral and written.

The academic dictionary compiled by the Russian Academy of Sciences defines literature as “the entire collection of scientific, artistic, philosophical, and similar works”. The disadvantage of this formulation is that the subject can be seen as non-literary, for example, graphic illustrations. I can offer my own definition, which is more appropriate to the article: literature (Latin litteratura-written) is a set of speech structures captured in oral and written form. Literature is the object of study of literary studies (for more information, see the article “Fundamentals of literary theory”). Literature is both a special human activity and also a product of this activity, where the main tool through which products are created is the language and its unit – the word.

At first glance, we could limit ourselves to definitions and a brief explanation, but there are significant “buts”. the average person often sees a literary work as captured only in written form, but in fact there is a form of oral literature, which I will begin to describe later.

Oral literature
First, Yes, there is oral literature, and even with the advent of writing, it has not disappeared. And if we touch on the period when humanity, having become even separate, but communities of intelligent beings, began to form its own culture, but did not have a written language, then oral literature is an important tool for transmitting the created products. The latter is especially important without writing, since if the author, having created a literary work, captured in writing, could no longer make special efforts to preserve it (with certain assumptions, of course), then the product in oral literary form required a number of additional efforts from him, for example:

Remember exactly what he created. After all, it is not enough to come up with something, it is important to accurately store it in memory in order to correctly reproduce it in oral form, as originally intended. Yes, often the constant reinterpretation of the created is good for him, but there are cases when the opposite is harmful, but these consequences are superfluous to consider here;
Self-report what you created to others. If the reader could study the product of written literature on their own, then with the oral form, the author first had to pass his work to someone else, present it in direct contact orally, to put it simply-to tell, to tell;
Difficulties of multi-stage transmission. If the author was able to reproduce exactly what he had invented, then he should have been concerned about the following: how the listener understood what he heard, how well he remembered it, and whether he could reproduce it correctly in turn (part of the problem from point one).
In General, the oral form of transmitting and preserving information is not the best tool for cultural development. However, the influence and role of oral literature on the formation and development of culture, both for individual social groups and for peoples, or even for the whole of humanity, is difficult to overestimate. Moreover, the oral form is still preserved and, most likely, will not disappear in the near future, because people still need verbal communication, and in some situations it is more convenient to use the oral form than to write essays to each other. Only it should be clarified that oral communication itself is not literature, if it does not create and save for later reproduction of a certain speech structure. For example, if two people are discussing how clear the sky is today and the bus is delayed by seven minutes, this is not literature. If, in oral communication, constructions that fit the characteristics of a literary work are created, transmitted (by the narrator) or reproduced, for example, an anecdote is composed or a poem is recited under the situation, then Yes – this is oral literature. It is clear that this topic is covered briefly and it is much deeper, but for such a study it should turn to research of an appropriate size, and I will go to the written form of literature.

Written literature
The possibilities of written literature were provided, as it is not difficult to guess, by writing, and the more effective the latter became, the better the products of literature were. Yes, the development of writing did not take place immediately, this process was very long, taking several thousand years and essentially due to the fact that humanity had a constant need to make the products of its mental labor timeless, that is, as an option, write them down, preferably in more detail. So sharp-witted members of the human race and improving this much-needed tool, including its graphemes: from pictographs, using hieroglyphs to alphabetic writing.

Written literature made it possible not only to save works in their exact form, but also made it possible to easily reproduce the saved, gradually it reduced the complexity of interpretation, for example, it is one thing when you need to understand the meaning of the message in drawings and have to guess, and another when it is composed in a syllabic or letter letter. At present every civilized person can master the written component of their language and create literary works; and Yes, not only an essay or story is a literary product, but also brief emails or even notes or messages sent via the “short message service”(SMS).

I hope that the article made it clear what literature is, and that the latter is not only written, but also oral, and how each of them is useful and simply necessary for modern people, regardless of their professional, leisure or educational activities. And I also hope that you, the reader, will be able to distinguish between the creation or presentation of a literary product and a non-literary product in oral speech.

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