Has great impact on
scholars in humanities
and social sciences
Made instant converts
linguists and folklorists
The problem of structural analysis involves the
discovery or definition of minimal structural units and
understanding how these minimal units combine into
Folklore materials are highly structured
Methodology is focused on isolation and
Each proposed scheme is tested against
Structural folklorist’s position:
Two distinct type of structural
analysis in folklore:
By Russian folklorist Vladimir Propp
By French anthropologist Claude Levi-
-chronological order or the linear sequence of elements
-syntagmatic structural analysis
Propp felt that Aarne’s classification of folktales by
dramatis personae was misleading for several actors
can perform the same action. Propp considered actors
as variables and actions as constants.
-there is a logical structure within the human mind; and even the
-seeks to describe the pattern (usually based upon a priori
binary principle of opposition)
-elements are taken out of the “given” order and are regrouped
in one or more analytic schemas.
-can be termed paradigmatic
Structural analysis is not an end in itself but only a
means to an end.
Structuralism could very well be the approach that
might possibly unify the diverse regional folklore
materials of the Philippines.
Oral transformation of folk epic, ballad, romance
and folktale and attributes that composition and structure
of these forms to the narrator and his performance.
Albert Lord summarized his and
Milman Parry’s findings and came
up with …
formula- involves the study of the line
ebjambment- involves the study of the
way one line is linked to another
theme- involves the study of the
structure of the poem as a whole.
epic from a
Lord explained that because of special demands of oral
transmission, the folk singer or taleteller has to rely on a repertoire
of descriptive phrases or formulas and a set of episodic structures
to aid his memory and enable him to improvise each new revision.
Main objection of the oral formulaic theory aside from
FOLKLORE MATERIALS ARE VERBAL
Alfred Friedman: oral formulaic method overlooks the process
of memorization and concentration only on improvisation
based on formulas by the transmitter of the lore.
Total performance aspects of a folklore event, that is, the
personal aesthetics of the teller/performer and the nature of
the understanding of the lore by the audience.
“relating folklore to the dynamics of culture”
Robert Georges introduced a new concept- a holistic rather than an
atomistic study of “unique” social experience.
Ben-Amos focused on the social interaction of teller and tale
Alan Dundes gives great importance to context in his functional analysis of
Dundes’ favorite expression: “text without context are like dead butterflies
1. the teller/performer
2. the text
3. the audience
Main objection: the tendency of its proponents to treat the
audience as a totally homogeneous group.
Including context in the study is a complete departure from
the text-oriented theories of the 19th theories.
Much more than gathering texts. It Involves the recording and
analysis of group dynamics and psychocultural relationships
between folklore performer-communicators and their
Each country has its own specific cultural
history and folkloric interpretation of the
traditional materials found in the culture.
Segal: Folklore theories are objective, some
speculative, others empirical. It is best for a
folklorist to be eclectic rather than confine
himself/herself to just one approach. It is possible
to combine one or more methodologies when the
Isabelo de los Reyes ( Father of Philippine folklore):
“No nursemaid or peasant who has a wide repertoire of stories
can be called a folklorist because there are specific rules to follow”.
A professional folklorist should also develop skills in the use of the
special “tools” of his/her profession.
Standard bibliographic tools save time and energy in
tracking down local and international folklore
(a) International Sources
The Internationale Volkskundliche
Bibliographie- most valuable international aid
Bibliographic aids go only so far and the folklorist
must cultivate his skill to use indices in order to
identify and classify his materials.
There is no Philippine folklore index to assist local
There are two outstanding indices for Asian tales:
Japan has Hiroko Ikeda’s A Type and Motif Index of Japanese
Folk Literature (1971)
Korea has A Type Index of Korean Folktales by In-Hak Choi