One very important element of our culture is language. It is through language that we create contexts and paradigms thus fostering appropriate interactions. As we interact with the spoken word we inevitably transmit aspects of our culture and tradition. Jamaican cultural landscape as it is today extensively predates itself to an epoch before the Europeans encountered Africans in their own land. Due to the dynamics of culture there is some degree of absence of the oral tradition that is expected to be maintained and that has had a gamut of implications on our Jamaican society.
The purpose of this dissertation is to unearth the many issues surrounding our oral tradition, pinpointing some of the factors which led to its depletion. Being an integral part of our history (specifically our colonial past), it has now become a topical issue where the concern is that traditions have become lost over the years and are Very much lost on today’s youth. Its role which is to educate and replicate the fine details of the fabric of our lifestyle has become null as a result of various factors such as globalization and arbitration.
It is imperative that one examines the factors contributing to the diminishing presence of the oral tradition in Jamaica. Therefore, the researcher in doing so examines the extent to which these factors cause a waning in the oral tradition and how it affects the contemporary society. The intention of this research paper is to underscore the issue of the lack of cultural awareness among youth as well as to apprise the pertinent authorities on culture of the responsibility they have to safeguard our oral traditions.
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Also this dissertation aims to provide more information on a tentative topic which is to often discussed in the wake Of the technological advancements that exist in current times. Objectives: To explore the role of oral tradition in a society To identify key contributing factors of the depletion of oral tradition in Jamaica To assess the advantages of having oral tradition within the Jamaican context To discuss the impacts of the absence of oral tradition Definition of technical terms: 1 . Language – the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way. . Culture – Culture is the sum of total of the learned behavior of a group of people that are generally considered to be the tradition of that people and are transmitted from generation to generation. 3. Tradition – the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc. , from generation to generation, especially by word of mouth or by practice. (Dictionary. Com) 4. Society – any set of people living together in a group comprising a single community and whose members are interdependent. Mustache) LITERATURE REVIEW Though the topic is not of paramount interest especially to youth in today’s society, there are existing academic discourses which attempt to bring to focus the importance of oral tradition in the contemporary Jamaican society. It is said that “… Jamaican culture has been largely dependent on oral history and traditions to achieve continuity. ” (Oral Traditions: A View from Jamaica, McKee Beechen) Beechen, an education outreach officer at the Institute of Jamaica also states that with the upsurge of literacy the focus is now shifted to more modernized learning methods.
No longer is the spoken transmission of cultural and historical knowledge entertained in academic spheres, rather here is great emphasis placed on reading and writing – this is the modern take on what literacy is. Social change is very much evidenced in the fact that even though “In Jamaica, the concept of learning about culture through written communication is historically foreign”, there is a great lack in our country’s oral tradition today. Beechen declares that “Oral tradition embraces the idea of understanding concepts learned, but it also demonstrates the importance of experience. That is to say that real culture is only learnt through having physical contact or interactions with our surroundings and he people around us as opposed to being solely exposed to the written language in the form of texts or other forms of mass media. It is expected of certain stakeholders of the island’s heritage to maintain a level of awareness that would be particularly significant in fortifying a collective sense of culture consciousness. According to an article published in The Gleaner, “Jamaican Oral Traditions Dying”, “we need to showcase more Of our oral traditions in the media, rather than seasonally. The dwindling of the oral tradition is as a result of the fact that media houses (among other entities) in Jamaica are not valiantly seeking to uphold aspects of our culture that would have been passed on throughout the annals. “… Highlighting more of oratory storytelling, would be an asset in helping to preserve this dying part of our culture. ” (The Gleaner 2012) Pioneers (such as DRP. Louise Bennett- Coverlet) who forged ahead with expressing their Caribbean news and more specifically, Canniness’s ought to be highlighted and showcased more often over the airwaves so as to educate the nation on our cultural background.
DATA COLLECTION SOURCES A quantitative means of acquiring information for this research was chosen because it proved to be notable and extremely efficient as the nature of this research is a bit extensive and the use of questionnaires was called for in order to collect empirical data. The questionnaire used as a tool of data collection has several advantages which include: easy tabulation of data which allows for easy measuring and analysis of the data, the questionnaires are easy to distribute, and also it is not costly to hand them out.
In addition to the questionnaire a mini interview was carried out in which a number of he questions used in the questionnaire were used to probe an upper six student of the Humanities and one teacher. The investigator has chosen a sample of one hundred students from Arden High School, ranging from 16-18 years old. This is a representation of the sixth form cohort. He has made a selection of a crop consisting of both sexes. The investigator has done this as he is confident to receive both truthful and valid information from the crop of subjects.
The investigator has allowed the respondents a maximum of 3 days in which he is to complete and return the questionnaire. The Quota Sampling technique was used by the researcher. Out of approximately 300 students in sixth form a sample of 1 50 was chosen to be surveyed. Questionnaire This questionnaire is to facilitate the collection of data for my Caribbean Studies School Based Assessment on the topic stated above. You are not required to state your name. Please answer all questions. Place a tick at the response that best matches your answer. 1.
Gender male female 2. What grade are you in? 12 13 3. How old are you? 16 1718 4. DO you believe that enough emphasis is placed on oral traditions in Jamaica? Yes No 5. In what ways can we raise awareness of oral traditions…? 6. How much do you know about our folklore? A lot Very Little Nothing at all 7. What are some of the reasons for this? 8. Apart from the internet, is the information pertaining to oral traditions readily available in Jamaica? Yes No Somewhat 9. Would you say that you learn much about Jamaican history in a Caribbean History class?