The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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A narrower definition of oral tradition is sometimes appropriate.
Sociologists might also emphasize a requirement that the material is held in common by a group of people, over several generations, and might distinguish oral tradition from testimony or oral history.
In a general sense, "oral tradition" refers to the transmission of cultural material through vocal utterance, and was long held to be a key descriptor of folklore (a criterion no longer rigidly held by all folklorists).
As an academic discipline, it refers both to a set of objects of study and a method by which they are studied the method may be called variously "oral traditional theory", "the theory of Oral-Formulaic Composition" and the "Parry-Lord theory" (after two of its founders; see below)
It is also distinct from the study of orality, which can be defined as thought and its verbal expression in societies where the technologies of literacy (especially writing and print) are unfamiliar to most of the population.