You may be asking yourself, why are language, literature, and legends all part of the same category? The reason is because they are all very closely related. For starters, every culture has some form of language. In most parts of the world, language is a complex combination of sounds that when combined and learned allow individuals to communicate with one another verbally. This helps bring more organization to a culture and allows people to share ideas very quickly and clearly. But some cultures and individuals communicate through hand motions like sign language or use clicks and sounds to communicate. All are common forms of language that produce similar results.
When language is written down, it can be crafted specially to create literature. Nearly every culture on Earth has produced literature by documenting language and sharing it with others or passing it on to later generations. People of all cultures study and appreciate literature which is why you all spend so much time in English class. Literature can teach us a lot about a culture and helps us to better understand cultures that exist in other parts of the world.
One of the most common and important types of literature are legends. Legends are stories passed down through the generations that help individuals to understand some essential aspect of the culture. One of the most common types of legends are ones that describe how a culture understands the creation of the Earth or of a given people on Earth. Click on the links below to read some creation legends from around the world:
Navajo Indians: www.lapahie.com/Creation.cfm
Several brief myths from around the world: www.dreamscape.com/morgana/miranda.htm#AUS
Key Questions About Literature, Language, and Legends
1. Why is language so important to the development of a given culture? Do you think that a culture could become sophisticated and advanced without language?
2. How does literature influence a society? Why do you think people spend so much time studying their culture's literature, as well as that of other cultures?
3. Why is it that all cultures have their own creation myths? What do you think has the greatest influence on the creation of the legend?
4. How important is language when two different cultures are trying to work together or arrange a treaty? How can this be a potential source of conflict?
5. How does your English class with Ms. Black connect to this category?