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The Study of Folklore and Folklife in American Universities

The word folklore stands for both the subject matter of traditional culture and the study of that subject matter, just as history refers both to past events and to the study of those events by historians.

Folklorists analyze the materials of folklore in a variety of ways. They seek to reconstruct the origin and spread of a folk tale, folk song, proverb, house type, festival , or other genre. They attempt to determine whether a ballad was composed by one bard or by a singing and dancing group, and whether a myth was once a narrative explanation of a fertility ritual.

They endeavor to explain the functions of folklore in rural and urban society.

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