Folk Song Texts as Culture Indicators
SCHOLARS and enthusiasts in the field of folk song have long believed that the orally transmitted poetry of a people, passed on by them as part of their noncritically accepted cultural heritage, might yield crucial information about their principal concerns and unique world-view. However, in spite of extensive study and collection of folk song texts, little has been done in a sys tematic way to test this idea. One of the very few such attempts is Sebeok's analysis of Cheremis lore (Sebeok, 1956, 1959, 1964). The present study de velops the hypothesis: that folk song texts, if analyzed in a systematic fashion, give clear expression to the level of cultural complexity, and a set of norms which differentiate and sharply characterize cultures.