chapter  21
4 Pages

Summary

This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on the concepts covered in the preceding chapters of this book. The folk riddle from oral tradition is formally defined as a genre by its apparent bipartite structure: the description and the answer, wherein the description presents an unclear, confused metaphoric substitution for the object which ought to be named in the answer. The folk riddle dwells on the brink of rationality. It is next to impossible rationally to derive an answer from the data of a question. Between the description and the answer lies a semantic hiatus. The semantic hiatus between the object named in the recorded answer and the description is accompanied, on a deeper level, by a hiatus between the explicit and the implicit targets. The semantic predilections of the riddle's descriptions are circumscribed by the existence of this privileged content.