Every Culture has a well-defined and vibrant folkloric praxis. In many cultures folklore is not a transcribed story; it is always narrated. Traditional Folklore is generally passed down from one generation to the next, typically by parents, elders and local anecdotalists that shared the history and legends of the local community. While the narrator was telling the story it would be no surprise to see all of the adults and children gather around to listen and to partake in this communal event. Deaf culture is no different with their folklore, which is based upon and around the use of American Sign Language. The purpose of Deaf Folklore is for entertainment, cultural bonding and spending time with one another in unison.
There are three steps of Deaf Folklore and these phases are, collection, classification and analysis. The purpose of the collection is to study and preserve the culture. Additionally, ensuring to have specific details as to where you acquired your collection from is highly important (i.e. name of the person who is telling the story, the persons age, the location to where the story is being told or, even the name of the school it was told from). Lastly, it’s imperative that you record all the information, so that way the folklore can be told and re-told for generations to come.
There are several classifications as well, and they are known as genres. The several different genres for folklore storytelling are anecdote, material culture, tall tale, legend, sign play, ritual, and custom imitation. These variations of storytelling give depth to the narratives and whimsicalness to each intended genre. From finger spelling, to the use of numbers in sign play, to custom imitation where the person mimes the character that they’re portraying. Each and every element of the classification genres gives more complexity, charm, appeal and character to the tales of the chosen styles.