Category Archives: Verbal Lore

AI Turing Test

Title: AI Turing Test

General Information

  • Type of folklore: Internet folklore
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin:
  • Informant
  • Date collected:

Informant Data: 

  • Reddit is an online website with a huge database of public forums. Founded in 2005 by several students from the University of Virginia, it has grown to have millions of users today. In fact, Reddit is the 19th most visited website in the world with the large majority of its users coming from the United States of America. On the website, people can post images, videos, text, and more as they are upvoted by other users.   

Contextual Data:

  • Social context: To reiterate, artificial intelligence is simply the ability for machines to think and take action like humans. A theory famously called the “Turing test” was coined by a british mathematician Alan turing. The test would be able to tell if a machine was capable of having the abilities of human thinking and action taking. Memes have been used to discuss this development of AI throughout the younger generations of society below the ages of around 30. In this context, most AI memes are jokes that have some hidden truth to them. Furthermore, this meme in particular has the background from the movie IRobot. This movie was a science fiction movie based on AI robots filling the role of public service jobs in order to keep humans safe with three rules as their guidelines.   
  •  Cultural context: In most western cultures, there is a residual fear that technology innovation is moving at a faster pace than humans really want. The fear is surmounted by the possibility that automation could take over people and begin to think for themselves. If this happened, there would be little hope for humanity because robots would be able to communicate and function well beyond our control. 

Item: 

Meaning and interpretation: This meme in particular is a superstition that explains if a robot fails a test on purpose in order to trick humans, we have a problem. That would mean robots are able to think themselves and also have malintent. 

Collector’s Name: Max Holden

Tags/Keywords: 

  • Artificial Intelligence 
  • Memes
  • iRobot
  • Turing test
  • Robots

Skipjack Tuna Origin Myth

Title: Skipjack Tuna Origin Myth

General information about the item:

  • Myth
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: American Samoa
  • Informant: Malouamaua Tuiolosega
  • Date Collected: 21 May 2020

Informant Data: Malouamaua is my father. He was born and raised in American Samoa where he currently lives. He joined the military out of High school and pursued a medical degree afterwards. He is now a medical practitioner who runs a private clinic and is a father of three.

Contextual Data: 

  • Social Context: Malo heard this story growing up when he started fishing. The story is mainly referred to by chiefs during speeches. It is told mainly by fishermen that fish for tuna the traditional way.
  • Cultural Context: There’s a tuna with a round hole in its belly “Le ako kaokugu” that’s the leader of the tuna. There’s a rock at the center of a natural spring in Vailo Palaugi. It’s in the middle of a village and it works its way to the sea. In the middle of the spring there’s a rock with a small hole that’s always filled with water and the tuna will come in from the open sea and roll around the rock creating a hole in its belly. Sina means white, it’s a common name in Samoan. The name is usually given to a beautiful woman.

Item: In ancient times there was a magic fishhook that fish are attracted to, it would catch any fish. This fishhook was granted to man in Fiji and it was stolen by two demigods. They brought it to Samoa and it again got stolen and it was given as a gift to a woman called Sina. Sina gave it to her son, Kaokugu, but it got lost, so Sina went out looking for the hook and left her son while the boy was left on shore in Savaii. When Sina found the hook again she brought it back to her son, she swam all the way in, went into the creek where the rock is, and couldn’t find the son. She thought the son had drowned and died. She was so heartbroken that she died. Her son was just mucking around in the ocean. The son came back and found the mother and the hook. He was also heartbroken and he committed the tuna to pay tribute to the mother. So every so often a special tuna will roll around where the rock is and it leads the tuna.

Collector’s name: Jack Tuiolosega

Tags/keywords:

  • Myth
  • Tuna
  • Pacific Islands

Chicken Origin Myth

Title: Chicken Origin Myth

General information about the item:

  • Myth
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: American Samoa
  • Informant: Malouamaua Tuiolosega
  • Date Collected: 21 May 2020

Informant Data: Malouamaua is my father. He was born and raised in American Samoa where he currently lives. He joined the military out of High school and pursued a medical degree afterwards. He is now a medical practitioner who runs a private clinic and is a father of three.

Contextual Data: 

  • Social Context: Malo heard this story when he was young as a bedtime story told by his elders.
  • Cultural Context: This is not a common story told, it’s mainly told in Manu’a. The chicken in Samoan is called “Moa” but in Manu’a they call it “Manu” which refers to both birds and land animals because its considered sacred. In Manu’a chickens are still left alone and considered sacred. Ui are demigods.

Item: The Manu were brought down by the gods and by Ui. Ui’s duties were to protect the chicken coops. They were considered sacred birds only meant for the gods, the Tagaloa and the Tui Manu’a. Nobody was to eat the chickens because the chicken plays an important role in sailing. When navigating the seas you always take a rooster. The roosted will cock three times, so it tells the navigator the time through the night. It also tells you when there’s an island, when a rooster hears another it will answer back and they’ll go back and forth so navigators used that to find the nearest land. So the Moa is an ancient bird brought by the gods. The belief is that when the gods came to earth they landed in Manu’a and from there they went out with their birds and discovered the islands throughout the pacific.

Collector’s name: Jack Tuiolosega

Tags/keywords:

  • Myth
  • Chicken
  • Pacific Islands

Pig Origin Myth

Title: Pig Origin Myth

General information about the item:

  • Myth
  • Language: English
  • Country of Origin: American Samoa
  • Informant: Wilson Fitiao
  • Date Collected: 24 May 2020

Informant Data: Wilson was born and raised in American Samoa where he now lives. He is a traditional tattoo artist.

Contextual Data: 

  • Social Context: Wilson heard this story when he was young as a bedtime story.
  • Cultural Context: Tonga is known for having the best pig dishes in the pacific islands.

Item: One day two boys in Tonga had these two maggots and decided to raise them. These maggots ended up growing four legs and started to walk around and became pigs. These two boys have families in Samoa, but the King in Tonga said they shouldn’t share these pigs. The brothers decide that they want to visit their family in Samoa and hide the pigs so they can have them. They can leave with a dead pig, but not a live one. So, they cook the biggest female pig they have and stuff it with two piglets and put it in the canoe. That’s how the pig got to Samoa.

Collector’s name: Jack Tuiolosega

Tags/keywords:

  • Myth
  • Pig
  • Pacific Islands

小燕子- The Little Swallow

Title: 小燕子

General Information about Item:

  • Verbal lore
  • Language: Chinese
  • Country of Origin: China
  • Informant: Stanley Li
  • Date Collected: 5/17/2020

Informant Data:

  • Stanley Li was born on December 8, 1962 in Guangzhou, China.  He lived there until after he graduated from college, and then moved to the U.S.  Growing, Stanley spoke Cantonese at home and with friends but learned and spoke Mandarin at school.  

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context: Stanley learned this nursery from a teacher at school during music class as a way to learn music notes and words.  The nursery rhyme was then sung by children during recess or field trips during the springtime or happy moments.  
  • Cultural Context:The nursery rhyme is pervasive throughout the nation and is uniform in structure and lyric.  Like other informants who learned Chinese nursery rhymes, the folklore was first obtained in a school environment from an adult.  

Item:

Audio file:

Original Text:

小燕子,穿花衣,

年年春天这里,

我问燕子你为啥来,

燕子说,这里的春天最美丽

Transliteration:

xiao yan zi, chuan hua yi

nian nian chun tian dao zhe li

wo wen yan zi ni wei sha lai

yan zi shuo zhe li de chun tian zui mei li

Word-for-word translation:

Little swallow, brightly dressed

Year year spring day come here

I ask the swallow, “Why do you come here?”

The swallow said, “Here spring is the most beautiful.”

Free translation:

Little swallow, brightly colored 

You come here every spring

I ask the swallow, “Why do you come here?”

The swallow said, “The springs here are the most beautiful.”

Informant’s Comments:

  • Stanley interpreted this song as one form of propaganda that praised a new China with the emphasis of a beautiful spring and an eager swallow, as it was published six years after the Cultural Revolution.  The spring underscored new beginnings after a colder and darker time period, as represented by a new spring.  

Collector’s Comments:

  • The nursery rhyme could also be interpreted as a way to appreciate nature once spring has once again emerged.  Springs often represent renewal of hope due to the better weather but not necessarily within the cultural and historical context of mid-1900 China.

Collector’s Name: Jasmine Li

Tags/Keywords:

  • Language
  • Nursery rhyme
  • Entertainment
  • Verbal lore

找朋友- Find a Friend

Title: 找朋友

General Information about Item:

  • Verbal lore
  • Language: Chinese
  • Country of Origin: China
  • Informant: Stanley Li
  • Date Collected: 5/17/2020

Informant Data:

  • Stanley Li was born on December 8, 1962 in Guangzhou, China.  He lived there until after he graduated from college, and then moved to the U.S.  Growing, Stanley spoke Cantonese at home and with friends but learned and spoke Mandarin at school.  

 

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context: Stanley learned this nursery from a teacher at school during music class as a way to learn music notes and words.  The nursery rhyme was then sung by children during recess or field trips during the springtime or happy moments.  
  • Cultural Context: The nursery rhyme is pervasive throughout the nation and is uniform in structure and lyric.  Like other informants who learned Chinese nursery rhymes, the folklore was first obtained in a school environment from an adult.  

Item:

Audio file:

Original Text:

找啊找啊找啊找,

找到一个好朋友,

敬个礼啊握握手,

你是我的好朋友

Transliteration:

Zhao a zhao a zhao a zhao,

zhao dao yi ge hao peng you,

jing ge li wo wo shou,

ni shi wo de hao peng you

Word-for-word translation:

Seek, seek, seek,

Found a best pal,

Give a salute, shake your hand,

You are my best pal

Free translation:

Go look, look, look,

I found a good friend

Let’s salute, shake hands,

You’re my best friend

Informant’s Comments:

  • Stanley interpreted this as a means to make friends between little kids in China.

Collector’s Comments:

  • Similar to the informant’s comments, this nursery rhyme could be sung for fun as a way to strengthen camaraderie between children.

Collector’s Name: Jasmine Li

Tags/Keywords:

  • Chinese
  • Nursery rhyme
  • Entertainment
  • Verbal lore

Marcha de Osías- The March of Osías 

Title: Marcha de Osías 

General Information about Item:

  • Verbal lore
  • Language: Spanish 
  • Country of Origin: Mexico
  • Informant: RIcky Juan-Ramos
  • Date Collected: 5/9/2020

Informant Data:

  • Ricky Juan-Ramos was born February 1, 2001 in Salinas, California.  He grew up in a Mexicna-Philipino-American family.  Ricky’s father identifies predominantly as Philipino but is also of Japanese and Chinese descent, while his mother is Mexican of European descent.  Both his parents speak Spanish but Ricky’s father also speaks Japanese.  As a result, Ricky grew up speaking English, Japanese, and Spanish.  Additionally, Ricky attended schools that were predominantly of Spanish-speaking and Asian populations and was exposed to various facets of Hispanic and Asian culture.  Ricky is a current Dartmouth student in the class of 2023.

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context: Ricky learned this nursery rhyme in elementary school from a Latin-American neighbor.  Similar to other kinds of folklore that was collected, this rhyme was accompanied by clapping in a game that resembled pattycake and was played during recess.  The children would then march to the rhythm and pretend to be bears.  This nursery rhyme was primarily passed between children for fun.  
  • Cultural Context: This nursery rhyme originated in Argentina and is relatively unknown to other Spanish-speaking individuals from different countries.

Item:

Audio file:

Original Text:

Osías el osito en 

Mameluco

Paseaba por la calle 

Chacabuco

Mirando las tiendas 

Con reojo

Sin alcancía pero

Con antojo

Por fin decidió ir a un

Bazarito

Todo esto pero sin dinerito

Y con el ganas se fue al mercado

Y encontró 

un temporado

Y con un peso al día

Junto sus 

Alegrías

Regresó al 

Bazarito

Y compró

Un tamborino

Con su tamborino Osías

El osito

Fue el más feliz de todos en 

Mameluco

Paseando por la calle 

Chacabuco

Osías el osito en 

mameluco

Marchaba por la calle

Chacabuco

Word-for-word translation:

Osías the Bear in

Mameluco

Walking along the street

Chacabuco

Looking the stores

With glance

Without piggy bank but

With craving

At last decided to go to a 

Little bazaar

All this but without little money

And with the desire went to the market

And found

A temporary job

And with a peso a day

Together their

Joys

Returned to 

The little bazaar 

And bought 

A tambourine

With his tambourine Osías

The bear

Was the most happy of all in 

Mameluco

Walking along the street 

Chacabuco

Osías the Bear in 

Mameluco

Marching along the street

Chacabuco

Free translation:

Osías the Bear in

Mameluco

Was walking along the street named

Chacabuco

Looking at the stores

With a glance

Without piggy bank but

With a craving

At last he decided to go to a 

Little bazaar

All this but without little money

And with desire went to the market

And found

A temporary job

And with a peso a day

Together their

Joys

He returned to 

The little bazaar 

And bought 

A tambourine

With his tambourine Osías

The bear

Was the happiest in all

Mameluco

Walking along the street 

Chacabuco

Osías the Bear in 

Mameluco

Marching along the street

Chacabuco

Informant’s Comments:

  • Ricky interpreted this rhyme as simply a silly song about bears receiving orders and playing and marching along to the beat.  The nursery rhyme serves only as entertainment. 

Collector’s Comments:

  • Building upon Ricky’s interpretation, this rhyme could reflect the innocence of a child in Argentina.  The sheer joy that the tambourine provided highlights the types of toys that were available to Argentine kids as well as the innocence and happiness.

Collector’s Name: Jasmine Li

Tags/Keywords:

  • Language
  • Nursery rhyme
  • Entertainment
  • Verbal lore

Duerme Negrito- Sleep Little Black One

Title: Duerme Negrito

General Information about Item:

  • Verbal lore
  • Language: Spanish 
  • Country of Origin: Mexico
  • Informant: Ricky Juan-Ramos
  • Date Collected: 5/9/2020

Informant Data:

  • Ricky Juan-Ramos was born February 1, 2001 in Salinas, California.  He grew up in a Mexicna-Philipino-American family.  Ricky’s father identifies predominantly as Philipino but is also of Japanese and Chinese descent, while his mother is Mexican of European descent.  Both his parents speak Spanish but Ricky’s father also speaks Japanese.  As a result, Ricky grew up speaking English, Japanese, and Spanish.  Additionally, Ricky attended schools that were predominantly of Spanish-speaking and Asian populations and was exposed to various facets of Hispanic and Asian culture.  Ricky is a current Dartmouth student in the class of 2023.

Contextual Data:

  • Social Context: Ricky learned about parts of the nursery rhyme from multiple sources when he was visiting his brothers in Cancún.  Some friends from different regions of Mexico and of Caribbean descent told him some of the lyrics in the rhyme.  However, Ricky’s aunts sang  and explained the entire nursery rhyme.  The nursery rhyme is used to put babies to sleep and, like other lullabies, includes elements that are meant to incite fear.
  • Cultural Context: Originating in the Coastal Caribbean, this nursery rhyme is influenced by the history of racial segregation in Mexico, as indicated by the usage of the word “negrito,” which has racial implications. 

Item:

Audio file:

 

Original Text:

Duerme duerme negrito

Que tu mamá esta en el campo negrito

Te va traer codornices para ti

Te va traer rica fruta 

Te va traer carne de cerdo para ti

Te va traer muchas cosas ricas para ti

Y si negro no duerme 

Viene el diablo blanco 

Viene el diablo blanco 

Viene el diablo blanco 

Y paz

le lleva la patita 

Chacabumba chacabumba chacabumba

Duerme duerme negrito

Que tu mamá está en el campo

Trabajando sí

Trabajando duramente 

Trabajando sí

Trabando y no le pagan

Trabajando sí

Trabajando y va de luto

Trabajando

Trabajando negritito

Trabajando sí

Trabajando

Trabajando

Word-for-word translation:

Sleep sleep little black one

That your mother is in the field little black one

To you will to bring quails for you 

To you will to bring rich fruit 

To you will to bring meat of pig for you

To you will to bring many things rich for you

And if black one no sleep

Come the devil white

Come the devil white

Come the devil white

And zap

It takes the leg

Chacabumba chacabumba chacabumba

Sleep sleep little black one

That your mother is in the field little black one

Working yes

Working hard

Working yes

Working and no to he/she they pay

Working yes

Working and goes of mourning

Working

Working little little black one

Working yes

Working 

Working

Free translation:

Sleep sleep little black one

Your mother is in the field little black one

She’ll bring quails for you

She’ll bring you rich fruits

She’ll bring you pork

She’ll bring you many riches 

And if you don’t sleep black one

The white devil will come

The white devil will come

The white devil will come

And zap

He’ll take your little leg

Chacabumba chacabumba chacabumba

Sleep sleep little black one

Your mother is in the field

Working yes

Working hard

Working yes 

Working and not getting paid

Working yes

Working and mourning

Working

Working little black one

Working yes

Working

Working

Informant’s Comments:

  • Ricky speculated that the nursery rhyme has roots from the colonial period, during which locals worked in the fields as slaves.  The nursery rhyme mentions a “white devil,” alluding to the European explorers who relied upon slave labor and used their power to subjugate the native population.

Collector’s Comments:

  • Adding on to Ricky’s analysis, this nursery rhyme also depicts other specific aspects of daily life during this time period.  For instance, the lyrics warn young slave children to behave for fear of their mothers losing their jobs as well as mothers sneaking goods back from the field for their children.  Both of these actions reflect the conditions under which Mexicans once lived and is essential in accurately portraying the folk of the time.

Collector’s Name: Jasmine Li

Tags/Keywords:

  • Language
  • Nursery rhyme
  • Lullaby
  • Verbal lore

Cowboys Folklore

Title: Cowboys Folklore

General information about item:
Folklore
Language: English
Country of Origin: United States
Informant: Brendan Harmon
Date Collected: 5-20-20
Informant Data:
Brendan Harmon is a close friend who was in my graduating class of 2018 at my high school. He has grown up in Dallas his whole life. He is currently playing football at Abilene Christian University. For all of his life he has been a die hard cowboys fan. He regularly watches the games every Sunday. He plans to hopefully play in the NFL one day.

Contextual Data:
The context behind being a cowboys fan is super fascinating. For Brendan’s generation the cowboys have not been that good of a team. I am talking about the stretch from 1997 to 2020. During this time the Cowboys have not made it to the Conference Championship and let alone the superbowl. The generation before had the upper hand because during the early 90’s the cowboys won 3 superbowls in 4 years.
Item
Cowboys fans traditions and rites of passage. There is a tradition that I found extremely interesting that is held by most if not all cowboy fans and that is every year the football season comes around that will say that it is their year to win the superbowl. The rite of passage comes when you ask someone if they are a die-hard cowboys fan. If they say yes, you ask them if it is their year to win the superbowl if the fan says yes then they have passed the rite of passage and are a die hard cowboys fan.
Collectors Name: John Paul Flores
Tags and Keywords
Cowboys
Rituals

Pre-Game Rituals

General information about item:
Ritual
Language: English
Country of Origin: United States
Informant: Robbie Mangas
Date Collected: 5-21-20
Informant Data:
Robbie Mangas is a Sophomore at Dartmouth College. He is due to graduate in the year 2022. Robbie is also a starting member of Dartmouth’s Football team. He has played the past two years at the Tight End position. He loves playing football and lifting weights. Robbie plans to play football in the NFL someday.
Contextual Data:
The context behind the pregame rituals is a sort of a mixed bag. There are some things that people hold dear and believe will help them win the game. There are other superstitions that many players have about whether they put on one sock first or how they do their hair. For the most part every player has their little thing that they do in order to get themselves ready for the game mentally and physically.
Item:
Pregame football rituals the people that I talked really fell into two categories either a pre game ritual that involved some sort of spirituality or a ritual that they did before every game. For spirituality the people would often read a passage of the bible before the warm-up, the other aspect was when the players ran onto the field they would run to the opposite end zone and kneel and pray. Other people’s pregame rituals involved listening to the same song or putting on eye black the same way.
Collectors Name: John Paul Flores
Tags and Keywords
Ritual
Dartmouth Football