What are the characteristics of oral narration


As narrative According to a general understanding, all texts of the epic are designated and therefore all works that are characterized by a narrator (see narrative perspective) and to that extent allow yourself to be distinguished from drama and lyric poetry. Mostly epic texts are written in prose, although there are examples that are based on verse. Consequently, the story is then a generic term for novels, short stories, short stories, anecdotes, fairy tales, etc. In particular, the term refers to a very specific genre, the characteristics of which, however, cannot be clearly identified. It is essential that it is a rather short story, which usually has a clear introduction, a main part and an ending as well as a clear plot, which distinguishes it from the nested novel, whereby it does not meet the strict criteria of novels and short stories Fulfills. The course of action is mostly made up one Narrative perspective and told chronologically. Flashbacks are more likely to be realized through memories or letters.


Nomennarrative derives from the verb tell from. The verb tell goes to the Middle High German word tell, also tell, back. This originally meant enumerate or to report. Consequently, this is basically the Playback of an event in written and oral form. Someone is telling a piece of content and the result is generally called history or just narrative designated.

In terms of literature The term does not only mean the fact that a person is telling something, but also that this story is mostly fictional, i.e. not real is. This also applies if the narrator asserts in the text that everything he says is true. In general, the term means an umbrella term for literary Epic texts and also a genrewhich, however, has only a few unique characteristics.

Nevertheless, it can be said that the story is a medium-length text that is usually told chronologically, i.e. works without anticipation and flashbacks and can usually be clearly divided into an introduction, a main part and a conclusion, with tension in the course of the story is built up, which reaches its climax in the main part and then falls off in the end (see tension arc).

Features of the narrative

As already described, there are very few features that can be applied to any text in the genre. In addition, the term is sometimes used for all epic texts, which is why a very precise classification is extremely difficult. In the following you will find an attempt to list the essential characteristics that apply to most narratives and are therefore often applicable.

Overview: The essential characteristics of the text type at a glance
  • Basically, a narrative is a story, which passed on orally or in writing becomes. Most of the time, however, the term is used to describe texts that fixed in writing are. Thus the written text of such a narrative is essentially unchangeable and is not subject to any variation. This feature has the text type in common with the novel and distinguishes it from fairy tales, sagas and legends.
  • In addition, it is a Medium length text type. This means that the genre can be distinguished from the small epic forms, such as the anecdote or the short story. However, it is not as extensive as a novel. This feature is of course quite vague, but can be particularly helpful when distinguishing it from small forms.
  • It also holds true that narratives are usually narrated chronologically become. So there are no leaps in time in the form of flashbacks or anticipations. However, if there are time leaps, this is mostly realized through letters or memories that the protagonist reads or thinks - jumping into different times is rather atypical. The same applies to the narrative strands. The most of the narratives are single-stranded and concentrate on one figure / group of figures.
  • Because the text does not jump between times and is therefore told in a linear fashion, the narrative can usually be divided into three broad sections: Introduction, main part and conclusion. The tension increases from the beginning and reaches its climax in the main part.
  • Since the text does not have an enormous length, the Plot manageablewhich also applies to the figure ensemble. For the most part, the story focuses on a protagonist and his engagement with the environment. The The plot is therefore not very extravagant and complex, but stays with the essence.
  • In addition, the genus is characterized by a high intelligibility out. There are all kinds of examples that were written for scholars, but in contrast to drama or poetry, the genre produces numerous works that are designed as consumer goods for members of all levels of education. All you have to do is take a look at the book market, which shows that stories are mostly assigned to fiction and therefore to entertainment literature, whereby they are made up of understandable language and clear figure constellations distinguish. So they are intended for many readers.
  • It also applies that the text fictional- or at least the suspicion is raised that this is the case - and consequently not real is. This means that the narrative reproduces incidents made up by an author, even if these can be based on real events. These imagined events are conveyed by a narrator. In this way, the genre can be distinguished from factual texts of all kinds.
  • Such a narrator is the essential characteristic of epic texts. There are various experiments that push the narrator into the background, but basically there is either an authorial, personal, neutral or first-person narrator who tells the story and with the addressee (Reader, listener) Splits (see narrative perspectives).
  • If such a narrative is not passed on orally, it is Prose texts. This means that the text is not shaped by metrical or rhythmic specifications, is not based on a rhyme scheme and is therefore in unbound speech appears.

  • Note: The above features are not general. They were determined using the specified secondary literature and through our own investigations. This is due to the fact that there are no fixed characteristics, but rather vague attempts to describe the genre.

Building a narrative (German lesson)

As described, the linear plot of such a story is usually divided into a clear introduction, a clear main part and a very obvious conclusion. Basically, these parts can be designed quite freely. However, these sections are assigned certain functions, especially in German lessons. These are explained below.

In the introduction it is basically determined in which tense the text is told. The past tense or the present tense is usually chosen here. Furthermore, there are clear indications in the introduction as to which narrative perspective will fundamentally determine the following text. Furthermore, essential questions are clarified here, which are necessary for an understanding of the narrative. There is information about the place and time of the following events as well as about the prehistory, which can be essential for the story. The introduction is therefore similar to the exposition in the drama (see peripetia).

The main part basically has two tasks. This is how it should drive the tension and tell the essence of the story. On the one hand there is information about the activities of the protagonists and on the other hand the actual core of the narrative. This is where the real thing is told, i.e. what it is all about. Flashbacks and anticipations are mostly realized through dreams, memories or letters. Furthermore, the tension of the story reaches its climax in the main part (see voltage curve).

The end can be either open or closed. If this is closed, the conflict that determined the narrative is resolved and ultimately resolved, whereby the tension falls. If it is open, the narrative again approaches the short story, whereby the tension is broken off rather abruptly.

Example narratives (Selection)

Brief overview: The most important things at a glance
  • According to a general understanding, all texts of the epic are referred to as narrative and therefore all works that are characterized by a narrator and can be distinguished from drama and lyric poetry. In particular, however, this term means a very specific genus, the characteristics of which, however, cannot be clearly identified.
  • It is true, however, that it is mostly a matter of texts in prose, which are described by a narrator, have a rather manageable plot and figure constellation, and are of medium length. In addition, often only a single narrative thread is pursued, thus illuminating the fate of an individual or a small group of figures.

  • Note: The above features are not general. They were determined using the specified secondary literature and through our own investigations. This is due to the fact that there are no fixed characteristics, just vague attempts to describe the genre.