УДК 82-1/29



Oral Text of Zhyrau in Rite and Ritual: Genesis, Forms, Functions

Zhanabaev K., Shaimerdenova N. Zh., Turgenbayeva A. Sh.



Introduction. This article, based on the settings of Parry-Lord's oral theory, poses the problem of revealing the nature of formulae and establishing their meanings for the reconstruction of ancient rite, ritual, as well as for the preservation and transmission of the text by them. The formulaic style is considered for the first time on the phono-semantic, figurative-lexical, syntactic and structural-stylistic levels. The aim of the article is to describe the formulaic features of language, style and structure of oral Zhyrau poetry as the heir to the ancient form and as a source of a new text.

Materials and methods. The study of oral folk culture is an important direction in modern philology, since the preservation of cultural heritage is the most important task of our time. The research material is textually verified editions of Zhyrau of XV — XVIII centuries. Sources: “Bes zhasyr zhyrlaydy”, “Taza minsiz asyl tas”, “Kazak khandyldy dauirindegі әdebiet”. The formulaic method proposed by the authors of the article for the first time gained the perspectives of research of the style and form of the oral poetry, which resulted in understanding of the ancient relations of its genres with rites and rituals.

Results and discussion. The authors were the first to classify the types of formulaic style and structure in Zhyrau poetry of the XV — XVIII centuries, and revealed the connection of traditional poetry genres with rite and ritual. The authors have also shown the creative role of living oral tradition in generating new text and presented a comprehensive analysis of Zhyrau poetry from the position of its formulaic nature in the light of Parry-Lord's oral theory.

Conclusion. All oral poetry is permeated by formality, from elementary sound repetition to the most significant repetition which is found in the Turkic national and world epic. This philological direction has further prospects for the research of oral epic creation, which are connected to the use of new methods and identification of linguistic features of texts with the aim of their further effective translation into different languages. It is also promising to further expand the boundaries of analysis of oral folklore in the context of culture and national features of texts of one or another ethnic group.

Keywords: oral theory, poetic technique, Zhyr (song), Zhyrau (singer), rite, ritual

Funding: The article was executed within the framework of the project “Research of Art-Defining System, “Formulaic Stylistics” and Grammar of Zhyrau Poetry of XV — XVIII Centuries. Frequency Dictionary” (under the Program of Grant Financing of Scientific and Scientific-Technical Projects for 2021 — 2023 by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Republic of Kazakhstan), [IRN AP09261377] at the A. Baitursynov Institute of Linguistics.

For citation: Zhanabaev K, Shaimerdenova NZh, Turgenbayeva ASh. Oral Text of Zhyrau in Rite and Ritual: Genesis, Forms, Functions. Bulletin of the Research Institute of the Humanities by the Government of the Republic of Mordovia. 2023;15(3):202—212. EDN BZBNPG




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The article was submitted 14.06.2023; approved after reviewing 30.06.2023; accepted for publication 07.07.2023.


Information about the author:

Kairat Zhanabayev, Leading Researcher of Zhambyl Center of Kazakh Folklore And Literature's Research of Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (71 Al-Farabi Avenue, Almaty 050040, Kazakhstan), Candidate of Philological Sciences, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4755-6631, ovlur1963@mail.ru

Nursultan Zh. Shaimerdenova, Executive Director of the Research Institute of Turkology and Altaic Studies, Professor of Department of Russian Philology and World Literature of Al-Farabiya Kazakh National University (71 Al-Farabi Avenue, Almaty  050040, Kazakhstan), Doctor of Philological Sciences, Professor, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4755-6631, 777nursulu@mail.com

Aizhan Sh. Turgenbayeva, Master of Education, Junior Researcher of Department of History of Language and Turkology of the A.Baitursynov Institute of Linguistics (29 Kurmanagazy Str., Almaty 050010, Kazakhstan), ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4888-5966, 2008.1985@mail.ru


Contribution of the authors:

Zhanabayev K. — concept development and classification of types of formulaic stylistics and structure in Zhyrau poetry of XV — XVIII centuries; writing the original version of the article; methodology development; Zhyrau translation and analysis of formulaic units functioning; revealing connection of Zhyrau with myth, symbol and archetype; 

Shaimerdenova N. Zh. — processing of the material; review of available Kazakh sources that have been influenced by the oral theory of Parry — Lord in relation to the Zhyrau poetry; identification and description of the effectiveness and prospects of the research; scientific editing of the text;

Turgenbayeva A. Sh. — data collection on the sources in Kazakh and Russian; card index work at the Institute of Linguistics of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Kazakhstan to identify additional contexts; technical editing and manuscript preparation for publication.


Conflict of interests: the authors declare no conflict of interests.


The authors have read and approved the final version of the manuscript.