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WILLIAM BASCOM’UN “FOLKLORUN DÖRT İŞLEVİ” IŞIĞINDA NASRETTİN HOCA FIKRALARI ÜZERİNE BİR DEĞERLENDİRME

AN EVALUATION ON NASREDDIN HODJA STORIES IN THE LIGHT OF WILLIAM BASCOM’S “FOUR FUNCTIONS OF FOLKLORE”

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DOI: 
http://dx.doi.org/10.7827/TurkishStudies.7682

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Abstract (2. Language): 
Jokes or humorous anecdotes are products of folk literature in oral tradition existing over a wide geographical area for thousands of years. While some of the jokes originated in Central Asia, some of them reached today from Islamic culture and from the ancient cultures of Anatolia. Besides Turkish culture, the elements of Arabic, Persian, and Anatolian culture began to appear in Turkish humorous anecdotes particularly after the 15th century. Although jokes seem to belong to individuals, in fact they belong to the whole society. Jokes can be set on one or more events. There are different people in each event. The relationship between the people and people and society lie in the centre of the jokes. The subject matters of the tales include discrepancies in community life and conflicts emerging from differences between ideas and behaviours. Jokes function like a mirror which reflects the culture of the society. They are like a perfect painting created by an artist. Each story gives a lesson, expresses a worldview, and makes people laugh. Mankind expresses many serious and continuing concerns which he can not say through jokes. The research study examined the Nasreddin Hodja stories in the light of four functions of folklore identified by W. Bascom. First, some information about Nasreddin Hodja, an important figure in Turkish culture was given and then some important issues argued by William Bascom, one of the prominent representatives of Theory of Functionalism, in his article “Four Functions of Folklore” published in “The Journal of American Folklore” in 1954 were mentioned and the Nasreddin tales were discussed in the light of this information. Theory of Functionalism is one of the most commonly used theories in folklore studies today. Functionalism was introduced to folklore research by Franz Boas, a cultural anthropologist and his students and since then it has become widespread. B. Malinowski (1884-1942) and A. Reginald Radcliffe-Brown (1881-1955) are regarded as the founding fathers of the theory. Following them, the theory was primarily developed by R. Thurnwald (1869-1954) and RuthBenedict (1887-1948) and some other scientists made important contributions. Functionalism was successfully employed in many studies in folklore research. The theory was employed in “Folktales and Society: Story -Telling in a Hungarian Peasant Society” by Linda Degh (1962), a Hungarian folklorist, and also in “The Functions of Folk Costumes in Moravian Slovakia” (1971) by Petr Bogatrev. Functionalism became the pioneer of the theories in folklore studies besides the theories and research models constructed on text–centred paradigms in folklore studies and the theories of telling and listening actions of an oral narrative in written forms and based on context concept included in the social-cultural circumstances (Çobanoğlu, 2002: 236-238). William Bascom is one of the leading representatives of Theory of Functionalism in Folklore. Bascom published an article “Four Functions of Folklore” in “The Journal of American Folklore” in 1954. In his article W. Bascom argued that folklore could serve four primary functions in culture and described them. According Bascom, amusement is one of the most important functions of folklore. There are deeper meanings under many elements of laughter. It is also true for fantasy and dream. The second function of folklore is that folklore validates culture, justifies its rituals and institutions. For example, myth fulfils in primitive cultures an indispensable function. Myths define beliefs and organize them, protect morals, and implement them. Myths confirm the effects of rituals and involve practical rules for mentors. Therefore, myth strengthens tradition; it traces the events at the beginning; it promotes credibility by increasing its value. The third function of folklore is that it plays an important role in education, especially for illiterate cultures. Raum’s study among the Chaga in Eastern Africa reveals the importance of folklore as a pedagogic tool. The giant tales here are used to discipline children and lullabies are sung so that children can have good personality. Fables and tales contain a moral about human behaviours and they are told to teach a moral lesson for people to achieve good behaviour, and get rid of some bad habits and behaviours. Knowledge in many societies is materialized in folklore. Folklore emerges in illiterate societies as a primary element for the education of children. The fourth function of folklore is that it maintains subordination to accepted patterns of behaviour. Apart from validating behaviours and beliefs, some forms of folklore are important with regard to exerting social pressure and exercising social control. African proverbs are quite important for exercising social control because they include strong verifications and they are considered to be suitable for adult life. Proverbs tell people how to act wisely. They are also used with the intention of determining social acceptance and rejection, praising those who choose to accept social customs and criticizing those who diverge from/ make fun of social customs. Proverbs resolve social disputes and discontent, and soothe individuals by helping them to control themselves regarding their environment and fate. Folklore has an important function for the maintenance of social adaptation and integration of an individual into society. Furthermore, folklore is used to inseminate traditions and moral standards in childhood, to reward when behaved accordingly, to punish with criticism when an individual goes astray, to provide rationalism when institutions and customs are questioned, to recommend being contented with them as they are and to enable an individual to escape from the daily life’s challenges and injustices in adulthood (Bascom, 2010: 78-83). The texts used in our analysis were taken from the manuscript “Seyyid Burhaneddin Çelebi -Nasreddin Hoca Lâtifeleri – Burhaniye Tercümesi” (2013) prepared by Fikret Türkmen. The original manuscript is in Public Library in Afyon. The manuscript comprises 58 leafs and the writer of the manuscript is Seyyit Burhaneddin Çelebi, one of the grandsons of Mevlana. There are 121 tales belonging to Nasreddin Hodja in the manuscript. Süheyl Ünver argues that the manuscript is a copy and Seyyit Burhaneddin copied tales/ jokes from this manuscript and he created a book called Burhaniye by explaining each tale’s sufic and moral spirit (Türkmen, 2013: 77). Seyyit Burhaneddin uses the local dialects of Anatolia, particularly Konya, with the tales in his work. The language Hodja uses is the daily language spoken by the public. However, Arabic and Persian words and phrases were occasionally embedded. Nasreddin Hodja is an important name in Turkish culture. Köprülü thinks that Hodja grew up during the Seljuk period (Köprülü, 2004: 22). Boratav suggests that Nasreddin Hodja was born in Sivrihisar in the 13th century, lived and died in Akşehir (Boratav, 1999: 89). Türkmen argues that Hodja was probably born in 1208. According to Türkmen, the Hodja had a good education and died in Akşehir at the end of the 13th century (Türkmen, 2013: 11). Nasreddin Hodja is not only a great humorist but also he is a great philosopher and a man of wisdom. Nasreddin Hodja is well-known particularly in Turkic countries and also in many countries all over the world. The Hodja is the symbol of Turkish sharp wit who resolves the complicated and difficult problems encountered in social life with his intelligence, knowledge, and wittiness in a humorous way and makes people laugh but also makes them think while laughing. Nasreddin Hodja is one of the strongest cultural figures of Anatolia. Moreover, he is the symbolic hero of the public with his jokes which have been told and listened insistently for centuries. Nasreddin Hodja jokes have universal themes. His tolerance, sharp wit, quick-witted responses, his outlook on life and events carried him and his jokes to wide areas in the world. The Hodja is an advisor; the public seeks solutions to any unresolved incidents with this humorous stories. The Turkish nation have consoled themselves with these jokes for centuries and lived with the joy of this humour. Turkish society teased the problems/incidents they encountered in their life under the personality of Nasreddin Hodja. Nasredding Hodja expressed Anatolian people’s life style, humour element, ridicule and fun types, praise and satire abilities with his jokes. The dominant element of his humour is that he is in dilemma with the person’s situation in his jokes. One of the important qualities of Nasreddin Hodja is that he is the creator and narrator of traditions and customs. In addition to making people laugh, his jokes give messages which advise the public to obey the social rules. However, these messages do not have explicit meaning, they are expressed implicitly. In most of the Nasreddin Hodja jokes, positive behaviours of a public educator who gives a lesson with his smiling face are witnessed. There are approaches in these jokes which educate public and give lessons to them. The people that lived in Anatolia explained many issues using his language and also criticised the problems using his intelligence and wit. Nasreddin Hodja jokes have an intellectual essence which disciplines, gives a lesson, and matures. Nasreddin Hodja jokes which exemplify multi-dimensional humorous views fulfil many serious functions from promoting thinking to teaching. With this quality, Nasreddin Hodja is not only a master of humour but also he is an educator. His being an educator is not only related to madrasa and students there but also to the entire society. The Hodja criticizes anything he considers wrong in the society and shows the people right thing. A lot of restricting and restraining attitudes in social life have caused pressure on social life. Humour relieved the individuals living under social pressure, regulated individuals’ relations with the society, and played an important role in social control. Nasreddin Hodja’s humorous stories fulfilled the social control by criticizing the corrupt institutions, attitudes, behaviours and relationships. To conclude, it is regarded that Nasreddin Hodja jokes fulfilled the four functions of folklore stated by William Bascom: spending good time, having fun and amusement; supporting values, social rules, and traditions, fulfilling an instructional role by passing on education and culture to next generations, and escaping from repression imposed on people by society and individuals.
Abstract (Original Language): 
Fıkralar, çok geniş bir coğrafî alan içinde, binlerce yıldan beri sözlü gelenekte yaşayan halk edebiyatı ürünleridir. Fıkralarda Türk halk kültürünün binlerce yıllık yolculuğunda toplum hayatındaki tüm gelişmeleri görebiliriz. Fıkralar hem bireysel hem de toplumsal anlamda Türk kültürünün önemli birer parçasıdır ve kültüre ait değerleri yansıtması bakımından da büyük önem taşımaktadır. Türk halkı olaylar karşısındaki düşünce, tutum ve davranışlarını fıkralarla duyurmuştur. Nasrettin Hoca da Türk kültür hayatında önemli fıkra-tiplerinden biridir. Nasrettin Hoca sadece bir mizah ustası değil, aynı zamanda büyük bir filozof ve halk bilgesidir. Başta Türk ülkeleri olmak üzere Dünya’nın birçok ülkesinde tanınan Nasrettin Hoca, sosyal hayatta karşılaşılan içinden çıkılmaz güç işleri, aklı, bilgisi ve hazır cevaplılığıyla mizahî biçimde çözen, güldüren; ama güldürürken düşündüren keskin Türk zekâsının sembolüdür. Nasrettin Hoca’nın sosyal hayatla ilgili fıkraları zengin bir konu çeşitliliği gösterir. Fıkralarının konuları toplum hayatının hemen hemen bütün alanlarını kapsamaktadır. Nasrettin Hoca hem halk bilgesi hem de fıkra tipi olarak Türklerin yarattığı en ünlü mizah temsilcisidir. Nasrettin Hoca’nın ünü ve etkisi çok geniş bir coğrafyaya yayılmış, kişiliğinde sadece XIII. yüzyıl Türk toplumunun değil, Türk milletinin çağlar boyu süregelen dertleri yansıtılmıştır. İşlevsel Halkbilimi Kuramı halkbilimi çalışmalarında günümüzde en yaygın olarak kullanılan teorilerden biridir. İşlevsel Halkbilimi Kuramı’nın önde gelen temsilcilerinden biri de William Bascom’dur. Çalışmamızda W. Bascom’un tespit ettiği folklorun dört işlevi ışığında Nasrettin Hoca fıkraları incelenmiştir. İncelemenin sonucunda, Nasrettin Hoca fıkralarının, William Bascom tarafından ifade edilen, folklorun hoş vakit geçirme, eğlenme ve eğlendirme; değerlere, toplum kurallarına ve törelere destek verme; eğitim veya kültürün gelecek kuşaklara aktarılarak eğitilmesi; kişisel ve toplumsal baskılardan kaçıp kurtulma işlevlerini yerine getirdiği görülmüştür.

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