Folk music traces cultural shifts and movements, specifically the recreations, laments, and political ideologies of a culture. William John Thoms, a British writer and self-described antiquary, coined the term folklore in 1846. The corresponding music, much like traditional art, literature, and knowledge, was passed on through oral communication and example. Volk, a German expression that predates both the Great War and World War II, means "people as a whole" and provides further insight into the worlds Thoms researched.  Folklore described the customs, superstitions, and traditions of "uncultured classes," searching for a connection between common folk and the societies of which they were a part.