The Russian Anecdote

The Russian Anecdote: Understanding Russian Jokes and Humor

This course will focus on helping students toward a better understanding of Russian culture through the tool of Russian canned jokes (‘anekdoty’). We will discuss the conceptualization of the world in Russian jokelore (what is taken for granted in Russian jokes and what one needs to know to understand them) and give an account of the rules of telling jokes in Russian as well as the formal means of introducing a joke text into discourse. We will pay special attention to the main characters of Russian jokes, recognizable by the description of their appearance, behavior, clothes and other accessories, and their “linguistic masks,” which correlate with their “behavior masks.” In addition, we will analyze ways of using jokes in the media (in particular, indirect allusions to jokes). The course grade will be based on student homework, participation in class discussion, and a final exam.
Language School
Requirements Fulfilled:
Language & Stylistics


Summer 2014 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

RUSS6684A-L14 Lecture (Shmeleva)