Russian Language Blog

Tag Archives: Russian humor

Thanks, mama. Posted by on Nov 22, 2021

mom and daughter arguing

Understanding humor in another language is a whole new level of engaging with it. Those learning Russian know that Вели́кий и Могу́чий Ру́сский Язы́к , being the rich language that it is, loves to indulge in word play and irony. That can be a bit confusing, but with practice and exposure to more Russian jokes…

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Trade Your Life for a Joke? Posted by on Oct 15, 2014

What does it feel like to be arrested for retelling a joke, or even an anecdote? For those living in Russia during Stalin’s reign, it was a reality. Gulags were home to not just societies most dangerous and, therefore, worthy criminals; professors, doctors, all sorts of educated professionals could also call it home – some…

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Пирожки – Funny Internet Rhymes Posted by on Mar 6, 2014

Continuing the topic of Russian humor, I would like to draw your attention to a humorous poetry form that emerged on the Russian Internet a few years back. You are probably familiar with limericks (лимерики), which have caught on in Russia(n), as well. However, there is a newer form that gained some popularity online. The…

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Understanding Foreign Humor: Russian Humor Posted by on Feb 25, 2014

When I first came to America in the distant 2003, many things seemed pretty amazing to me. Sadly, the same could not be said about American humor. Despite the fact that I understood English really well even then, I did not find most of the humor funny. I really tried: I watched multiple episodes of…

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My Connection to Yuri Gagarin, The First Man in Space, and Other Fun Facts About Your New Russian Blogger Jenya Posted by on Feb 4, 2014

1. Yuri Gagarin and I are connected! My связь (connection) to Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, did not become apparent to me until I was 27 years old. Yuri Gagarin was the first Russian космонавт (cosmonaut). Gagarin received his training and met his future жена (wife) in the city of Orenburg. Coincidentally, that…

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Bumper-sticker wisdom in Russian Posted by on Mar 19, 2013

Are you getting tired of telling the driver behind you to Save the Pygmy Hippos? Or maybe you’re thinking that it’s time to scrape off that Re-Elect Carter 1980 bumper-sticker? Well, allow me to offer 10 Russian остроты (“aphorisms; witticisms; quips”) that’d be perfect for a custom-made bumper-sticker. Or a (нагрудный) значок (“pin-on lapel button”)…

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Humor that’s lost-and-found in translation Posted by on Mar 6, 2013

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned “elephant jokes” as an example of humor that translates well because most of the examples don’t depend on language-specific wordplay. So today, let’s consider some puns and quips that are difficult or impossible to translate into English because they hinge on Russian homonyms or on ambiguities of Russian grammar…

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