Comments on: Chukchis In Russian Jokes and In History http://www.geocurrents.info/place/russia-ukraine-and-caucasus/siberia/chukchis-in-russian-jokes-and-in-history Map Illustrated Analyses of Current Events and Geographical Issues Wed, 23 Apr 2014 21:48:00 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 By: Evgeniy http://www.geocurrents.info/place/russia-ukraine-and-caucasus/siberia/chukchis-in-russian-jokes-and-in-history#comment-9910 Tue, 22 Apr 2014 22:40:00 +0000 http://geocurrents.info/?p=4829#comment-9910 1. Well, the area is called Chukotka, that’s what matters. In Alaska, too, not only Aleuts live.

2. Whatever definitions of words are, I am talking about reality. I just picked a word from your post and put it in quotation marks; per this definition, these associations are not stereotypes, but an artistic device.

You said (implied) you left Russia when you were already an adult. Nevertheless, I get the feeling that we share both vocabulary and grammar (I have read some of your Russian articles on your personal page), but treat them differently. Your treatment: “this person is naming an ethnicity, therefore he is talking about this ethnicity”. My treatment: “this person is naming an ethnicity, therefore he is talking about what the thought about this ethnicity makes him think of”. So, for you it is a “real story”, and for me it is a “literary device”.

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By: Asya Pereltsvaig http://www.geocurrents.info/place/russia-ukraine-and-caucasus/siberia/chukchis-in-russian-jokes-and-in-history#comment-9908 Tue, 22 Apr 2014 22:28:00 +0000 http://geocurrents.info/?p=4829#comment-9908 1. However you define “far”, Koryaks and Itelmen live in the same area as the Chukchis. So all these explanations are quite “post hoc”.

2. Stereotypes are by definition what they think about the group. It’s exactly what stereotypes are.

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By: Evgeniy http://www.geocurrents.info/place/russia-ukraine-and-caucasus/siberia/chukchis-in-russian-jokes-and-in-history#comment-9907 Tue, 22 Apr 2014 22:20:00 +0000 http://geocurrents.info/?p=4829#comment-9907 “No, чу in чубук is not associated in any way with Chukchi.” Better formulation of my thought: “… with what Russians think about Chukchi”. What I wrote before was an abbreviation.

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By: Evgeniy http://www.geocurrents.info/place/russia-ukraine-and-caucasus/siberia/chukchis-in-russian-jokes-and-in-history#comment-9906 Tue, 22 Apr 2014 22:15:00 +0000 http://geocurrents.info/?p=4829#comment-9906 1. No, чу in чубук is not associated in any way with Chukchi. Rather, with Ukranians, for this matter. “Cultural”, right, but not having anything to do with Chukchi’s ways of life, rather with the vocabulary of the language and our relation to it (there are not many words with чу, for instance). The word “чу!” was funny for me ever before I thought anything of Chukchi or Ukrainians, just like I first learned the word чубук and only then learned that чуб has to do with Ukrainians. Don’t expect this all is easy to explain: звукопись is the most mysterious literary device.

1. I named four kinds of associations, of them three don’t originate from the jokes. “Far” does not mean just “far”, it means “in the end of the world”. If Alaska was Russian, who knows, maybe Aleuts would fill the gap instead of Chukchi. The British have (as I heard) a special attitude to Australians, who are antipodes, but not to Chinese, even though they are about equally far.

2. My point is that “stereotypes” in these jokes have nothing to do with what Russians think about people. Clear and simple. In other words: the implication “tRussians say in their jokes the following” => “Russians think that people who correspond to common joke entities are following” is wrong. The parts may be considered independently, but there is no connection between them.

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By: Asya Pereltsvaig http://www.geocurrents.info/place/russia-ukraine-and-caucasus/siberia/chukchis-in-russian-jokes-and-in-history#comment-9905 Tue, 22 Apr 2014 21:55:00 +0000 http://geocurrents.info/?p=4829#comment-9905 All of these associations (what’s “funny”, what’s “violent”, what’s expressive etc.) are cultural, not purely linguistic. You say “чубук (a very funny word if you ask me” — it’s not at all funny for me. These are associations/stereotypes etc. which come from somewhere in the culture, not the language itself. Where they come from is exactly from the jokes, not vice versa. So first, Russians “decided” to tell jokes about Chukchis, then “chu” became associated with that. As for being far, check out where Koryaks and Itelmen live. :)

And I think we are making the same point that the stereotypes in these ethnic jokes have nothing to do with the reality of these groups. I am not sure why you argue as if I said the opposite.

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By: Evgeniy http://www.geocurrents.info/place/russia-ukraine-and-caucasus/siberia/chukchis-in-russian-jokes-and-in-history#comment-9904 Tue, 22 Apr 2014 21:06:00 +0000 http://geocurrents.info/?p=4829#comment-9904 literary образ => literary representation.

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By: Evgeniy http://www.geocurrents.info/place/russia-ukraine-and-caucasus/siberia/chukchis-in-russian-jokes-and-in-history#comment-9903 Tue, 22 Apr 2014 21:03:00 +0000 http://geocurrents.info/?p=4829#comment-9903 In a sound independently of any language, of course; inside a language… well. Yes, prior associations are important, and there is commonly no way without them (you can’t make out a sequence of sounds that is just funny and all… well, you can sometimes, try чу-чу-чу), but what are these associations in this case?

First, this is an association of an indigenous people. Second, there is an association of the farthest people, it is important (not only because they are far and can’t hear). It’s like being antipodes. Third, in these circumstances the sound also plays its own independent role: чукча в чуме ждёт рассвета is funny because of two чу, among other things. Compare: чубук (a very funny word if you ask me). The sound of the word, not only with its breaking any norms but with its violent expression (not sure how to say экспрессия, so I choosed the combination “violent expression”) in breaking any norms, also with its thoughtful repetition, provokes, in these circumstances, natural curiosity for opportunities that this word offers for expressing one’s ideas. Fourth, now there already is a literary образ of a чукча, like there already is a literary образ of Армянское радио, so this образ, independently of any ethnicities, works for making new opera. None of the four needs or involves any knowledge, false or otherwise, about chukchi’s ways of life.

There is a reason why I treated the same films and jokes: both are works of art. For both, the reality of philosophical ideas is more important than the reality of real things: I don’t know whether the director (режиссёр) of the film knew that Chukchi were good warriors, there is no way to know whether he knew that, because this is unimportant for the movie. What is important is that people can search for goodness anywhere, and the idea of a place where people are very different works in this direction. They are very different than we, people of the world that we are tired of, therefore they are peaceful. I presume, that this was the logic of the movie, and it worked well, it enabled the stuff to make a good movie filled with interesting contents.

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By: Asya Pereltsvaig http://www.geocurrents.info/place/russia-ukraine-and-caucasus/siberia/chukchis-in-russian-jokes-and-in-history#comment-9902 Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:34:00 +0000 http://geocurrents.info/?p=4829#comment-9902 There is nothing inherently funny in any sound—there’s a lot of research about that. That some sounds or combinations of sounds sound funny to some speakers of some language is only because of prior associations, which are cultural, not linguistic.

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By: Evgeniy http://www.geocurrents.info/place/russia-ukraine-and-caucasus/siberia/chukchis-in-russian-jokes-and-in-history#comment-9901 Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:27:00 +0000 http://geocurrents.info/?p=4829#comment-9901 The word коряк is funny because it associates with the word раскоряка, but this does not provide a ground for “philosophical” jokes. While two ч, plus the combination кч for the second ч, have something like a way of life in their sound. Ительмены does not associate with джентльмены, like игра does not associate with пора: not everything that rhymes makes an association. Conscious puns on ethnic names are non-important here, they are not funny, things like “rush to Russia” or “polish Poland” do not catch on. While чукча в чуме ждёт рассвета simply sounds funny, and here I mean its sound.

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By: Asya Pereltsvaig http://www.geocurrents.info/place/russia-ukraine-and-caucasus/siberia/chukchis-in-russian-jokes-and-in-history#comment-9899 Tue, 22 Apr 2014 20:09:00 +0000 http://geocurrents.info/?p=4829#comment-9899 1. Yeah, you have to choose something, but I don’t think these choices are random at all. Yes, there’s something funny about the “ch” sounds in Chukchi, but I find Koryak equally funny-sounding because of the -yak ending and Itelmen funny because of its rhyming with “gentemen” but a great contrast between the semantics. I can think of a lot of puns one could make around those ethnonyms too, but they are not the protagonists in ethnic jokes, no?

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