“Laughter and Sex Prolong Life”: Current Trends in the Humour Practices of Russian-Speakers in Estonia


  • Guillem Castañar Rubio University of Tartu
  • Anastasiya Fiadotava Estonian Literary Museum; Jagellonian University
  • Liisi Laineste Estonian Literary Museum


Russian-speakers in Estonia, identities, forms of humour, humour topics, sharing humour


We investigate the humour production, consumption and sharing of Russian-speakers in Estonia, based on the self-reflections and self-perceptions of their humour preferences and other humour-related behaviour. By studying the representation of the humour practices of this important minority community we can get a more complete picture of humour in Estonia. Analysis of survey results reveals that according to Russian-speakers, among their favourite topics were everyday life, and sex- and family-related matters. Visual humour was the most popular form. Respondents mentioned social media as the primary way of sharing humour, but oral transmission remained important as well. The language of the shared humour was primarily Russian, and the content was mainly not specific to the Estonian cultural context. As humorous vernacular expression offers insights into the mechanisms of identity-building and integration, the choice of language and of source can be interpreted as a way to create and maintain a local identity. On the whole, Russian-speakers in Estonia are reluctant to discuss their minority status in a humorous manner.


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