International journal

Speech Genres

ISSN 2311-0759 (Online)
ISSN 2311-0740 (Print)

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Vorkachev S. G. Dirty hands: Bribery in Russian anecdote. Speech Genres, 2021, no. 2(30), pp. 118-125. DOI: 10.18500/2311-0740-2021-2-30-118-125

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Dirty hands: Bribery in Russian anecdote

Vorkachev Sergey Grigorievich, Kuban State Technological University

The study of the speech-genre and formal-semantic properties of Russian anecdotes on bribery is based the corpus of anecdotes, which also include jokes of Russian-speaking Ukrainians, differing from Russian ones only in the names of the “protagonists” appearing in them. It is established that the main means of creating a pun in a joke are the lexical and grammatical polysemy and homonymy, playing off the phonetic similarities and spontaneous humor. The comic effect in jokes on bribery can also be created by playing off idioms – their literalization or replacement of components. According to the corpus of anecdotes, the authorities act as an almost “exclusive” subject of bribery – officials of all ranks, police authorities and lawmakers. In the corpus of jokes on corruption, the axiological and praxeological aspects of bribery are traced clearly: the general attitude of society towards a bribe and its assessment. The research claims the ubiquity of bribery in power structures, and with regard to the miraculous disappearance of corruption, one can feel extreme pessimism as it is ineradicable and inescapable. Humor as the ability to notice the ridiculous side of someone or something and present it in a maliciously mocking form in the corpus of jokes on bribery is practically absent due to the domination of sarcasm and irony. In jokes, all the denunciatory pathos is directed at bribe-takers, towards whom there is hatred, impotent rage and hyperbolic cruelty. The “fight against corruption” is purely imitative, but it has several nonfictitious functions: a tool for reprisal against competitors and those who do not fit into corruption schemes. Among socio-cultural functions of the jokes on corruption, in addition to the entertainment function, the article identifies the cathartic-therapeutic function, aimed at relieving a psychological stress caused by the prevalence of bribery, and the aggression function, specified in the outrage by corruption.    

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