The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 8, No 1 (2020)

Concept “humour” in the linguistic consciousness of the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine

Iuliia Kobzieva, Iia Gordiienko-Mytrofanova, Maryna Udovenko, Serhii Sauta


The purpose of this study was to define and to describe the semantic components of the stimulus word humour in the linguistic consciousness of young Russian-speaking people from Eastern Ukraine. The main method of the research was a psycholinguistic experiment. The sample comprised 400 young people (aged 20-31), males and females being equally represented. The experiment proved that the concept humour in the linguistic consciousness of the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine is represented by four core semantic clusters: “laughter,” “joke,” “merry-making/joy” and “show.” Analysis of female and male associative fields shows that the semantic core of the word humour does not depend on the respondents’ gender identification. The results of frequency and cluster analysis have implied a number of the following conclusions. Firstly, humour and laughter form an inseparable unity of stimulus and reaction in the linguistic consciousness of respondents, although the psychological paradigm considers humour and laughter as two independent phenomena. Secondly, the cognitive component of humour was only reflected in the peripheral cluster “mind” of respondents’ associations. Thirdly, young Russian-speaking people from Ukraine do not have an ideal image of humour represented by a certain comedy show or relevant to any specific comedians. The generalised visualisation of humour is represented by reactions of the extreme periphery. Finally, comparative analysis of the verbalised concept humour in the linguistic consciousness of Russian-speaking population of Ukraine and people who live in Russia did not reveal any national-specific features in the perception of stimulus humour.



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