The characters of Estonian three nation jokes (1964–2012) Cover Image

Tegelased eesti kolme rahva naljades (1964–2012)
The characters of Estonian three nation jokes (1964–2012)

Author(s): Arvo Krikmann
Subject(s): Customs / Folklore
Published by: Eesti Kirjandusmuuseum
Keywords: three nation jokes; Soviet period; post-socialist period; ethnic characters; punch line

Summary/Abstract: The present article gives a statistical overview of the characters of Estonian three nation jokes throughout three periods: the Soviet period, the 1990s, and the 21st century. The following subtopics are discussed: 1) The Zipfian distribution of parameters of our joke corpus that complicates text- and type-based statistical analyses (so-called “Zipf’s curse”); 2) The general temporal dynamics of the material and changing of the frequencies of ethnic characters through the three periods of observation; 3) The correlation between the “sequential number” (position) of the character in the text and its function: changes in frequencies of different ethnic characters as “initialisers”, “follow-uppers”, and “punch line-makers” throughout the three periods; the salience of the Estonian as an ethnic figure in the 21st century; exceptional texts with more or fewer than three characters and, related to it, problems of the joke structure (syntagmatic triad versus paradigmatic-parallelistic chain, etc.).

  • Issue Year: 2012
  • Issue No: 52
  • Page Range: 85-110
  • Page Count: 26
  • Language: Estonian