Slot:       29A-7          Dec. 29, 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.                                                

Panel:     Language Through Culture: Cultural and Linguistic Environment in Teaching Language

Chair:     Olga Mesropova, Iowa State University


Title:      "Lazan′ja s rukkoloj i lobster ot Pinokkio": The Language of the New Russian Food Criticss

Author:   Leonid Ivanov, Vinogradov Institute of Russian Language, Russian Academy of Sciences

Since the beginning of the 21st century regular restaurant and food reviews have imperceptibly started to appear in the most important Russian newspapers and magazines. Dining reports have found their way into the web-media (e.g., a widely popular, and finally with Dmitrij Nazarov’s program Kulinarnyj poedinok appeared on TV. All this shows that the new media genre: Russian Food Critics or RFC is emerged. Just a few years before, at the end of the 20th century the situation looked different. Till late 90s restaurant reviews used to be published in just one newspaper and its weekly supplement. Before the 90s RFC was not known at all. This kind of exact chronology makes RFC a convenient object for those who describe genres and their history for different purposes, first of all for the study of Russian language.

RFC represents a seldom case in the genre studies, when both “place of birth” and “parents” of the genre are supposed to be known. RFC was born on the pages of the first Russian business newspaper of perestroika time, Kommersant. If the “father” of RFC is believed to be Aleksandr Vasiljev, journalist and later editor-in-chief of Kommersant, the role of RFC “mother” may claim Darja Cyvina, who was appointed to write about her restaurant experience.

This report presents a short history of the contemporary RFC and contains more detailed characteristics of its linguistic and compositional features, inclusive some remarks on the structure of a restaurant review.

One of the typical features of the genre is the high concentration of foreign lexical borrowings, which do not appear anywhere else, probably except for the menus of the respective eating institutions. RFC may be considered as one of the few mass genres mostly saturated with loan words.


Title:       Which Ukrainian? The Normative Meltdown and the Challenge of Teaching Ukrainian as a Second Language

Author:   Yuri Shevchuk, Columbia University

During the period of Soviet domination, the Ukrainian language suffered both external assimilatory pressures and interference into its very structure. The external pressures pursued the goal of ousting it from strategic spheres of communication where social values, hierarchies, and power relations were negotiated, primarily, government, the press, broadcast media, cinema, and relegating it to marginal use in areas that had little or no political consequence. The interference into its inner structure took the forms of changes imposed by fiat in the rules of grammar, morpho-phonetics, and vocabulary that were designed to remove the features that marked Ukrainian as distinct from Russian. The goal of this interference was to facilitate the eventual “convergence” of Ukrainian with Russian.

Today as the result of these policies, Ukrainian has no universally accepted  literary norm. Ukrainian speaking community is split into those who follow the rules established by the Soviet regime, and those who call for the revival of pre-Soviet language norms. The absence of normative unanimity presents a serious challenge in the teaching Ukrainian as a foreign language.

This paper will consider in detail the situation “on the ground” in Ukrainian language pedagogy in North America, that has been traditionally influenced by the presence of Ukrainian diaspora institutions in favor of the pre-Soviet language norms and the increasing necessity to find a way out of the normative conundrum and minimize its detrimental effects on the language acquisition. The paper is based on the author’s extensive experience of teaching Ukrainian (elementary, intermediate and advanced levels) at Harvard and Columbia Universities. Special attention will be paid to how the process of vocabulary and grammar acquisition is affected by the meltdown of Ukrainian language standard on the one hand and by the increasing recognition of the Western Ukrainian (Lviv) language variety as another literary standard alongside the Kyiv-Poltava one. Strategies of meeting the challenges these phenomena present will be discussed.