The Reflection of Russian Effect on Kazan Tatar Anecdotes within the Context of Language Policies

Yıldız N., Yılmaz G.

MILLI FOLKLOR, no.118, pp.27-38, 2018 (AHCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Journal Name: MILLI FOLKLOR
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.27-38
  • Keywords: Humour, anecdote, Russian, language policy, Kazan Tatar
  • Ankara Haci Bayram Veli University Affiliated: Yes


Language is a term with many definitions and functions. Apart from being the basic communication tool and a living creature, language is the most important agency that enables the development of a nation, and helps a nation to carry its culture and identity into the future. Language is also the culture; and with this aspect, it has the ability to take us to a journey from the future to the past. Throughout the history, the effects of languages on nations have been used in accordance with various ideologies, and societies have been tried to be put into demanded stereotypes. Within this scope, dominating a wide geography, Russians effectively benefited from the language policies during Russification activities they used for different ethnic groups that lived under Russian domination. With the conquest of Kazan Khanate in 1552, Kazan Tatars had lived under Russian domination for a long time, and they had been densely exposed to Russification policies both in Czarist Russia and in the Soviet Union periods; and this effect has still continued today. One of the fields in which Russification policies has been densely observed is the language context. One of the most fundamental sources through which we can monitor the reflections of Russian effects that have lasted for hundreds of years is folklore products. It is possible to recognize a community's frame of mind, world perspective, traditions, and customs through folklore products. It is known that social, political, and geographical events that the societies have been subjected to reflect on folklore products; and, folklore products are direct or indirect witnesses of events that have occurred. One of the folklore products that social critic tool and reflect a society's frame of mind, the events it has experienced, and their reactions against these events is anecdotes. In this study, the reflection of Russian language policies on Tatar culture will be analysed within the frame of Kazan Tatar anecdotes. As one of the important folklore products, anecdotes are among the main genres that uncover the humour; however, humour is not a tool which is only used to laugh. It also reflects social events that societies have experienced or the reactions that the societies have given to these events. Laughing is one of the most harmless and natural protests. When humans manage laughing, it sometimes becomes a weapon sometimes becomes a shield; human beings can hurt the others through laughing or can use laughing in order to protect themselves and to make themselves relax. People can express the despair they have experienced again through laughing or making others laugh. From this perspective, when Kazan Tatar anecdotes are analysed, it can be said that many elements of social life are reflected in anecdotes. One of these elements is how Russian language is imposed on Kazan Tatars within the context of language policies and the results of this situation.