Elena Shmeleva


 work(802) 443-2006
 Sunderland Language Center



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

RUSS 6502 - Adv Conversation Practicum      

Advanced Conversation Practicum

Students in this class will focus on expanding their lexicon and syntactical repertoire in scholarly and journalistic speech and on preparing scholarly presentations in their area of interest. The main themes will be political, economic, and cultural, as students approach interesting and sometimes controversial topics concerning contemporary Russian society and culture. Students will read assigned articles from scholarly and media sources; watch videos on Russian politics, society, and culture; discuss these materials; and write compositions. Linguistics Language & Stylistics

Summer 2014 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session, Summer 2017 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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RUSS 6507 - Russian Syntax & Punctuation      

Russian Syntax and Punctuation

Russian syntax is a very interesting and important part of Russian grammar. Without knowledge of Russian syntactic constructions, one cannot understand the rules of Russian punctuation. We will examine all the main Russian syntactic structures, such as verbal and nominal word combinations and simple and compound sentences, and discuss “free” word order in Russian. Students will listen to lectures, complete exercises, read Russian writers and analyze their texts, and write essays. Grades will be determined according to participation in class discussions, homework, weekly tests and compositions, and a final exam.

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Summer 2015 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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RUSS 6518 - Russ Lang: Regional Varieties      

Regional Varieties of the Russian Language

The standard literary Russian language exists in several regional varieties characterized by some peculiarities in the sound system, vocabulary, and grammar, and even by their own literary norms. In class we will discuss language policy in the Soviet Union and Russian Federation, as well as Russian dialects and regional varieties of Russian, from the Far East to Kaliningrad and from Arkhangelsk to Makhachkala. We will examine also the varieties of Russian outside Russia. In the course students will discover the difference between Moscow and Saint-Petersburg pronunciation and will learn the characteristics of the vocabulary of the residents of Ekaterinburg, Irkutsk, or Rostov-na-Donu. Students will read Russian writers from various origins, watch the regional broadcasts, and prepare presentations about different Russian regions. Linguistics Language & Stylistics

Summer 2017 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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RUSS 6604 - History of Russian Language      

History of the Russian Language

In this course we will focus on the language situation in Russia from the 11th to the 21st centuries. We will address the historical and socio-cultural factors that have played a role in the development of the Russian language. We will trace the development of the sound and grammatical structures of Russian over the past thousand years and find relics of old forms in modern Russian. Over the course of many centuries, both Church Slavonic and native East Slavonic varieties appear to have been in use, sometimes coexisting and sometimes mixing with each other. Though the breakthrough of a unified standard based on the East Slavonic variety took place in the 18th to 19th centuries, we can see the interaction of Church Slavonic and East Slavonic in modern Russian texts.

By the end of this course students should be able to:
1. discuss the most important historical and socio-cultural events in Russian history;
2. discuss phonetic and morphological developments in the history of Russian;
3. identify old grammar forms in modern Russian;
4. identify Church Slavonic versus East Slavonic forms in Russian; and
5. analyze Russian language of the 21st century from a historical perspective. Civ Cul & Soc Linguistics Language & Stylistics

Summer 2016 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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RUSS 6606 - Word Formation      

The Russian lexicon is enriched primarily through word formation. Most Russian words are derived from other words, and the rich word-formation possibilities of Russian allow for the derivation of words according to certain models. As a result of word-formation processes, there are “nests” (gnezda) of words, occasionally dozens of them, that share a common root, for example: letet’ – vletet’, zaletet’, pereletet’, priletet’, uletet’, letat’, vletat’, lyotchik, polyot, etc. Prefixes and suffixes add nuances of meaning and emotional coloring. Knowledge of word formation helps with the comprehension of Russian texts, where authors frequently use neologisms that do not appear in dictionaries, and the ability to deploy word-formation techniques increases one’s vocabulary and significantly enriches speech Linguistics Language & Stylistics

Summer 2018 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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RUSS 6607 - The Language of Propaganda      

The Language of Propaganda: Linguistic Manipulation and Hate Speech in Russian

The aim of the course is to study manipulative mechanisms of the Russian language with two purposes in mind: to avoid falling under the influence of propaganda, on the one hand, and to learn how to create manipulative texts in Russian, on the other. Russian offers speakers a rich arsenal of means to realize propagandistic aims. Manipulative functions of discourse create a covert, masked layer of linguistic data that is not easily separated from purely informational content. This is why manipulative texts are not so easy to identify or translate. We will consider linguistic means typical of manipulative texts and language signs of different levels that help us interpret the speaker’s intentions. We will discuss hate speech, now used in Russian political communication. Students will listen to lectures, read articles from the Russian media and internet, watch videos on Russian politics and society, discuss these materials, and write compositions. Grades will be based on participation in class discussions, weekly compositions and oral presentations, and a final examination. Linguistics Language & Stylistics

Summer 2015 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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RUSS 6608 - Russian Humor      

Understanding modern Russian culture is hardly possible without an understanding of Russian humor. Russian jokelore is a source of direct quotations, allusions, and pithy sayings used in Russian mass media and modern literature. Jokes are very popular in Russia, and joke-telling is practiced in every part of society, at all ages. Understanding Russian jokes requires not only good knowledge of Russian, but also general cultural knowledge. The analysis of what is taken for granted in Russian jokes shows that the conceptualization of the world in Russian jokelore (e.g., the vision of family life) differs not only from what is presented in American jokes but also from the worldview characteristic of ordinary Russian discourse. For many jokes, the audience must be in the know about recent political events, or popular TV advertising; in addition, they should be able to recognize the main characters that act in the fictitious world of the jokes. We will focus on different humor genres, such as popular Soviet genres “chastushki” and “anekdoty” (canned jokes) and modern Russian netlore, including memes, postcards, and “pirozhki.” Civ Cul & Soc Linguistics Language & Stylistics

Summer 2018 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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RUSS 6684 - The Russian Anecdote      

The Russian Anecdote: Understanding Russian Jokes and Humor

This course will focus on helping students toward a better understanding of Russian culture through the tool of Russian canned jokes (‘anekdoty’). We will discuss the conceptualization of the world in Russian jokelore (what is taken for granted in Russian jokes and what one needs to know to understand them) and give an account of the rules of telling jokes in Russian as well as the formal means of introducing a joke text into discourse. We will pay special attention to the main characters of Russian jokes, recognizable by the description of their appearance, behavior, clothes and other accessories, and their “linguistic masks,” which correlate with their “behavior masks.” In addition, we will analyze ways of using jokes in the media (in particular, indirect allusions to jokes). The course grade will be based on student homework, participation in class discussion, and a final exam. Language & Stylistics

Summer 2014 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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RUSS 6710 - Intertextuality in Russian Dis      

Intertextuality in Russian Discourse

Intertextuality means that texts gain meaning not only through their reference to an external reality, but also by their reference to pre-existing texts. The understanding of Russian texts requires not only knowledge of Russian grammar and vocabulary, but also background knowledge of quotations, clichés and winged words. Modern Russian literature, media, and private communication bristle with quotations from novels and movies, allusions and references to historic events or TV shows. In this course we will try to reproduce the intertextual vocabulary of an average native Russian speaker and learn to recognize unacknowledged quotations in Russian texts. We will read fairy tales, classical and modern Russian literature, watch movies and cartoons, tell jokes and discuss social networks. By the end of the course, students will have a better understanding of the meaning and underlying themes of Russians texts and will have learned many popular expressions. Linguistics Literature Language & Stylistics

Summer 2016 Language Schools, LS 6 Week Session

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