Teaching emotive language use in a beginners’ course of Russian


  • Irina Spita Åbo Akademi University
  • Martina Björklund Åbo Akademi University


Russian, emotivity, diminutive, pragmatic functional situation


The Russian language abounds with affixes for indexing speakers’ age, sex, social status, relations, and the attitude to the topic of conversation, but despite their frequent use, most textbooks and exercises neglect this crucial aspect. The present article reports the empirical experience of teaching an experimental course design of Russian for beginners. The textbook material was enhanced with in-depth work on emotive morphology in text analyses and creative speaking exercises, aiming at skills of interpreting and responding to speech situations with an emotional layer. The results are solid and show that this course design can promote communicative skills and creative handling of vocabulary without excessive lexical burden. By the end of the course, the students distinguished the use of diminutives in baby talk, companionship, emotional manipulation, flirting, politeness, and sales promotion, and could adjust their speech to the circumstances and purpose of the situation.