Indiana University Bloomington

Maria Shardakova, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Russian Language Program Director

Maria Shardakova

Office number: BH 574
Office telephone: (812) 855-3370
E-mail address:

Degree: Ph.D., Bryn Mawr College, 2005.

Dissertation: “Interlanguage Pragmatics in the Speech of American Second Language Learners of Russian: Apologies Offered by Americans in Russian”

Specialties/Research Interests: Cross-cultural and interlanguage pragmatics, second language and cross-cultural humor, humor and politeness, bilingualism and identity, second language teaching methodology and assessment.

Started out with research into second-language pragmatics, I have become more and more interested in spontaneous conversational humor and other forms of linguistic creativity. I have published several articles on second-language and cross-cultural humor, exploring connections between linguistic development and playful practics, as well as identity construction and the audience's perception of humor and humorists. I am particularly intersted in second language humor from the developmental point of view and as a means of constructing imaginary words.

Current projects: I am working on several teaching and pedagogy related projects supported by the IU Scholarship of Teaching and Learning grant and the Ostrom grant. On the first project, I am collaborating with our graduate student Elena Doludenko. The goal of this project is to develop new assessment techniques at the higher levels of linguistic proficiency. Instead of testing students' progress in individual skills--listening, speaking, knowledge of sociocultural conventions, etc. - these new types of assessment integrate various linguistic skills and closer imitate real-life communication. For the second project, I am developing a new online Russian language course for business professionals. This is a content-based course that includes a diverse range of topics from cultural differences in business communication to globalization and new technology-driven ways of conducting business.

Selected Publications:

""I Joke You Don't": Second Language Humor and Intercultural Identity Construction, " (forthcoming). In Kinginger, Celeste (ed.) Social and Cultural Aspects of Cross-Border Language Learning in Study Abroad. John Benjamins, Amsterdam/Philadelphia, 2013, 207-238.

"Cross-cultural Analysis of the Use of Humor by Russian and American English Speakers." In Leyre Ruiz de Zarobe and Yolanda Ruiz de Zarobe (Eds.) Speech Acts and Politeness Across Languages and Cultures. Peter Lang AG, International Academic Publishers, Bern, 2012, 197-237.

Interlanguage Pragmatics of the Apology: How Americans Acquire Sociolinguistic Competence in Russian, Verlag VDM Dr. Müller, Germany, 2009.

Courses taught: During my time at IU, I have taught beginning, intermediate, and advanced Russian language courses, as well as a survey course on contemporary Russian culture, and a graduate seminar on Russian language teaching methodology. Prior to my work at IU, I taught all levels of Russian language, courses in pedagogy and second language acquistition, as well as Russian linguistics at the Univerisity of Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr College, Middlebury Summer School, and the University of Maryland. Some of the courses I have taught are: Seoncd Language Acquisition: Theory and Practice; Second Language Teaching Methodology; Identity and Second Language Acquisition; Structure of Russian Language; Old-Church Slavonic; History of Russian Language; Russia from the 9th through 21st Centuries: In Search of Identity; Russian Modernism: Literature, Music, and Visual Arts.