Indiana University Bloomington

Maria Shardakova, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Russian Language Program Director

Maria Shardakova

Office number: GA 4042
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 practices, as well as identity construction and the audience's perception of second-language humor and humorists. Currently, I am working on a book-length projected titled “No Laughing Matter: The Reinvention of Russia through Humor.”

Current projects: I am working on several teaching and pedagogy related projects. Two of them are collaborative initiatives supported by the IU Scholarship of Teaching and Learning grant and by the CIBER grant. For the first project, Sofiya Asher and I are developing online interactive assessment instruments for measuring learners’ progress in intermediate-level Russian courses. The second project is carried out under the auspices of the IU Center for Language Excellence and in collaboration with the Kelley School of Business. The goal of this project is to formulate guidelines for teaching business across the foreign language curriculum. Also as a part of my work with the IU Center for Language Excellence, I am developing a series of workshops on pedagogy, assessment, and research.

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:

  • Elementary Russian
  • Intermediate Russian
  • Advanced Intermediate Russian
  • Language of Modernism
  • Second language teaching methods
  • Contemporary Russian culture

Workshops presented:

  • Using Canvas to create assessment activities
  • Assessing students’ oral proficiency in the classroom and beyond
  • Connecting research and foreign language classroom
  • Assessing learners’ sociocultural proficiency