“I joke you don’t”

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This chapter reports on a cross-sectional experimental study that explored L2 humor as a means of identity construction. The study focused on the relationship between intended identities claimed by American learners of Russian through humor, and their received identities by native speakers and peers alike. To explain observed differences in focal identity traits between the native speaker group and the learner group, the study drew on Schwartz’s universal model of human values (1992). The study examined the effects of proficiency and study abroad on learners’ identity construction through humor and on the ensuing reception by native speakers as well as learners of Russian.


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