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New publication out: Variation in Folklore and Language (eds. Piret Voolaid and Saša Babič). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2019

We are happy to present to you a new publication titled Variation in Folklore and Language, published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing in October 2019. The publication edited by Piret Voolaid and Saša Babič focuses on issues related to variations in language, folklore, and music/dance, and the confluences and connections between different variations. The authors of nine chapters deal with different temporal aspects of variation: synchronic and diachronic, different levels (individual, local, regional, historical), comparisons (registers, dialects, genres), factors influencing variation, and methods for studying them. Variation is seen as the main basis for the dynamics of folklore, and an issue of typology; variation makes the world go round.
An important part of the volume is dedicated to variations of myths and motifs, creativity, intertextuality, and transmediality.
The volume opens with the chapter “Ethnos in Words”, which discusses one of the frequently used methods in research culture, i.e., ethnolinguistics as a special method occurring on the borderline of linguistics, ethnology, and folkloristics.
Antra Kļavinska’s article focuses on the toponymic and anthroponymic system of the Latgale dialect and Latgalians’ analyses of the contextual semantics of the ethnonyms denoting Estonians in the texts of Latgalian folklore and in the corpus of modern Latgalian texts.
Nikolai Antropov discusses the continuation and variation of the Moscow ethnolinguistic school in the Belarusian context, emphasizes their similarities and differences, and shows how one method can manifest variations in different cultural contexts.
Elena Boganeva demonstrates the use of the motif of the Tower of Babel in the Belarusian oral Bible. Her discussion is extended with variants of the Babel motif found in Slavic folklore, as well as with parallels and similarities in the structural motifs of other topics of the Old Testament.
The second part, “Colourful Folklore”, consists of three studies on the variation of colours in folk tradition. Tiiu Jaago discusses colour variation in Estonian folk songs and focuses on the use of ‘red’ and ‘blood-red’ in Estonian regilaul, based on the concept of formula.
Chapters written by Piret Voolaid and Saša Babič discuss riddles and a variety of colour names within them. The articles complement each other by offering a comparison between two different languages (Estonian vs. Slovenian), language groups (Finno-Ugric vs. Slavic) and environments (north vs. south). They provide a detailed insight into folk perceptions of colours and into how the variations of their cognitive imaginaries are presented in riddles; they also discuss how the genre of riddles has varied through time.
The third part, “Culture and Entertaining Variation”, discusses festival, dance, and media variations within time and society. Yulia Krasheninnikova introduces folkloric archival data on Saint Nicholas’ Day in Kazhym and revitalization of this holiday. The next study is a folkloristic research on dance by Sille Kapper and Madli Teller. Based on the reviewed Hungarian and Norwegian examples as well as their own research in Estonia, the authors suggest that the methodical analysis of audio visual sources – both formal and embodied – is applicable for rediscovering the bodily knowledge inherent in the variability of traditional dance.
The last chapter by Siim Sorokin takes us into the present time with today’s television genre and analyses the discourse of a television serial Breaking Bad, with a focus on the blogs presenting viewers’ discussions. The article gives an overview of the variety of ways that people express themselves on provocative topics.
The volume is a result of a transdisciplinary annual conference that was organized by the Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies under the heading Variation in Language, Literature, Folklore, and Music, in cooperation with the Estonian Literary Museum and the University of Tartu, in Tartu, Estonia, on 7–8 December 2017. It was the fifth conference in the series “Dialogues with Estonian Studies”, and it brought together international scholars working in the spheres of culture, literature, linguistics, folklore, communication, humour studies, translation and interpretation.
The edition of this book was made possible thanks to the support of the Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies (CEES, TK 145, European Regional Development Fund) and is related to research projects “Narrative and Belief Aspects of Folklore Studies” (IUT 22-5, Estonian Research Council) and Mobilitas Pluss postdoctoral researcher grant “Tradition and Innovation: Short Forms of Folklore and Contemporary Cultural Dialogues” (MOBJD33, Estonian Research Council).

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