Communicative universals as a means of teaching multilingual students of language universities


Language universals in their deep meaning from the point of view of the methodology' of teaching foreign languages (Iinguodidactic universals) as a concept containing in addition to the linguistic, sociocultural, cultural and pragmatic components are considered in this article. Also in this paper we will focus on the last component, pragmatic or communicative, and on the example of its reflection in teaching of Kazakh and English languages. Since the communicative function of the language is the leading one. it is possible to speak about the existence of communicative (pragmatic) universals, steps and components that wc will analyze. Tliis study shows that learning communication in a foreign language, taking into account the identified pattern, is possible on the material of any language. Therefore, mastering this system while learning the first foreign language can facilitate the development of Commmiicative competencies in the second foreign language, despite the linguistic differences of these languages. Also in this article it is presented that the consideration of Coimnunicative miiversals in the teaching of several languages is an effective way of forming functional multilingualism in a short time.


The topicality of the research is determined by the fact that nowadays teaching several foreign languages, especially in special faculties of universities, is an urgent requirement because it allows us to improve competencies in the languages we have already studied and to start independent study of new languages.

The aim of this article is to substantiate the principles of the so-called "bilingual education", on the basis of which, in our opinion, training should be based on special departments of language universities. Bilingual type of education is one of the approaches to learning foreign languages, in which the creation of a mechanism for switching from one language to another is highlighted as a subject of study. It is considered, that the bilingual education system is a parallel learning in a single concept for two different languages. The language is considered primarily as a tool for introducing special knowledge to the world, and the content of training is distinguished by the combination of the subject and language components in all parts of the educational process. The problem of the interaction of learning two foreign languages and the possibility of relying on the first foreign language in the study of the second were regarded by many researchers (TL. Bim, N.D. Galskova, G.A. Kitaygorodskaya, B.A. Lapidus, A.S. Markosyan, A.V. Shchepilova, etc.). However, the creation of a unified system of teaching several foreign languages, which implies the teaching Ofmultilingualism, needs further research, especially in the study of unrelated languages. For a number of years bilingualism has been studied from different perspectives.

According to U. Weinreich, one of the first researchers in the theory of language interaction said, bilingualism is the knowledge of two languages and their alternate use depending on the conditions of verbal communication. He does not indicate the degree of proficiency in languages, it simply means that the practice of using languages in turn already implies the very possibility of using each of them for communication. At the same time, the degree Ofmastering a new language is, as a rule, a stumbling block for researchers [2].

E.M. Vereshchagin identifies three levels of bilingualism depending on the degree of proficiency in the language: receptive (understanding of speech works belonging to the secondary language system), reproductive (ability to reproduce what is read and heard) and productive (ability to not only understand and reproduce, but also to build whole meaningful statements) [3]. In our case, we are focused on the formation of productive bilingualism.

From the point of view of the status of languages, as other scientists notice, that bilingualism is also distinguished as horizontal, which means knowledge of two different languages that have the same status in the official and cultural life of society, as well as in the family, vertical (same as diglossia). It means proficiency in the standard language along with a different (albeit related) dialect, and diagonal bilingualism is an individual's use of a dialect along with an unrelated standard language. This classification reflects the Sociolinguistic position and is related to the causes Ofbilingualism in society or in the individual — such as public policy (for example, compulsory study of the Kazakh language in schools of national republics, territories, etc. OfKazakhstan), emigration abroad or long stay in a foreign country, raising a child in an international family, the need for broader self- expression (in particular, the vocabulary of small nations is usually less rich) and self- affirmation (the ability to get more her prestigious work, etc.), personal linguistic and culturological preferences [12].

In addition to this, taking into account the time and order of mastering languages, the following are distinguished: co-ordinating bilingualism (equal ownership of two nonintersecting language systems, which correspond to two different systems of concepts), mixed type, when the second language is assimilated with the already formed system of the native (first) language, and two different expression plans correspond to one value, and subordinate, which translates from the first language to the second, i.e. there is no direct connection between the expression plan on the second language and concepts denoted by it [9]. So it is obvious that the most desirable is a coordination, or at least a mixed bilingualism in the conditions Ofinstitutionalized learning of foreign languages.

Another classification of interest in the methodology of teaching foreign languages is the division Ofbilingualism into additive, when mastering a new language does not adversely affect the skills and abilities of the first language, but enriches bilingual linguistically and culturally; and subtractive, when the second language competes with the first and develops to the detriment of it. This situation is mainly observed in ethnolinguistic minorities, where children receive education in the language of the majority, and the role of the native language is constantly decreasing. A similar situation may occur in the conditions of a specialized university when, due to the different status of languages, situations of their use, teaching methods or schedule features, a new language is used by students more actively than the previously mastered ones [10].

In this paper, we will operate with the following understanding of bilingualism described by G.A. Kitaygorodskaya such as: functional knowledge of two (or more) languages, that is, one that provides the realization of the most important, communicative, function of these languages. At the same time, as a criterion for bilingualism, she suggests considering students' awareness that they can communicate in another language, understand the intentions of the interlocutor, and express their thoughts. This awareness occurs in different students at different times: for someone, a simple exchange of greetings causes satisfaction, while others do not consider themselves able to communicate until a competence close to that of a native speaker is achieved. Undoubtedly, there are certain requirements for the level of language proficiency in the training of specialists in a language university; and yet, within the framework of this level, the key point in teaching foreign languages is a personal sense of the ability to communicate in a language, even with a limited set of vocabulary and grammatical constructions. It is this meaning that we put into the definition of "functional bilingualism", and it is obvious that with such an interpretation, the development of bi- or multilingualism in the context of a language higher education institution seems to be a quite feasible task [5].

Having defined functional bilingualism as an aim, which should be subject to teaching foreign languages in a language university, let us analyze those universals that might serve in our opinion as basis for learning several foreign languages.

It is noticed that in recent years, the problem of language universals has grown from a purely linguistic to the problem of methods of teaching languages. A.Marcosyan talking about the second language acquisition introduces the concept of "Iinguodidactic universals", which includes several components [7].

  1. The linguistic component describes any language as a structure comprising several interconnected systems (phonetic, morphological, lexical, syntactic).
  2. The sociocultural component brings to the fore the interrelation of language and culture, the language and thinking of the people speaking it, the peculiarities of using the language by various social, age, gender, etc. in groups.
  3. The cognitive component summarizes all the above components and is based on the relationship between language and thinking. This component also considers human experience as a kind of universal, because it unites people and makes them Homo Sapiens itself. At the same time, each person has his own, unique experience of life, which to some extent separates him from others, separates with his own kind.
  4. The pragmatic component views the language from the point of view of its functions and emphasizes the properties of the language as a means of communication, oral and/or written, in various communicative situations [7].

As far as the cognitive- communicative approach to learning foreign languages concerned, we can agree with the following point that the most common in feature in a foreign language teaching procees should be the communicative context. Thus for instance, on the basis of short dialogues from a textbook, you can ask students to create a dialogue with a certain communicative intention. Dialogical way of teaching might include various life situations where students can be grouped by performing the following operations.

TL. Bim illustrates some examples:

Task 1: Compose the short dialogues from the textbook with all substitutions Create your own conversations by combining the replicas according to the following communicative intentions:

  • make someone join you and go to some place;
  • explain that you need a rest;
  • boast that you are good at many things and promise to teach others to do them.

However, at the initial stage of training, with a lack of understanding by the students of the structure of the communicative situation and communicative intent, this task may turn into a formal selection of replicas and their reproduction. It is more expedient to begin work on the accumulation of communication experience from smaller, but not less important steps that we identified when correlating a communicative situation, which is a mirror reflection of the stages of generating a statement, with another linguistic- psychological universality — a communicative intention. Let us present the result in the form of a table demonstrating the order of target components in a system of communicative situations, combining both linguistic and extralinguistic aspects of communication.

To prove the universality of the proposed order, we consider how the above- described correlation affects the choice and order of constructing tasks in Kazakh and English. Using the example of these tasks, we will also analyze how communication training can be carried out on the basis of the accumulation of communication experience.

Learning communication, even at the initial stage, it is advisable to start with the most elementary stage of the components of communicative intent: how (with what intonation)?teaching, for example, the expression of the mood of communicants (component la):

The main thing in this task is speech orientation and making the speech lively. What is more, it is important to analyze the emotional-psychological balance and its development in the conversation. So, if our learning goal is a dialogue, then initially the moods of communicants should somewhat contradict each other, but the spectrum of moods in the course of the dialogue may change. At advanced stages, such a task may become more complex due to the implementation of meaningful, lexical, structural and other text adaptations in accordance with a given mood. This task applies to any language, as the rules of emotional interaction are true for any culture. However, it is worth paying students' attention to the fact that English culture is characterized by a certain restraint in conversation, especially with unfamiliar people. Thus, in English, the expression of moods can occur not only due to the characteristics of the voice but largely due to the pause, lengthening of the final syllables, the rate of speech. Particular attention should be paid to intonation, which can significantly change exactly the mood, the attitude of the interlocutors to the subject matter [6].

The next stage is learning the selection Oflinguistic content: how (in what words) to say (stage 2) in accordance with the given characteristics of communicants (for example, the social rank of interlocutors, component 2a).

In English, the status of the interlocutor can be determined by lexical characteristics (the use of colloquial "Oh, bother!", Informal "Thanks") or by grammatical forms (the tension "What’s") [4]. In Kazakh, such a task can be aimed at presenting the style of everyday communication (up to this point, students were familiar only with a neutral polite style), at analyzing the characteristics of communicants with subsequent grammatical-lexical transformation depending on the change of such characteristics.

After we have learned to choose the lexical and grammatical content of the utterance in accordance with a specific intention, students move to a logical sub- level at which the overall design is formed and the semantic scheme of the utterance is defined: what and how (in what sequence) to say.

The task is directed not so much to the content, as to the analysis of the structure of the utterance depending on the set intention. At the same time, the lexical material in the functional aspect is being increased and communication strategies are being developed. Both dialogues have the same communicative task: to invite the interlocutor for joint action. In Kazakh, the invitation is stated already in the first cue, there is a straightforward expression of disagreement, requests to the interlocutor. The English language demonstrates a greater number of introductory phrases that students should pay attention to. It is also important to take into account the social rank of the interlocutor, as discussed above [8].

Finally, the last stage is the actual information content of the utterance (what exactly to say). Imagine this on the example of such a component as possession of information (4a).

In this task it is not enough just to break up and combine ready-made structures and even whole phrases; it is also necessary, at a minimum, to replace individual words in order for the dialogue to correspond to a given topic and serve the communicative intention to clarify information of interest [11]. The work on the content comes to the fore, but in English more than Kazakh, this builds up the skills developed at the preceding steps, namely: consideration of the social rank of the interlocutors and the degree of formality of the communication environment.

Research methods

Descriptive, comparative methods and analysis were used in the given article.

Research results

Work in a foreign language classroom within the framework of a system of communicative situations needs the following pattern, which are the most meaningful: how (with what intonation) - how (with what words) - what and how (with what sequence) - what exactly to say.


Having analyzed a fair amount of bibliography and all its theoretical content regarding this topic, we have proposed a system for incorporating the components of the communicative situation into the speech experience of students. By virtue of its universality, this system could be an aid to the accumulation and enhancement of communicative experience in the study of foreign languages. Since the communicative function of the language is the leading one, one can speak about the existence of communicative (pragmatic) universals, the stages, and components of which were analyzed by us. It was shown that learning to communicate in a foreign language based on this scheme is possible on the material of any language. Therefore, mastering this system while learning the first language (Kazakh) can facilitate the development of communicative competencies in the second language (English), despite the linguistic differences of these languages. Undoubtedly, there are certain features of the English language that have an impact on the communicative situation and therefore require special attention when presenting them, however, in general, the training system proposed by us can be considered an effective unified basis for conducting multilingual education in language universities more economically and efficiently.



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Year: 2018
Category: Biology