TSU is studying functional bilingualism

21 April 2021

An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the TSU Faculty of Foreign Languages and the Faculty of Psychology continues to study functional bilinguals – TSU students. The project will help to develop a system for creating an artificial language environment for the effective development of foreign languages.

Now more people strive not only to master English or another foreign language, but also organize the process of upbringing and education of their children in such a way that the child grows up from childhood in a multilingual environment. It is believed that properly created conditions for language acquisition, even in an artificial environment, can contribute to the development of signs of so-called artificial bilingualism in students.

- Bilingualism cannot be described only in the linguistic paradigm. Its main aspects are studied by interdisciplinary sciences as sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, and neurolinguistics. Bilingualism is also of considerable interest for teachers and other specialists dealing with educational issues, - explains Olga Nagel, the project manager, dean of the TSU Faculty of Foreign Languages.

Today, curricula at language faculties are designed so that the learning process is as close as possible to real situations of verbal communication in a foreign language. Almost 50% of subjects are taught in the foreign language, which creates an artificial linguistic environment aimed at developing not only linguistic but also sociolinguistic, discursive, strategic, social, and sociocultural competence.

- The formation of educational or artificial bilingualism signs in a modern graduate is becoming trend in the language development. But to organize the linguistic environment conducive to this, it is necessary to develop clear criteria for assessing the signs of bilingualism, - notes Alexandra Bub, Associate Professor of the Department of Romance Languages at the TSU Faculty of Foreign Languages.

Therefore, one of the project's objectives is to study the conditions of the multilingual language environment at the university and beyond. This is necessary to identify the maximum number of factors that determine the formation and development of foreign language skills in students.

Currently, TSU linguists are conducting diagnostic measures to assess the dynamics of the development of language skills and the influence of environmental components on them. The Faculty of Foreign Languages project focuses on functional bilinguals, research methods are also selected and developed taking into account the three declared aspects of describing the content characteristics of bilingualism: linguistic, psychological, and sociolinguistic.

- We study the psychological component of the formation of functional bilingualism among linguistic students to allocate their psychological resources and deficiencies and develop appropriate programs of psychological support, - says Inna Atamanova, associate professor of the Department of Genetic and Clinical Psychology at the Faculty of Philosophy.

Students of the Faculty of Foreign Languages are actively involved in the project. At this stage, the project group includes 20 students of the 1st year and 15 students of the 3rd year of study. They not only get the opportunity to find out their level of language from different perspectives and receive a confirmation certificate, but they can also independently track the dynamics of their learning, learn how to maintain a language portfolio, and consciously control the direction of development of language and communication skills in a foreign language.