Educational Trilingualism As A Lingvoeducational Environment Of Universities In Russia


This article is devoted to the essence of the educational environment of a language university. Educational trilingualism, as a context of teaching of linguist students and specialists in intercultural communication, is considered as a lingvoeducational environment in which the formation of a professional personality occurs. Educational trilingualism is qualified as a set of special parameters and, on the one hand, is an external manifestation of the multicultural lingvoeducational environment, and on the other hand, is the internal essence of the processes that take place in the formation of the student's personality when learning languages and cultures. Educational trilingualism as the lingvoeducational environment is characterized by the following features: by the nature of the components it can be homogeneous or heterogeneous (contacting languages can be related or unrelated); by the time that an adult requires to master the language (it is formed not in childhood, but in mature age); by the form of functioning – two-pronged (involves communication both in oral and in written forms); by the criterion of the number of actions – productive (the level of autonomous meaningful speech production is achieved); by the nature of the interaction of linguistic systems it can be subordinate (every phenomenon of the first foreign language is developed on the basis of the native language, and every phenomenon of the second language is developed on the basis of native and first foreign languages); by the nature of the connection of language with intellection it can be mixed (blending of the languages take place, their interosculation).

Keywords: Educational trilingualismlingvoeducational environmentmultilingual education


Modern higher education is now going through transformations, and the result of them is the reassessment of many educational tendencies. A number of processes occurring at the stage of post-non-classical existence of modern European society are based on a number of contradictions. The most striking of which is revealed in the collision of two diametrically opposite ideas: from one side, the priority of the concept of forming a type of society, which is characterized by openness, tolerance, multiculturalism and internationality (Brahm Levey, 2019; Geller & Phillips, 2019; Stokke & Lybæk, 2018). From the other side, there is a crisis of interculturalism and multiculturalism, and West European society more and more often denies the existing mosaic of cultural environment, where each culture coexists harmoniously with other ones (Chin, 2017; Colombo, 2015; Ercan, 2015; Weiner, 2018; Vorster et al., 2020).

In Asian society, in China particularly, the ideas of collectivism and unification, which are characteristics of Chinese society, are strong, on the contrary, manifested in the desire to keep linguistic and cultural diversity. Obviously, that finds its root, in ancient Chinese philosophy, first of all. Such famous Chinese philosophers as Confucius and Lao Tzu raise integrity to the rank of a special category in their writings. Confucius notes integrity as a factor of the successful building of a society and its sustainable development. An integral society is a society of consent. Lao Tzu sees integrity as the unity of the original plan, being the first to note that integrity is opposed to multiplicity (Xin, 1987).

Russia, being at the junction of Europe and Asia, is obviously exposed to sociocultural influences from both sides. Nevertheless, in the multinational Russia, the fundamental basis for modern Russian society in general, and foreign language education in particular, are the dominants of polyculturalism and polylinguism.

Problem Statement

This kind of intercultural directivity plays a special role for students of language universities, because it is the factor that affects the development of the student's language personality as a subject of learning, his (the student's) own definition of his place in the international world, and individual style of verbal and non-verbal intercultural behavior. Multiculturalism contributes to the future professional's awareness of himself as a part of the global, and, at the same time, as a carrier of his own cultural and language code, national identity (Tareva & Mametova, 2014). Meanwhile, the importance of preserving of one's own national culture is stressed, but not depersonalizing it in the aspiration for world integration and internationalization. These ideas were initially announced in the materials of the Bologna process (European Ministers of Education, 1999) and were accordingly transferred to the Russian realities of higher linguistic education.

As a response to these trends, a special term has appeared in linvgodidactic science – multicultural education , which is a process of education and upbringing that involves cultivating a system of diverse and interacting cultural values in students (Brevetti, 2017; du Plessis & Marais, 2017; Parkhouse et al., 2019). The result of multicultural education is the formation of a person capable of appropriate communication with representatives of other cultural societies, a person preserving and multiplying (through reassessment) his own culture (Tareva & Mametova, 2014).

Some scientists also emphasize the importance of the reformation of pedagogical education towards multicultural education in teachers’ training for different educational institutions to meet the needs of all the students (Cherng & Davis, 2019).

For the formation of professional competencies of students studying Chinese in Russia, multicultural education as a social phenomenon acquires a special status. Multicultural education is the very special environment in which the personality of the future specialist in intercultural communication is formed.

The unconditioned importance of the environment for human upbringing and education was recognized by many enlighteners in the XVIII-XIX centuries. In Russia, the concept of “educational environment” is relatively new, as it has been formed in the late XX – early XXI century. Referring to the content of this term, it becomes clear that the number of scientists construe this term, noting the external manifestations of the environment. So, some scientists interpret this term as a part of the socio-cultural environment, where various educational processes and their components interact, where the child is involved in cultural relations with society, and gain the experience of independent cultural activities (Joiner & Dearman, 2016; Krylova, 2000). Other authors, speaking about the essence of the concept of “educational environment”, pay more attention to the personality, considering the educational environment as a system of influences and conditions for the formation of an individuality according to a given pattern, as well as opportunities for its development contained in the social and spatial-subject environment (Bermea et al., 2018; Yasvin, 2001).

It is obvious, that for the implementation of modern goals of foreign language education at the university, the internal qualities of the personality are a priority. On the basis of the definitions of the educational environment, extrapolating these settings to the sphere of linguistic education, we can conclude that the lingvoeducational environment is a specially organized system of conditions for learning of a foreign language for the formation and development of an active personality ready to join an intercultural dialogue. The special vitality of phenomenon of the lingvoeducational environment of the universities should be noted, as only a few studies of Russian linguodidactics have been devoted to this problem (Bourina & Dunaeva, 2017; 2019; Cherkashina, 2015).

Research Questions

So what characterizes the lingvoeducational environment of universities in Russia today? The majority of students, who enter a language university for bachelor's degree programs, often start learning any language “from ground”, passing English as the admission exam. Hence, the language studied in the university becomes the second (L2), and often even the third foreign language (L3). Another words, the study of a foreign language in the university for Russian students takes place in the interaction of at least three languages and cultural codes: Russian, English and a new comprehended language, i.e. in a situation of educational triglinguism (Malykh, 2017).

Purpose of the Study

The psycholinguists point out, that the conditions in which students sequentially master second-to-third language (L2-L3) are ideal for the development of their cognitive abilities (Schroeder & Marian, 2017). Furthermore, it is confirmed that trilingual students have much better developed communication skills, they are more confident in communicating, intercultural as well, have a tendency to self-development, show more respect for the people of their country, their own culture (Dogan & Aydin, 2019). The purpose of this study is to determine the features of the lingvoeducational environment of universities in Russia.

Research Methods

To answer the questions of the research, the methods of theoretical knowledge that were applied are the following: analysis of the world experience in the formation and improvement of training of the future linguists; analysis of literature on linguistics, psycholinguistics, methods of teaching of a foreign language, analysis and synthesis of theoretical and empirical material. And also methods of empirical knowledge that were used: the study of scientific literature, books and manuals, programs and standards in foreign languages, and the analysis of progressive teaching experience.


Significant emphasis in the science has been made on the problem of studying of trilingual connections in foreign language teaching (Baryshnikov, 2014; Bim, 1997; Braun, 1937; Jessner & Cenoz, 2007; Hawkins, 1999; Magiste, 1984; Shcherba, 1974). Defining the features of Russian students’ trilingualism, we can make a conclusion that the most important characteristic of it will be its educational (artificial) character. It is well known that natural trilingualism is formed in the language environment. Artificial, educational type of trilingualism is characterized by the absence of a language environment, reduced communication time based on educational situations in the classroom, limited speech practice within the framework of program topics, but at the same time there is a systematic presentation of language phenomena, intentional training to a teacher-from a professional who performs special correction of mistakes work in accordance with specific teaching methods (Zalevskaya, 2009). These characteristics of educational trilingualism are fundamental in the situation of learning of a new foreign language as a profession in a language university. The educational nature of the trilingualism of students of language university is the primary characteristic, as the whole process of intercultural competency formation related to the mastery of L2, takes place in conditions of constant (intentional from the side of a teacher and conscious from the side of a student) comparison of three interacting language systems: native (Russian) language (NL), L1 (English, mostly), mastered in school, and a new language – L3, learned “from ground”.

Let’s define what is another key characteristic of the educational trilingualism of students of language universities of Russia.

It is obvious that within the framework of the studied problem, from the sociological viewpoint –prevalence in society and the method of occurrence of trilingualism – we will talk about individual trilingualism, which is a communicative characteristic of a linguist student (Baryshnikov, 2014).

Among the most important features of polylinguism, several parameters are customary distinguished: by the nature of components (affinity of languages) – homogeneous / heterogeneous; by the time of mastering – children / adults); by the form of functioning – oral / written / two-pronged (Mikhailov, 1988). Based on these classifications, we can determine that the educational trilingualism of Russian language students can be either homogeneous or heterogeneous, depending on the affinity of languages, adult in terms of time of mastering it, and two-pronged by the form of functioning.

Based on the criterion of classification by the number of actions, we can distinguish receptive, reproductive and productive types of trilingualism (Vereshchagin, 1973). Trilingualism of students who study a L2 at the university during the formation of intercultural communicative competence passes through all three stages, reaching the stage of productive trilingualism – autonomous meaningful speech production.

From a psychological perspective, by the nature of the connection between language and intellection and taking into account the existence of three linguistic systems in the mind of a trilinguist, pure and mixed trilingualism can be distinguished (Shcherba, 1974). Pure trilingualism occurs in cases where three languages are not related to each other, exclude each other, and are not interconnected. Mixed type of triglossia is characterized by the transition from one language to another, blending of the languages, their interosculation take place. Russian-speaking students studying a foreign language at a language university a mixed-type triglossia is formed.

In a number of domestic and foreign classifications, according to the nature of the interaction of linguistic systems, coordinate and subordinate types of trilingualism are distinguished (Vereshchagin, 1973, Weinreich, 1953). For the coordinate type of trilingualism is typical the parallel existence of language phenomena of the three languages that are not related to each other, which can be attributed to “pure trilingualism”. The subordinate type of triglossia is characterized by the coexistence of a common “coordinate system”, in which each phenomenon of the L1 is built on the basis of the NL, and each L2- phenomenon based on NL and L1. The educational trilingualism of students of language universities studying foreign language will be subordinate.


Thus, we can conclude that the educational trilingualism of students studying a foreign language in the universities of Russia is characterized by a set of special parameters (by the nature of components – homogeneous / heterogeneous; by the time of mastering – adult; by the form of functioning – two-pronged; by the criterion of the number of actions - productive; by the nature of interaction of linguistic systems – subordinate; by the nature of the connection between language and intellection and the existence in mind of a trilingua – mixed) and on the one hand, is an external manifestation of the multicultural lingvoeducational environment, but on the other hand, is the internal essence of the processes that occur in the formation of the student's personality when co-learning languages and cultures.

Another word, trilingual lingvoeducational environment affects the student externally (at least by programs of the higher education, which includes such subjects as: culture of the Russian language, L2 and L1 as the learning subjects) and internally as a phenomenon of inner characteristic of the linguistic personality – the educational trilingualism.


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20 November 2020

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Sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, bilingualism, multilingualism

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Malykh, O. A. (2020). Educational Trilingualism As A Lingvoeducational Environment Of Universities In Russia. In Е. Tareva, & T. N. Bokova (Eds.), Dialogue of Cultures - Culture of Dialogue: from Conflicting to Understanding, vol 95. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 585-591). European Publisher.