Teaching Grammatical Means Of Communication In The Conditions Of Real Multiculturalism

Abstract

The article deals with the issues of teaching the grammatical aspect of speech. The Authors make an attempt to find common patterns in teaching grammatical means of speech communication, regardless of the language being studied. It is especially important when developing speech skills in the conditions of natural multilingualism and multiculturalism. In each language, which is a subject to assimilation, there are grammatical phenomena that cause special difficulties for students. These difficulties are associated with the peculiarities of linguistic systems, which are caused by the uniqueness of cultural traditions, the peculiarity of the national perception of the world and some other reasons. In turn, these difficulties as a result of interlanguage interference are the cause of many linguistic and, consequently, speech errors in the formation and formulation of thought in foreign languages in the process of solving speech problems. English and Chinese were taken as the languages being studied for some reasons. On the one hand, English is still the most common among all Germanic languages studied. On the other hand, Chinese, as one of the two branches of the Sino-Tibetan language family, is the most common modern language with a total number of over 1.3 billion speakers. Both of these languages are becoming increasingly popular in such multinational republics as Bashkortostan and Kazakhstan. By problem-project assignment, we understand specially created assignments that construct problem situations, performing which students participate in creative design activities, the result of which becomes a really appreciable tangible speech or language product.

Keywords: Method of communicative tasksmultilingualismproblem-design tasks

Introduction

Recent years have shown a significant increase of interest in English and Chinese languages as means of international communication. The current sociocultural situation requires a trained interlocutor in linguistic, cultural and communicative aspects. In this regard the role of foreign language education has been increasing. It is education, but not learning. Foreign language education supposes four aspects such as upbringing, development, cognition and studying (learning).

It is considered that one of the main goals of foreign language education is the development of speech skills that imply the ability to carry out intercultural (cross cultural) communication. This is impossible without formation of grammatical competence, which is a “set of knowledge about the grammatical structure of a foreign language, skills and abilities formed on the basis of such knowledge, as well as the ability to apply this knowledge, experience and abilities to participate in speech communication in the target language” (Frolova, 2013, p. 41).

In the modern context, we are talking about teaching grammatical means of communication. Possession of grammatical means of communication allows, firstly, to formulate grammatically correct statements in a foreign language and to avoid inaccuracies in the formulation of thoughts and statements. Secondly, it allows you to notice timely and if it is necessary to correct grammatical mistakes that prevent the solution of the speech problem; to find various ways out of the predicament with a lack of grammatical means, and, thirdly, to use various forms of presentation, narration, reasoning in the implementation of speech communication.

The content of teaching grammatical means of communication reflects the goals of foreign language education at its various stages. At the initial stage the language grammatical material sufficient for verbal communication within a limited number of topics and situations is acquired. At the later stages there is a deeper acquaintance with the grammatical side, systematization of grammatical material taking into account the students’ professional interests and their future occupation.

In our work, based on the analysis of typical mistakes, we attempt to identify common patterns for developing a technology for teaching grammatical means of communication in any language in the context of real multilingualism and multiculturalism. As an example, we chose Chinese and English, which belong to different language groups. We motivate our choice as follows. First, on the one hand, English is still the most common among all Germanic languages studied. On the other hand, Chinese, representing one of the two branches of the Sino-Tibetan language family, is the most common modern language with a total number of over 1.3 billion speakers. Secondly, both of these languages (English and Chinese) are becoming increasingly popular in such multinational republics as Bashkortostan and Kazakhstan (Badanbekkyzy & Askarova, 2010).

Problem Statement

The object of our research is the process of foreign language education in terms of natural multilingualism and multiculturalism . In particular, we deal with general trends in the teaching aspect of foreign language (FL) education, namely, the teaching of grammatical means of FL communication using the example of English and Chinese languages.

Grammatical skills that form the basis of grammatical means of communication, regardless of the language being studied, are considered to be an automated component of consciously performed speech activity that ensures the correct use of grammatical form in speech communication.

Unformed or insufficiently developed grammatical skills and abilities represent serious difficulties for the formation of communicative competence as a whole. The practice of teaching any foreign language demonstrates that students make a huge number of mistakes in the use of many grammatical phenomena of a foreign language, which is evidence of real difficulties in mastering the grammatical phenomena of the language being studied. In each language there are characteristic errors. Let’s consider this on the example of English and Chinese.

a) Typical Mistakes in English (Language)

As practice shows, as well as analysis of the results of graduates in passing the unified state exam in the section "Grammar and Vocabulary" there are a number of typical mistakes. For example, temporal forms of verbs, the use of passive and active tolls, forms of the auxiliary verb to be and its use as a verb-bundle in a composite noun predicate, etc., remain difficult for students.

Typical mistakes caused by a simple misunderstanding of the person performing the action also attract attention. As an example, you can call the misuse of the types of temporary forms Present Perfect / Past Indefinite. Apparently, this is due to the ignorance of the cases of appropriate usage and insufficiently formed skills. Some mistakes are caused by the wrong choice of the form of the auxiliary verb due to the inability to reconcile the subject with the predicate.

There are a lot of mistakes in the use of non-personal forms of the verb, participles. The greatest difficulty is the use of suffixes, prefixes, the formation from the prop words of single-root words of the wrong part of speech that is required by context, filling in a gap with a prop word without changing, the usage of non-existent words, the incorrect spelling of words.

b) Mistakes in Chinese Language

Panyun and Zhongwei (1999) in the book “Difficulties in Learning Chinese” collected 228 difficult moments that foreigners often face with while learning Chinese. There are 181 grammatical difficulties, which is equal to 79.39%. It can be noted that in the practice of teaching Chinese, grammar presents significant difficulties encountered by students. Difficulties in learning Chinese grammar are due to two reasons: on the one hand, the grammatical phenomenon is not clear due to the national characteristics of Chinese culture, on the other hand, the use of grammatical structures is simply not well understood (as cited in Ellis, 2006).

In addition, there is a large number of classifiers for labeling in Chinese. For example, a unit of quantity denoting a person or thing called the noun quantifier includes a unit of measure. The origin of classifiers is very complex and the history of its creation and development is different. Compared to other languages Chinese has a large number of modal particles. They contribute to the expression of different moods. These modal particles are present in relatively fixed sentence types such as statement, question, imperative, and exclamation.

Thus, when learning the grammar of any foreign language, difficulties of interlingual and intralingual interference can arise. To prevent interference, it is necessary to form the grammatical mechanisms of the language being studied. Therefore, mastering the grammatical structure of the language being studied is necessary in order to practically use this language. Interference is the negative influence of the native language on the process of learning the FL. An indicator of interference is typical student errors (presence of articles in the FL, intonation). Taking into account the phenomenon of interference of the transfer, the methodology should base the construction of the educational process on consideration of the features of the studied FL in comparison with the native (Gak, 1988).

As we see, when teaching grammatical means of communication, teachers face with great difficulties, caused, for both objective and subjective reasons. Researchers face an important problem – on the basis of existing approaches, methods and technologies to develop such a technology that would make it possible to teach grammatical means of communication most effectively.

Research Questions

The authors of the current article being citizens of the countries in which a large number of representatives of different nationalities peacefully coexist conduct extensive research work aimed at the implementation of foreign language education in terms of natural multilingualism and multiculturalism. They are united by one goal which is to optimize the learning process of grammatical means of communication of students in the Republic of Bashkortostan, the Republic of Kazakhstan and the People’s Republic of China. Therefore, as the subject of study we chose the principles of development of grammatical means of communication teaching technology. The proposed technology will allow to organize the educational process on the development of grammatical means of communication on the basis of communicative tasks, including problem-project tasks (Prabhu, 1992).

The particular difficulty in the formation of grammatical means of communication in a foreign language is that the grammatical system of English and Chinese has very few similarities with the native language (in our case it is Russian, Bashkir and Kazakh languages). Grammatical phenomena in each specific language are closely related to similar phenomena in another language (Skehan, 1996). It is obvious that the existing differences between languages as well as the presence of phenomena that are absent in the studied languages when comparing them make it possible to prevent the interfering influence of one language on another.

Eminent methodologists have repeatedly pointed out the expediency of acquaintance with the typological features of the grammatical system of the studied language in comparison with the native language in different periods (Arakin, 2008; Frolova, 2013; Gak, 1988; Gurevich, 2008).

The most effective way to teach grammatical means of communication in such conditions is to compare grammatical systems of languages which should be practical in nature . On one hand, it is necessary to show the differences between the grammatical systems of the native and target languages and to identify similarities in two languages, on the other hand (Kudinov, Kudinova, Aitov, Kadi, Bannikova, & Voronkova, 2018, p. 1286). This will greatly facilitate the mastery of the grammatical system of the target language as it allows students to use the knowledge of grammar of their native language.

In such a situation a comparative approach that helps to identify similarities and differences between the foreign languages is the most optimal means of teaching a foreign language as it motivates students to compare language phenomena, identify its similarities and differences.

It is obvious that the system, the norm and the peculiarities of use of the native language always prevail in the mind of a student which is the source of constant difficulties in learning a foreign language. Students seek to apply them to the target language unconsciously (Willis & Willis, 1996).

There is no strict correspondence between Chinese conditional words and syntactic components. In the Indo-European languages represented by the English language the words of different parts of speech correspond to the different components of the sentence. Nouns act as subjects and objects, verbs as predicates, adjectives as attributes, adverbs as adverbs, etc. A word can be considered as a set of components of a sentence in Chinese language. And Vice versa a sentence component can act as a plurality of various parts of a word.

Thus difficulties of interlingual and intralingual interference can occur when teaching grammar of any foreign language. To prevent interference it is necessary to form the grammatical mechanisms of the studied language. Therefore mastering the grammatical structure of the language that is acquired is necessary. Interference is the negative influence of the native language on the process of learning of any FL. An indicator of interference are typical student mistakes (presence of articles in a foreign language, intonation). Taking into account the phenomenon of interference of the transfer the methodology should be based on the construction of the educational process on the features of the studied language in comparison with the native language ( mother tongue) (Arakin, 2008).

As we see when teaching grammatical means of communication teachers face with great difficulties caused by both objective and subjective reasons. Researchers deal with an important problem of developing the technology that would make it possible on the basis of existing approaches, methods and technologies to teach grammatical means of communication most effectively.

Purpose of the Study

In the light of the object and subject of study, we see the main aim of the proposed study in a theoretical justification and creation of grammatical means of communication teaching technology in natural multilingualism and multicultural space and its experimental verification.

We offer a unique technology of educational process organization based on implementation of communication tasks, including problem-project tasks, with focus on identified similarities and differences of grammatical systems of native and target language.

Having analyzed a large amount of material the authors attempt to develop an optimal technology for teaching grammatical means of communication using the example of mastering the grammatical system of a foreign language (using the example of English and Chinese).

Research Methods

During the study at various stages, the following methods and techniques of research were used:

  • study and analysis of domestic and foreign literature in the field of psychology, pedagogy, linguistics, methods of teaching foreign languages;

  • analysis of state educational standards, work programs and textbooks for teaching English and Chinese;

  • observation of the process of learning grammatical means of communication;

  • conducting an experiment to test the effectiveness of the developed methodology, including questioning and testing of trainees;

  • statistical processing of experimental learning data;

  • observation, collection and analysis of theoretical material were carried out, the degree of elaboration of the problem was analyzed.

Findings

In the course of the study, a great deal of work was done to find ways for the most effective universal approaches to the study of grammar as the basis of foreign language communication in different languages. In particular, the traditional method was considered, based on the transfer of knowledge about the grammatical structure of the studied languages, acquaintance with the rules and performance of grammatical exercises. As practice shows, it is not effective enough to meet modern requirements for foreign language education, the main purpose of which is the formation of communicative competence. The aim of our study is to summarize the best practices in teaching the grammatical side as a necessary condition for the implementation of verbal communication (Aitov, Galimova, Kulagin, Faizrakhmanova, Isupova, & Kievskaya, 2018). As a result, we came to the following results.

a) Traditional ways

As it is known grammatical skills can be components of both expressive (productive) communicative speaking and writing skills as well as receptive listening and reading skills. In our research work we focus our attention mainly on issues related to teaching productive grammar skills. The implementation of the requirements of the communicative-functional approach contributes to this task.

These requirements are in general terms as follows:

1) speech material intended for teaching grammatical means should reflect the usage of language in natural communication without the presence of artificial examples and contrived situations;

2) the training material should contain clearly defined formal, semantic and functional features. This is necessary so that learners can establish a connection between them in different contexts;

3) it is advisable to present grammatical material in an accessible volume in order to provide the possibility of its consolidation in new contexts and primary application;

4) a new grammatical material should be introduced after repeating previously learned material with a wide use of illustrative visibility, charts, tables, etc.;

5) new grammatical material should be accompanied by brief, accurate and simple explanations in the form of instructions that adequately reflect the specifics of this material;

6) new grammatical phenomena should be fixed and applied when using different types of communication, including pair and group work.

б) TBL.

According to the results of the experimental training of the authors of the article, the task-based learning (TBL) can be effectively used to teach grammatical means of communication in Chinese.

This technology involves voice contact, language learning and language proficiency in the process of performing communicative tasks. To adapt to the requirements of this practice oriented technology, grammatical structures and grammatical knowledge are not presented to students separately. Grammar goes into the background and is not the aim in itself in the learning process. Instead, the teacher must consciously integrate grammatical content into the structure of the task (Higgs & Clifford, 1982; Prabhu, 1992; Swan, 1996).

The unit of instruction is a communicative task by performing which the student masters the communicative competence in various types of speech activity. The main features of the communicative task in the modern sense are primary attention to the content not to the linguistic form, correlation with the conditions of real communication and focus on achieving a certain result (Kolesnikova & Dolgina, 2001). This program is characterized by the absence of any purposeful selection of language material and teaching methods. The program offers a list of communication tasks. The sequence of tasks is based on the principle of "from simple to complex."

The authors of the article adhere to the position of those authors who when performing a communicative task propose to single out three stages that allow students not only to develop communication skills, but also linguistic competence as an integral part of communicative competence. Namely:

1. Preparatory stage - Pre-task.

2. Task execution stage - Task cycle (Task, Planning, Report)

3. Language stage – Language focus (a. Analysis of used language means – Analysis, b. Training and use of language means – Practice).

In the process of learning teachers should provide students with the opportunity to ask questions, find rules and think in order to create their own models, concepts and strategies that help to learn a language. Inspiring students' internal motivation in teaching grammar we can use the principle of inspiration to allow students to acquire language skills in the process of thinking (Skehan, 2016).

Thus, teaching the Chinese language in the Bashkir faculty of the Bashkir State Pedagogical University, while passing the adverbs “再 (already happening)” and “(did not happen in the future”), for a more complete understanding of the difference, students should perform the following exercises:

a他说错了,(又 )说了一遍 He said it wrong and said it again.

b你说错了,请(再 )说一遍 You said it wrong, please say it again.

c今天(又)下雨了,不能出去玩了 It’s raining again today, I can’t go out to play.

Task 1. Interview

Activities: A group of two students, the task paper is sent to each student, the students interview their own desk mate according to the above requirements. To make a deep clear in adverb “再”and “又”

Task 2. Making a Travel Plan

Activities: A group of five people, two students represent tourists, and three students represent three travel agencies. Require students to have a free dialogue based on their known information and circumstances, and ultimately decide a travel plan that suits them.

The teacher’s give information for each group of visitors with some constraint such as: less money, less time, etc. The teacher gives three travel advertisements of various content to students who play different roles in the conditions of the travel agency. Each announcement contains information that needs to be discussed in accordance with the speech task and the wishes of the client.

In grammar teaching, it is necessary to fix most common mistakes made by students, especially the grammatical phenomena in Chinese that are not found in Russian. Through grammar teaching students can accurately understand, exactly express, and minimize the grammatical problems in their speech. Task-based teaching methods emphasize students' use of tasks to understand the exact grammar. They can stimulate their motivation and fun, attract interest, and improve their Chinese.

Learning grammatical means of communication in the Chinese language has its own specifics and teacher of Chinese faces great challenges to improve the technology. One of the ways is the technology built on fulfilling communicative tasks.

c) Problem situation

According to the requirements for FL education at the present stage, it seems necessary to make certain changes in the process of interaction between the teacher and the student. This means that there is a need to create such forms of work and types of tasks that would be aimed at optimizing the learning process (Matyushkin, 2009).

One of these areas is problem-based learning. The main and characteristic feature of the problem study of FL is a problem situation. A problem situation is considered as a state of mental difficulty, caused in a particular learning situation by the lack of knowledge and methods of actions learned earlier by students (Matyushkin, 2009). An unexpected difficulty always surprises, perplexes a person and stimulates mental activity. Problems make you think and learn, thinking. The main element of the problem situation is the unknown, the new, that which must be discovered with the correct fulfillment of the assigned task. The main mechanism that provides students with the opportunity to discover new things is to establish new connections with the already known. Search for the unknown allows you to reveal not identified properties.

Creating a problem situation should be consistent with the intellectual level of students. Their knowledge should be sufficient to understand the task, the ultimate goal and the ways to accomplish it. Previously acquired knowledge of the grammar of the English language, and sometimes the native language, they serve as the basis for establishing logical links between well-known material and something new. The most acceptable way to create problem situations is the use of problem-design tasks. By problem-project assignment, we understand specially created assignments that create problem situations, performing which students participate in creative design activities, the result of which becomes a really appreciable tangible speech or language product.

Typical problem assignments in English grammar include: considering the phenomenon from different perspectives, summarizing, comparing the grammatical phenomenon in the native and studied languages, self-formulation of similarities and differences.

A number of studies were devoted to identifying the role of using problem-design assignments in the process of shaping the grammatical skills of Kazakh students. In particular, from February to April 2019, an experiment at the Baishev University of Aktobe, the Republic of Kazakhstan was carried out. During the main experiment, 68 students of the 2nd course of pedagogical and technical faculties of Baishev University were involved (4 training groups "Kazakh language and literature", "Oil and gas business", "Construction").In the control group (CG1 and CG2), the traditional methodology was used for teaching foreign language grammar in accordance with the Model Program. In the experimental group (EG1 and EG2), attention was paid to the formation of the grammatical aspect of speech training of students on the basis of problem-design tasks (Badanbekkyzy & Askarova, 2010).

Students of experimental group were offered 4 types of problem-design tasks of the linguistic and communicative levels. In drawing up the problem-design tasks, the typology proposed by A.M. Matyushkin (4 types): 1) presence of an obstacle; 2) absence or violation of the structure; 3) a probabilistic model (the inclusion of alternatives); 4) information model (lack of information) (Matyushkin, 2009).

In Table 01 , Exercise 1. Match each word in A (from first column) with its Russian or Kazakh equivalent in B (from the second column), paying attention to the types of Conditionals.

1. (We would have baked a cake if we had bought some eggs yesterday – Keshe zhұmyrtkany satyp alғanda, bіz tәttі bәlіshti pіsіretіn edіk.)

2. (If it rains much, the flowers will grow very quickly - Eger zhanbir kөp zhausa, gulder tez өsetіn bolady)

3. (If I knew English well, I would be an interpreter – Agylshyndy zhaksy bіletіn bolganda, audarmashy bolar edim)

4. (My children wouldn’t have cried if he had not shouted at them - Eger ol aykalamaganda, balalarym zhylap қalmaityn edi)

5. (I would call him if I were you- Men senin orynda bolganda, ogan konyray shalar edіm)

6. (She will put on this dress if she loses weight - Eger aryқtasa, ol osy kөlektі kiedі.)

Table 1 -
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To control understanding in the learning process, it is advisable to use as the most appropriate selective multiple choice tests in the following varieties:

a) the choice of the correct answer to the question;

b) completion of the begun statement on the basis of the proposed theses;

c) arrangement in order, grouping of facts;

d) cross-selection, mapping;

e) deleting specially inserted superfluous words;

e) filling in the gaps with specially omitted words.

 As a result of this type of assignment is a correctly composed text; in the process of writing a text, the grammatical aspect of speech is taught.

4) Information model (lack of information) is the discrepancy between the available knowledge and the required knowledge. One of the proposed options for such tasks is a close-test. For the basis of the close-test it is necessary to choose a passage of prose with a volume of at least 100 and no more than 300–400 words, in which some (i.e., 5th, 7th, etc.) words are skipped, regardless of addition, it is structural or significant

The comparative data of the results of the experimental and control groups of the experimental study are clearly presented in Figure 01 .

Figure 1: Levels of speech training of groups (EG1 and CG1, EG2 and CG2)
Levels of speech training of groups (EG1 and CG1, EG2 and CG2)
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Thus according to the results of the experiment 3 students (17%) in EG1 and 3 students (19%) in EG2 have shown a high level of implementation of problem-design tasks, 11 students (61%) in EG1 and 11 students (69%) in EG2 have shown an average level, 4 students (22%) in EG1 and 2 students (12%) in EG2 have shown a low level. 1 student (6%) in CG2 have shown high results when performing assignments on lexical and grammatical material, 5 students (28%) in CG1 and in 5 students (31%) in CG2 perform tasks at an average level, 10 students (55% ) in CG1 and 7 students in CG2- (44%) - at a low level, 3 students in CG1 (17%) and CG2 (19%) could not overcome the threshold level (Swan, 1996).

As it can be seen from graph 1 the indicators of EG1 and EG2 are approximately at the same level of speech training, while the results of the control groups have a slight difference in performance; CG2 presents data on the results of a high level (6%).

The results of an experimental study made it possible to draw conclusions that: 1) problem-design tasks enliven interest in solving them; 2) the university does not pay enough attention to the use of such tasks in a foreign language classroom for teaching grammatical means of foreign language communication. In the process of fulfilling the problem-design tasks of the linguistic and communicative levels students showed interest in particular when working on such tasks as searching for equivalents of conditional sentences in English, establishing the correspondence of grammatical forms.

Conclusion

The main goal of foreign language education at non-linguistic faculties is the formation of foreign language communicative competence, i.e. ability to implement foreign language communication with representatives of another culture in a foreign language. One of the components of communicative competence is the learning of the grammatical means of communication. In a traditional course grammatical skills as the main means of communication do not receive sufficient development. Summarizing the experience of teaching the grammatical aspect of speech in terms of natural multilingualism and multicultural space (people's Republic of China, the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Republic of Bashkortostan), we came to the conclusion that the educational process needs to be intensified, modified it by incorporating communicative tasks.

For effective formation of grammatical means of communication, the authors developed a set of exercises based on the implementation of communicative tasks, including problem-design tasks. Experimental training confirmed the effectiveness of the developed universal technology of teaching grammatical means of communication.

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Publisher

European Publisher

First Online

15.11.2020

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2020.11.1

Online ISSN

2357-1330