Bilingualism in Russia and its importance in school education: state of the art review
Vida Yu. Mikhalchenko1, Elena A. Kondrashkina2, Svetlana V. Kirilenko3*
1Prof. Dr., Head Scientific Researcher, Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences, RUSSIA, email@example.com
2Senior Scientific Researcher, Candidate of Sciences (Philology), Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences, RUSSIA, firstname.lastname@example.org
3Scientific Researcher, Candidate of Sciences (Philology), Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences; Assoc. Prof., RUSSIA, email@example.com
The article analyzes bilingualism in present-day Russia, giving a brief historical overview of its origin. The types of bilingualism that are peculiar to the Russian Federation are determined, and the question of the bilingual system existing in school education is considered. The demographic situation in a number of republics is analyzed, which is important as it largely determines the most common types of bilingualism in the Russian Federation. According to the data obtained from the scientific works, various sociological surveys, the 2010 population census and other sources, it is concluded that national-Russian bilingualism predominates and that Russian-nationalism is very insignificant. Since the majority of the republics are dominated by the Russian and Russian-speaking population, and the Russian language is a domineering language, Russians do not need to learn or use national state languages. The statistics of the 2010 All-Russian Population Census shows that practically all titular ethnic groups in the republics know Russian with figures reaching 90-98%. The predominance of the Russian population creates a Russian-speaking environment, while the absence of a national-speaking environment is an additional factor in the language shift, i.e., the change of language. There has been an alarming trend towards the transition to Russian even in household communication and an increase in the proportion of those who consider it their native language. The family ceases to be a source of knowledge of the native language, as it used to be in the past, since only the older generation (grandmothers and grandfathers) can still speak their native language, and in most cases parents do not use it and cannot pass it on to their children. In such an environment, the school should become the main source of knowledge of native languages. Analyzing the situation in schools, we have to admit that instruction in native languages takes place, as a rule, in the primary grades of rural schools. In urban settings, subjects taught in national languages are virtually absent. In some regions of the Russian Federation such school subjects as national language and national literature are usually studied in national languages, while, according to scientists, it is already possible to teach such subjects as history, geography, labor, singing, and physical education in national languages of the republics. In this regard, the article analyzes the project ‘Multicultural educational model of the Republic of Tatarstan’, the concept of which is based on functional bilingualism and multilingualism. The authors come to the conclusion of the impossibility of bilingual school education in Russia at the present time.
Keywords: bilingualism, state languages, Russian language, national languages, types of bilingualism, school education, language change.
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