AMICI LINGUARUM (MOSCOW)
Moscow University for the Humanities
The American Society of Geolinguistics
Amici Linguarum International Association
International Symposium on Language Education, Polyglottery and Geolinguistics
August 27-28, 2018
The Symposium is going to address the issues of language education in the light of the phenomenon of polyglottery (knowledge of multiple languages as a result of conscious study) and from a geolinguistic perspective (i.e. in dynamic connection with various social trends and with regard to a particular geographic location or on a planetary scale). The Symposium particularly aims to discuss the following subjects:
- polyglottery as a linguistic, psychological and cultural phenomenon
- problems of language education and their possible solutions
- language learning/teaching in the light of global trends
- uses of multilingual knowledge
- contrastive language studies and their pedagogical applications
The Symposium is designed to be a continuation of the international conference Multilingual Proficiency: Language, Polyglossia and Polyglottery held in New York City in September 2013.
Time limit on presentations
10 min. for greeting addresses in the Opening Session
20 min. for the talk plus 10 min. for questions and discussion in the Main Session
15 min. for the talk plus 5 min. for questions and discussion in the Young Scholars’ Session
Moscow University for the Humanities
Moscow, Yunosti 5 (nearest metro station Vykhino)
Building 3, Conference Room 511
August 27 (Monday)
10:30 – 11:00 Arrival of participants, tea/coffee
11:00 Session I – Opening Session
Moderator: Grigory Kazakov
Larisa Romanyuk (Vice President for Research, Moscow University for the Humanities, RUSSIA)
Alexander Bovshik (Chair, Department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics, Moscow University for the Humanities, RUSSIA)
Hikaru Kitabayashi (President, The American Society of Geolinguistics, JAPAN)
Seán Ó Riain (President, European Esperanto Union, IRELAND)
12:00 Tea/coffee break
12:15 Session II – Main Session
Moderator: Minoru Ohtsuki
Grigory Kazakov (Moscow University for the Humanities, RUSSIA)
Language education: problems and possible solutions
Hikaru Kitabayashi (Daito Bunka University, JAPAN)
Learning Japanese: observations from a lifelong experience
13:15 Lunch break
15:30 Session III – Main Session, continued
Moderator: Hikaru Kitabayashi
Dina Nikulicheva (Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences / Moscow State Linguistic University, RUSSIA)
Polyglots’ multisensory language learning behavior and its application in teaching languages
Minoru Ohtsuki (Daito Bunka University, JAPAN)
Language and thinking: contrastive characterization of English, French, German and Russian, with its application to language pedagogy
Jolanta Hinc, Adam Jarosz & Joanna Mampe (University of Gdansk, POLAND)
Academic tutoring as a form of personalized language education – a project and practice at the University of Gdansk (Poland)
August 28 (Tuesday)
10:30 – 11:00 Arrival of participants, tea/coffee
11:00 Session IV – Young Scholars’ Session
Moderator: Dina Nikulicheva
Alexey Artyomov (Moscow University for the Humanities, alumnus, RUSSIA)
Methodological and cross-cultural aspects of foreign language acquisition by reference to Russian and British textbooks
Milana Jaber (Moscow State University, RUSSIA)
Comparative method in cognitive semantics: a case study of the concept WEST in Russian, English and Chinese
Varvara Leonteva (Moscow State University, alumna, RUSSIA)
Russian language education in Germany
12:00 Tea/coffee break
12:15 Session V – Young Scholars’ Session, continued
Modertor: Alexander Bovshik
Shintaro Kamijima (Daito Bunka University, JAPAN)
Japanese student learner strategies for English in comparison with other European languages
Stepan Kulakov (Moscow University for the Humanities, RUSSIA)
What polyglots talk about: transcribing the round table discussion on polyglottery and education held in New York City, 2013
13:00 Lunch break
15:00 Session VI – Round table discussion, adoption of the Symposium Memorandum, closing remarks
Moderator: Grigory Kazakov
Artyomov, Alexey (BA graduate in linguistics, Moscow University for the Humanities)
“Methodological and cross-cultural aspects of foreign language acquisition by reference to Russian and British textbooks”
This paper examines the methodological and cross-cultural aspects implemented in the British textbooks of Russian Colloquial Russian. The Complete Course for Beginners and Colloquial Russian 2. The Next Step in Language Learning, and in the two volumes of the Russian textbook of English Angliyskiy Shag za Shagom (English Step by Step). Presented will be an analysis of their structure, advantages and disadvantages. By way of conclusion, the author will also offer some considerations concerning the development of high-quality textbooks of foreign languages, and will demonstrate a personally designed sample lesson.
Jaber, Milana (Lecturer at the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Area Studies, Moscow State University)
“Comparative method in cognitive semantics: a case study of the concept WEST in Russian, English and Chinese”
Specific attention within cognitive linguistics has been paid to the way various types of knowledge are organized in a human mind. A comparative method of linguistic analysis deals with the elements of different functional levels of language and depicts their interplay as part of an integral sign system (language as such). Thus, it might help to answer the question how human cognition organizes encyclopedic knowledge.
The processes of perception, information processing and knowledge acquisition, often unconscious and uncontrolled, lead to the formation of mental structures, the study of which is possible only together with the study of their verbalization in a comparative perspective.
This paper focuses on several aspects of the lexical verbalization of the concept WEST as a cognitive structure in Russian, English and Chinese. The author aims at illustrating the role of comparative studies in cognitive semantics.
It is a well-known fact that the very basic content of amorphous cognitive structures is directly related to the specific cultural and psychological patterns held by native speakers. However, even ostensive encyclopedic knowledge is characterized by a certain set of basic stable and shared images that have fixed verbalized lexical forms such as colligations, collocations, idioms, etc. Cognitive semantics considers these characteristics prototypical, which allows the existence of some correlations between such terms as “lexical concept”, “prototype” and “encyclopedic knowledge”. Due to the fact that modern cognitive science still does not seem to have a methodology that would help one define and understand the real structure of mental representations, comparative studies play a crucial role in understanding the interaction between language and thought.
Kazakov, Grigory (PhD, Professor at the Department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics, Moscow University for the Humanities)
“Language education: problems and possible solutions”
This presentation is going to be a review of the most common problems that impede successful language learning/teaching in educational settings, and of their possible solutions. First, I will try to offer insights into why formal language instruction seems to be so inefficient in most countries around the world (with few exceptions) despite the increasing demand for individuals functional in multiple tongues in today’s intense international communications. After studying a foreign language for years at school/university level, many people admit they can hardly maintain a basic conversation in this language. Linguistic, psychological, methodological and external factors will be singled out. In the second part of the talk, I will consider how these problems could be solved to improve general language education, and will propose some practical measures.
Kamijima, Shintaro (junior undergraduate student, English program, Faculty of Foreign Languages, Daito Bunka University)
“Japanese student learner strategies for English in comparison with other European languages”
This paper deals with the experiences of an undergraduate student of Daito Bunka University (Tokyo, Japan) in his attempts to learn various European languages. He is a dual language major, studying English and German.
For the purpose of providing background information, a largely contrastive approach is taken when discussing differences between languages with the first of these sets of differences being covered being between English and Japanese. He undertakes to cover this first, due to the great discrepancy between these two languages in their respective pronunciation systems and in the far greater number of vowels in English as compared with Japanese. Then major differences between English and German and German and Japanese will be discussed in turn. Particularly, he will focus on discussing differences between English and German from a Japanese perspective, with emphasis being placed upon certain striking dissimilarities.
Then, an overview is given of the difficulties Japanese students generally face when learning foreign languages, due to problems that are inherent in the approach of Japanese educational authorities to the learning of languages. This is followed by a comparison of strategies that he has employed in learning English and German with mention being made for the strategies that might be adapted by Japanese language learners in general for learning other European languages.
Kitabayashi, Hikaru (PhD, Professor of the Graduate School of Foreign Languages, Daito Bunka University, President of the American Society of Geolinguistics)
“Learning Japanese: observations from a lifelong experience”
This paper discusses the author’s first encounter with the Japanese language at the age of 23 and documents his continuing response to that language up to the present time.
First discussed will be the failure he encountered with regard to the language learning methodology he had employed until his encounter with Japanese and why Japanese proved to be different, not only in terms of sound, grammar and vocabulary, but in terms of its writing system. Emphasis will be placed on illustrating the need in foreign language learning to build on previous knowledge. Mention will be made as to how this was accomplished on his part with much trial and error with regard to Japanese. A digression on receptive multilingualism will describe what it is and how he was able to apply it to his benefit in the acquisition of Japanese listening skills. The physicality of speech and the consequent importance of some form of outside stimulation for its development will be then be discussed.
After this, mention will be made of how he came upon the idea of adapting childhood techniques in learning how to read to the acquisition of reading competence in the Japanese language. In connection with this, he will make another digression on the relationship he perceives as existing between active and passive language skills and, from this will proceed to end his talk with mention of how this might be seen as being applicable to his progress to date in learning Japanese and why, for better or worse, this would not normally apply to classroom acquisition of Japanese either inside or outside of Japan today.
Kulakov, Stepan (senior undergraduate student, linguistics program, Faculty of International Relations and Tourism, Moscow University for the Humanities)
“What polyglots talk about: transcribing the round table discussion on polyglottery and education held in New York City, 2013”
This paper is based on the experience gained while transcribing the audio recording of the round table discussion on polyglottery and education held at international conference Multilingual Proficiency: Language, Polyglossia and Polyglottery (New York City, 2013). A summary of the discussion will be provided, the key ideas of the participants will be pointed out, and some personal observations on the matter will be shared, including the difficulties confronted during the process of transcription.
The discussion covered such topics as definitions of a polyglot, measurement of language knowledge, the phenomenon of switching languages in speech and implementation of polyglots’ experience in language education systems. Observing the development of polyglots’ ideas on these issues (if data from subsequent polyglot conferences and gatherings is provided) will make it possible to see if polyglots’ agenda has changed over the years, which constitutes the immediate perspective of this study.
Leonteva, Varvara (MA graduate of the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Linguistics, Moscow State University)
“Russian language education in Germany”
The Russian language is one of the languages which are learnt in Germany at any educational level. Though today it has lost its positions in the rate of foreign languages chosen by the Germans, there are many interesting projects and initiatives supporting and maintaining the status of the Russian language in Germany. In this report I am going to give an overview of the history of cultural relations between Russia and Germany, try to explain the reasons of the current situation and describe the perspectives of the Russian language in the today’s Germany. By way of examples, I will discuss such events and projects as “To4kaTreff”, “Russomobil” and the activities of the Russian culture centers in Germany, as well as programs in Russian as a foreign language at schools and universities in Germany.
Nikulicheva, Dina (Doctor of Philology, Chief Researcher at the Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Professor of Moscow State Linguistic University)
“Polyglots’ multisensory language learning behavior and its application in teaching languages”
It seems obvious that the most reliable sources of information on polyglottery are the memoirs and books written by polyglots. In this paper I will argue that the 3rd person perspective on the issue of polyglottery is no less useful because it allows to reveal some strategies that manifest themselves unconsciously and thus are hidden from polyglots themselves.
As an example, I would like to derive the process of monitoring the well-known American polyglot, Alexander Arguelles. The discussed material was collected over three months of daily online observations (from January 1, 2014, to April 10, 2014) while Arguelles was studying Hebrew from scratch as his new language number 48.
Alexander Arguelles’s main assertion about the source of his extraordinary skills in language learning is about the extreme efficiency of his time management and organization of classes. However, what Arguelles did not notice and what became obvious in the process of monitoring him learning Hebrew were, among many other things, his multisensory strategies of linguistic data input.
Alexander himself claims that he does not use mnemonic techniques when memorizing words or grammatical structures, with the exception of etymological links. However, observing Arguelles for more than 100 days convinced me that the principle of multisensory memorizing was of crucial importance for him.
When he works with the French textbook, Assimil, he memorizes the constructions from parallel texts. A combination of sound, meaning and graphics, superimposed on intensive multiple articulation with acceleration and rhythmic movement, is sufficient for memorization. However, the strategy changes when Arguelles moves to a different type of textbook. After the initial stage Assimil, he took a more complicated course of Hebrew where parallel texts were not used. There, at the beginning of each lesson, new words were introduced with their explanations in German. At that point Alexander’s strategy of material input became different. Quite unaware of it now, he accompanied words with gestures. This prompted me to conduct an experiment in the format of a guessing game. It turned out that those gestures were always either iconic or functional.
These results confirm observations that sensory loaded vocabulary is more naturally recalled when switching from language to language because sensing the meaning of a word becomes a common denominator, which is easy to impose on sound representations of words in various languages.
Ohtsuki, Minoru (PhD, Dean and Professor of the Graduate School of Foreign Languages, Daito Bunka University)
“Language and thinking: contrastive characterization of English, French, German and Russian, with its application to language pedagogy”
This paper seeks to give a holistic characterization of English, French, German and Russian, enquire into their relationship to the types of thinking fostered by these languages, and give some suggestions for the teaching of the languages (especially to non-native speakers).
The characteristics of a language can be empirically identified by contrasting texts written in the language and their translations into other languages. If some common orientations are constantly observed in diverse translations to and from a language (e.g. from English to French and from French to English), they could be interpreted as reflecting the characteristics of the language, the theoretical characterization of which is to be confirmed or falsified by further investigation.
English captures concrete, individual facts and situations (that change every moment) in a physical manner, i.e. in terms of time and space, in particular. It is experiential, empirical and practical (pragmatic). It gives weight to purposes and the necessary means to achieve them. While it exhibits physical monism and thus makes a precise description of facts, it dispenses with details unless they are empirically or pragmatically significant.
French does not pursue thoroughly either experiences or ideas but analyzes objects into their parts and elements, and captures relationships between them, clearly distinguishing each from one another. It exhibits rational dualism that seeks to attain a balance between binary oppositions.
German reorganizes facts and experiences in terms of abstract categories, such as ordering, quantity and cause-and-effect relationships, instead of purely describing them. It exhibits idealistic trialism or quadrialism, characterized by a grand systematization with thoroughness (Gründlichkeit).
The above characteristics of the three languages can be observed also in the types of thinking conducted by philosophers and mathematicians who developed their theories in their respective languages, e.g. Newton, Descartes and Leibniz.
Russian, on the other hand, is antithetical to all these Western languages. In one typical case, French exhibits mechanism (mechanistic thinking), lacking both necessity and purpose, English, pragmatism, explicitly stating both necessity and purpose, and German, teleology, stating only purpose devoid of necessity. In contrast, Russian expresses neither necessity nor purpose but explicitly states the process, which involves negation, and its result. In other words, it finds values even in doing nothing, one of the deep aspects of the boundless self-growth.
As regards language pedagogy, this research provides both teachers and learners with the overall picture of an individual language, which should give them those organizing principles lying behind individual phenomena that facilitate the teaching and learning of a foreign language. It can also give them the great pleasure of discovering hidden patterns by themselves, instead of mere memorization of words and phrases. In terms of the method of teaching, it also re-evaluates the role of translation (especially literal translation), as well as that of grammar, which is the essential foundation of thinking based upon language.
QUESTIONS PROPOSED FOR ROUND TABLE DISCUSSION
How can the current state and trends of language learning/teaching be characterized (globally and in particular countries)?
What are the problems of language training in general education?
How can these problems be dealt with?
How can polyglots’ learning models be integrated with foreign language instruction?
What are the linguistic, psychological and cultural aspects of the phenomenon of polyglottery?
What uses and effects can multilingual knowledge have in education, academia, economy, society and culture?
How can contrastive language studies contribute to research in polyglottery/geolinguistics and to the improvement of language education?
What can be the role of geolinguistics in today’s language-oriented studies?
How can the relationship between language and thinking be described in the light of recent research (including studies in polyglottery and geolinguistics)?
Why has Esperanto not attracted more attention among linguists and language educators despite it being the only so-called “planned language” to develop a stable community of users in over 120 countries over five generations and despite the fact that, according to some experiments, short courses in Esperanto tend to improve subsequent language learning?
International Symposium on Language Education,
Polyglottery and Geolinguistics
(Moscow, August 27-28, 2018)
The Symposium recognizes that:
- the quality of general foreign language education is for the most part unsatisfactory given the correlation between the resources invested and the results achieved
- polyglottery (as the study of consciously attained multilingual proficiency) is a promising field of research whose data needs to be integrated with current education systems
- a geolinguistic perspective in studying and presenting language facts (i.e. considering them in dynamic connection with various social trends and with regard to a spacio-temporal framework) is up-to-date and can be of use in improving students’ motivation.
For the improvement of foreign language education, the Symposium recommends:
- to design and introduce into foreign language curricula propedeutical courses on the methodology of language learning
- to use more audio and video materials during study sessions, to encourage extensive reading of literature at students’ choice and to process information on topics of interest through the medium of the target language
- that teachers pay more attention to emphasizing the benefits of foreign language education to students, as well as to motivation, personal goals/needs and other psychological factors on the part of the students, especially to their negative stereotypes
- that more research be done on the possible use of planned languages for the purpose of encouraging subsequent language learning
- that previous research on language acquisition be built upon.