The significance of English is likely to be very high for every developing country because it can directly influence a country’s place in the world economy. Thus, throughout recent years one of the most important issues in the Kazakhstani education system is the implementation of the trilingual education. The Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan is trying to embody teaching in three languages – Kazakh, Russian and English – in all the Kazakhstani educational places including kindergartens, schools, colleges and universities. However, currently the implementation process is facing with the enormous problem which is lack of the teachers who are able to provide students with the qualitative knowledge in three languages. While the Kazakh language orientated teachers have some troubles in Russian, the Russian language oriented teachers have problems with Kazakh. Furthermore, in most cases English is a big puzzle for both Kazakh and Russian speaking teachers.
According to Yule (2010), there are approximately 30 language family trees which consist of very different languages of the world (p. 225). The Kazakh language belongs to the Turkic language family tree whereas the Russian and English languages are under the Indo-European language family (Ethnologue, 2016). Despite the fact that these languages are in different branches of the different languages families, they can still be taught together. In my point of view, linguistics can assist teachers to learn Kazakh, Russian and English languages fast and effectively in terms of phonetics, phonology, morphology, and syntax in order to implement the trilingual education in Kazakhstan as soon as possible.
As a first step towards implementing trilingual education, the Kazakhstani teachers should be taught the phonetics and phonology of the languages. It will help them pronounce words correctly, write orthographically (a correct spelling), and, thereafter teach students the right pronunciation and spelling. Yule (2010) claims that phonetics is “the general study of the characteristics of speech sounds” (p. 26). Teachers should pay attention mainly to the articulatory phonetics because it teaches the way of speech sounds articulation (Yule, 2010). It will be easy for teachers to learn L2 and/or L3 through comparing to L1. For instance, there are labials, alveolars, palatals and velars in English as well as in Russian. After maintaining the phonetics of the language, teachers should move to the phonology. “The description of the systems and patterns of speech sounds in a language” is defined as phonology by Yule (2010, p. 42). Phonology mainly deals with phones, allophones, minimal sets, syllables, assimilation, elision and etc. All of the phenomena occur in Kazakh, Russian and English, that is why it will be much more convenient for teachers to learn them together. Completing the studying of the phonetics and phonology of the languages, teachers can take next step which is word formation and morphology.
Word formation is the studying of the word uprise. It will be amazing to study the word formation: to understand how the particular word appeared. Also there are a lot of words which were borrowed from Russian to Kazakh (eg. қорап khorap – коробка korobka – box). Another interesting point might be becoming familiar with new way of word formation like clipping, backformation or conversion – these phenomena do not happen in Kazakh and Russian languages. Moving to morphology, teachers will deepen their knowledge of foreign languages by investigating the basic forms of the words: their roots, suffixes, prefixes and endings. The table below shows the similarities and differences of the three languages morphology. There is no prefix in the Kazakh language. Also ending in different languages have slight differences: English endings show the singular or plural forms of the word, Kazakh endings illustrate the singular/plural forms and cases, and Russian endings demonstrate the singular/plural forms, cases and gender.
Studying phonetics, phonology, word formation and morphology, teachers should be taught how to make sentences in a language. The way of constructing sentences is taught in syntax. In Kazakh sentences structure is subject + object + verb, while in Russian and English it is subject + verb + object.
|Kazakh||Мен – subject||кітаптар – object||оқимын -verb||Men kitap okymin.
I read books.
|Russian||Я – subject||читаю – verb||книги – object||Ya chitayu knigi.
I read books.
|English||I – subject||read – verb||books – object|
To sum up, in order to be able to educate students in the three languages Kazakhstani teachers should start from learning the linguistic patterns of Kazakh, Russian and English themselves. Becoming familiar with linguistics of these languages, teachers are supposed to have more opportunities for teaching their subject in any of Kazakh, Russian, or English languages.
Yule, G. (ed.). (2010). The study of language. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Lewis, M., Gary F., and Charles D. (eds.). (2016). Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Nineteenth edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Retrieved 16 October 2016 from https://www.ethnologue.com/subgroups/east-67
Lewis, M., Gary F., and Charles D. (eds.). (2016). Ethnologue: Languages of the World, Nineteenth edition. Dallas, Texas: SIL International. Retrieved 16 October 2016 from https://www.ethnologue.com/subgroups/english-1