Monthly Archives: April 2017

The change in the discourse of multilingualism in Kazakhstan in the last decade


(Photo: Dean C.K. Cox,

During certain periods of time, the increase of tensions regarding language situation in Kazakhstan is observed. It is connected with the unsuccessful attempt to switch solely to the Kazakh language in the political, economic, and social lives of the citizens of Kazakhstan after a long period of the Russian language dominance in the Soviet time. The discourse analysis is a useful approach to trace the development of ideas and attitudes among the population of Kazakhstan. In this blog, I will analyze the period of 2007 – 2015, almost a decade when one of the largest conflicts about the linguistic issues appeared.

The following two paragraphs are from the interviews with an educational leader and social activist who express different views on the role of Kazakh and Russian in the society as the starting point of the coming tensions.

“Kazakh-language teaching is gradually being introduced into all Russian-language schools, but there are no plans to close Russian-language schools. In the Soviet Union, there was discrimination against Kazakh. Now there is a revival of Kazakh, but Russian is functioning alongside it. There is no discrimination” (Eurasianet July 23, 2007; a quote from Svetlana Chzhao, the official in charge of Karaganda city’s general and secondary education)

“Policy seems to be specially constructed around removing Russian-speakers from state structures. I think for the authorities it is advantageous if [Russian speakers] do not know [Kazakh].” (Eurasianet July 23, 2007; a quote from Ksenia Makhotina, a local activist for the unregistered Alga! Party)

The expert Chzhao emphasized on the “gradual” introduction of the Kazakh language into schools with Russian medium of instruction. This type of introduction was not quite clear explained because in the year 2007 the Kazakh language had already been introduced as a subject in all schools throughout the country. In the case of the Kazakh language, the process of language revitalization (Fishman, 1991) was taking place due to its underdevelopment during the Soviet Period. She considered that this positive trend does not go at the expense of the Russian language. However, according to Makhotina, not the “gradual” development of the Kazakh language but the gradual replacement of Russian speaking people from authority positions is taking place in Kazakhstan. Thus, the concern of spreading language discrimination was expressed by some public figures in 2007.

These concerns were probably justified because several years later the slight tension turned into an attempt to raise a social conflict where some parties demanded the total exclusion of the Russian language from the use in Kazakhstan.

“Serious passions flared up this week in Kazakhstan. The war for the Russian language. It has begun with a letter, addressed to the President, which was signed by over a hundred people. Among those who signed are poets, deputies, and even astronauts. The main requirement is to protect the Kazakh language, and for this purpose to exclude Pushkin’s language from public life. Otherwise, the defenders of the state language ‘are willing to go to extreme measures’, as is stated in their letter” (Mir24 September 11, 2011: a quote from the reporter of the news program)

The use of words is particularly interesting. “Among those who signed are poets, deputies, and even cosmonauts” which means that even people who are not directly connected to language policy or linguistic issues contribute to the debate. Reporters do not illustrate what “extreme measures” activists claim and it means that those who announce it probably do not have anything to threat with but express the seriousness of their intentions. Also, the use of “Pushkin’s language” instead of the Russian language is an extra contrast between the languages of Russians and Kazakhs, Pushkin and Abai and consequently between Russia and Kazakhstan. This emphasizes that the Russian language is appropriate for Russia and in Kazakhstan Abai’s language should be spoken. The assimilationist discourse is mainly negative here because is likely to involve forced shift to the Kazakh language polarizing Russian and Kazakh to each other.

The conflict was resolved without any extreme measures and in 2015 the expert of Central Eurasian studies, professor of Indiana University William Fierman, comments on the linguistic situation in Kazakhstan.

After a short period of unrealistic expectations [after the Independence] of the Kazakh language policy has been and remains moderate. […] In my opinion, citizens should have the right to speak in Kazakh, Russian or any other language they choose. However, the policy was not sufficiently tight to ensure that all citizens who have gone through the Kazakhstani education know the state language.

Under “unrealistic expectations” Fierman implies the period after the gaining the Independence when radically minded public figures intended to exclude the Russian language from the use of the population of Kazakhstan in several years. These ambitious plans failed because the President of the Republic strengthened the status of the Russian language in the Constitution as a language of interethnic communication. This change was made in order to keep harmony and peace between two main ethnic groups: Russians and Kazakhs. Afterward, the language policy was very deliberate and according to some experts too cautious. The main problem in current language policy is its incapacity to turn the Russian-speaking population into learning the Kazakh language and use it on the everyday basis.

As a conclusion, we see that despite the moderate language policy regarding official languages in Kazakhstan, the intention to make the Kazakh language the only language used in all spheres of social and political life still gets public support. The year 2011 was a critical point when dissatisfaction with too lenient measures regarding the Kazakh language development caused a new wave of the controversy of the language’s usage in Kazakhstan. After this significant debate followed the period of relative calm in this question which, however, can be calm before the storm if some political figures decide to provoke a conflict on the basis of language.  That is why policymakers and multilingual leaders should be precise and careful in elaborating language policies in order to sustain mutual understanding in the society as this is a very sensitive topic and can be easily used for some interested parties’ purposes.


De Jong, E. J. (2011). Foundations for multilingualism in education: From principles to practice. Philadelphia, PA: Caslon Publishing.

Experty: voina protiv russkogo yazika raskolet Kazakhstan [Experts: the war against the Russian language will split Kazakhstan]. (2011, September 9). Retrieved from

Fishman, J. A. (1991). Reversing language Shift: Theory and Practice of Assistance to Threatened Languages. Clevedon : Multilingual Matters.

Lillis, J. (2007, July 23). Kazakhstan: Officials Adopt Low-Key Approach on Language Policy. Retrieved from

Uilyam Fierman: yazikovaya politika v Kazakhstane umerennaya [William Fierman: the language policy in Kazakhstan in moderate]. (2015, June 26). Retrieved from

Famous plurilingual individuals: Milla Jovovich (Data Interpretation)

The data interpretation presents an analysis of short video starring with actress Milla Jovovich . Milla Jovovich is an American actress of Russian-Serbian origin. Her father is a Serbian doctor and mother is a Russian actress. Milla knows four languages that are Russian, Serbian, English and French (The This short video presents language shifting from English to Russian and vice versa in her speech. Furthermore, the analysis includes quantitative and qualitative interpretation of the video.

Milla Jovovich is on the set of “Resident Evil: Retribution” movie in Toronto and she is recording filming process for fans. The film includes different locations and one of them is Moscow city. That is why Milla addresses to her Russian fans in the video. She greets viewers in both languages and gives similar information about current location. For example: “What’s up, everybody!” and “Здравствуйте, весь мир, моя любимая Россия”.  It is noticeable that even though she tries to speak in two languages, the amount of English speech prevails. Overall, Milla switched from English to Russian and from Russian to English 8 times during 2 minutes video. She constructed 24 complete sentences in English and 9 sentences in Russian. The fact that the actress creates full sentences in both languages and shifts from one language to another is a good example of code-switching. Code-switching that Milla uses in the video is more “intersentential”, because she does not mix languages within one sentence, she finishes one idea and then switches to another language (Garcia, p. 50). There are two linguistic contexts in the situation: on the one hand is Russian speaking audience and on the other hand is English dominant audience. One of the reasons why Milla Jovovich chose Russian as the second language in her interview is the current setting of the film. It is supposed to be in Moscow, at the Arbatskaya station, even though it is in Toronto. Milla, being able to speak in Russian, uses this competence to grab Russian fans’ attention to the movie. It is also interesting and fascinating for foreign viewers to see actress speaking Russian and starring in the movie that partially takes place in Russia.

In case of Milla Jovovich, as plurilingual individual, it can be more than code-switching. The process of translanguaging including code-switching takes place here. As Garcia (2009) explains “translanguagings are multiple discursive practices in which bilinguals engage in order to make sense of their bilingual worlds” (p. 45). During the first five years of childhood Milla was surrounded by Russian and Serbian languages. When she was five years old her family leaved Ukraine and moved to California (The Since then girl lived in two language worlds: her home languages and language for communication in society. In terms of Cummins (1980) BICS and CALP, I think that Milla acquired Basic Interpersonal Communicative Skills in Russian, but some deep and sophisticated ideas are difficult to express in this language. While in English she has Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency. It is the language in which she studied at school and was exposed to during all her life (Cummins, p. 112). With this in mind, I want to highlight that Russian is the first native language for Milla Jovovich, but her identity is mostly American. American culture is seen in her behavior, gestures and the way she speaks in Russian. It is natural process and identifying herself as American, Milla at the same time respects her roots and mother language.

It will be interesting for me to listen how Mila Jovovich talks with her parents. They have lived in the United States of America for a long time and I think they use mostly English speech while communicating with each other.

Reference: Editors. (2014). Retrieved from:  20950779

Cummins, J. (1980). The Entry and Exit Fallacy in Bilingual Education. NABE Journal, 4(3), 25–59.

García, O. (2009). Bilingualism and translanguaging. Bilingual education in the 21st century: A global perspective, 44-50. Retrieved from:

Milla Yovovich govorit na russkom S’emki Obitel zla 5 (Milla Jovovich speaks in Russian on the set of Resident Evil Retribution). (2017). Retrieved from:

The lost message

You may know from my previous blogposts that I have a keen interest in the dichotomy between native and non-native English speakers. There is an urgent matter that I would like to raise which came to my attention via a recent (well, it was published almost 1.5 year ago) BBC article. According to the report, with English being a lingua franca, native English speakers (NES) are not at an advantageous position anymore, as they have to adapt their language to non-native English speakers (NNES) to cooperate effectively in the workplace. It seemed strange to me at first. On second thought, however, this claim made a lot of sense.  The smart manager, businessperson or anyone working in a global team realizes the importance of being understood to their international colleagues and surely, would try to accommodate NNES. However, what makes NES’s lives even harder is that “too many non-Anglophones, especially the Asians and the French, are too concerned about not ‘losing face’- and nod approvingly while not getting the message at all”, as quoted in another BBC article powerfully titled as “native English speakers are the world’s worst communicators”. So, even if NES are willing to show courtesy to be understood by slowing down their pace of speaking, avoiding the use of idioms, sayings, slangs and jargons, and instead, use simple vocabulary, how are they going to know that others do not understand them if these others do not let them know about it? Isn’t it an absurd?

Director of the Centre for Global Englishes at the University of Southampton, Jennifer Jenkins, draws our attention on yet another important issue that NES are not only having hard times to be understood, but also struggling to understand others, i.e., NNES. As a NNES myself, I can imagine that my natural accented English can affect comprehensibility, but accents and dialects vary dramatically even across English-speaking countries. For instance, British, Americans, Canadians, Australians share the same language, but according to their social or cultural group, they may have developed their homegrown regional accents/dialects which can be mutually unintelligible. What I am saying is that, it is unsound to expect to understand and be understood all the time, because miscommunication can easily happen even between two native English speakers, let alone between NES and NNES.


So, the most useful takeaway from those two articles for me was that irrespective of whether you are NES or NNES, you should always make an attempt to modify your language and improve your communicability. Thus, NES can learn how to grade their language whereas NNES can always ask questions for comprehension, as effective communication occurs when both parties are equally involved in the process.

Did you like BBC articles? Do you think they are melodramatic, overstating or just fine? What is your perspective as a native or non-native English speaker?

Some ways to incorporate ICC into the language classroom

Multicultural kids with globe art_0

In recent years, the concept of culture has become an integral component of English language teaching and learning. In fact, Damen (1987) defines culture as “the fifth dimension” of language teaching in addition to other four language skills.

Defining intercultural competence is a complex task. However, its essence lies in the preparation of individuals to interact appropriately and effectively with those from other cultural backgrounds. The use of the term “intercultural” reflects the view that EFL learners have to gain insight into both, their own and the foreign culture (Byram & Planet, 2000). It refers to the “ability to ensure a shared understanding by people of different social identities, and ability to interact with people as complex human beings with multiple identities and their own individuality” (Sercu, 2005, p. 3). Moreover, this competency highlights the negotiation between different cultures, the ability to look at oneself from an “external” perspective, analyse and adapt one’s own behaviours, values and beliefs (Moran, 2001).

However, to integrate the cultural dimension into the language learning process, educators need to keep in mind that social interaction among people from the different cultural background will be successful only if  “they bring to the situation their knowledge about their own country and of the others’ (Bayram & Planet, 2000).

Thus, here are some ways how teachers could integrate the cultural dimension into the language learning process:

  1. Cultural awareness of one’s own culture

One of the aims of intercultural approach to language teaching/learning is to facilitate learner’s exploration of their own culture. For example, learners can be engaged in pair or group discussions and use some brainstorming or mapping techniques to gather different ideas of their understanding of a particular cultural concept. This task will show the diversity in awareness within learners and exchange with some unknown views or information. Learners can also develop their cultural awareness through associations they have when they think about a particular topic which will reflect the learners’ own culture. For example, the word cow may produce associations with food or milk, or chocolate or even God, depending on the culture. Or the topic of social networks must be very close to learners as social networking is very popular among their peer group. They can discuss the attitudes towards spending time socialising virtually or positive or harmful effects on health and education. So reflecting on thought and ideas is very important in terms that learner will now have a general idea on a cultural issue and prepared to acquire knowledge about other cultures.

  1. Cultural awareness of other cultures

An important aspect of language teaching/learning is creating an authentic meaningful situation (Byram & Planet, 2000) where language can be learned.  Also creating an authentic situation or bringing real objects will increase learners’ interest, motivation and curiosity for culture learning. For example, teachers can create an account in a social network that learners frequently use and create a group where students can share what they found or learned about target culture with classmates. Or a teacher may give students a task to find a pen friend from other country and conduct an interview and then discuss it in class. Another useful tool in facilitating cultural awareness of other culture is watching videos. From videos, students develop their ability to observe the cultural behaviour of people. Or an interview with a native speaker can serve as a great source of cultural information and be a real intercultural situation where learners can practice their intercultural competencies.  Such activities will make the lessons more interesting and learners will feel more motivated in learning about the target culture.

  1. Comparing cultures

First of all in order to compare cultures learners need to have an understanding of their own culture because “no-one can be sure to know enough about his/her own culture” (Byram & Planet, 2000). This is regarded as a foundation for learning the target language culture. Culture always changes and students should be aware of this so that they can have a better understanding of their own and the target culture. Each culture has different values and none of the values in one culture is better than the others in another culture.

In conclusion, I want to say that learning the foreign language should move beyond teaching just grammar and factual knowledge about the western cultures such as “London is a capital of Great Britain”, but involve and embrace the diversity and foster the development of attitudes of openness and tolerance in learners.


Byram, M., & Planet, M.T. (2000). Social identity and European dimension: Intercultural competence through foreign language learning. Graz: Council of Europe Publishing

Damen, L. (1987). Culture learning: The fifth dimension on the language classroom. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Moran, P.R. (2001), Teaching Culture: Perspectives in Practice, Boston, Mass.: Heinle and Heinle

Sercu, L. (2005) Testing intercultural competence in a foreign language. Current approaches and future challenges. BELL (Belgian Journal of Language and Literature)

To learn, or not to learn? Or to acquire?!

Acquisition might take from several months to couple of years, whereas learning might last all life long. This assumption is fortified by the input hypothesis represented by linguist Stephen Krashen who made a distinction between language learning and language acquisition, claiming that acquisition is a subconscious process, while learning is a conscious one (Sole, 1994). Conversely, contemporary state school and university curriculum is mostly focused on so called “skill building” approach to language teaching which means that teachers have to teach students to pass through the tests by means of sufficient linguistic skills, therefore it is more likely to be called language learning rather than acquisition.

The language acquisition process often occurs unconsciously, instinctively, inadvertently, without purposeful assimilation. However, the process of language acquisition may be also a conscious, if you are, for example, taught a particular language with a particular purpose, or it can be intuitive when you already acquired a language and developed some speaking skills from your childhood.

To some extend second language acquisition can be similar to L1 acquisition process. This means that second language acquisition should be maximally alike, thereby this process will be effortless and efficient. Moreover, according to Krashen’s theory, the process of  L2 acquisition is similar to the acquisition of mother-tongue (Sole, 1994). Thereby, second language acquisition can be artificially imitated. There are a diversity of methods in L2 teaching that might provide the imitation of L1 acquisition process. For example, Total Physical Response (TPR) and Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS) discussed in one of my previous blogs. Given methods empower the students to learn grammar and vocabulary through perception of comprehensible messages, so they acquire L2 subconsciously during listening and reading. Finally, L2 acquisition process might be expediently assimilated with L1 acquisition process.

I am personally convinced that language acquisition occurs beyond stressful memorization of grammar structures and loads of vocabulary. I started to make significant progress as I gave up on memorizing and writing mathematical formulas of tenses to learn using them automatically. Whereas relaxing and joyful activities such as following video blog channels of my interest, reading catchy news and articles, and watching my favourite movies for 101th time in English helped me to start understanding, writing, reading and speaking more fluently than ever before.

What sort of advice would you give to your friends or relatives in order to help them reduce their sufferance in foreign language learning?


Sole, Y. (1994). The Input Hypothesis and the Bilingual Learner. The Bilingual Review, 19(2), 99–110

Picture credits to:×394.png

Want kids to learn well? Feed them well | Sam Kass (Deconstruction)

Sam Kass is a chef and food policy maker whose family members and relatives mainly comprise teachers. Sam In his Ted speech claims that feeding children well leads to better educational attainments. Relying on the examples of his colleagues life experience and research study results he explains how school nutrition programs improved overall educational outcomes of children.

Sam Kass raises an important question of the correlation between child’s growing mind and their growing body. At the beginning of the speech the presenter mentions excessive consumption of sugar and  lack of nutrients in children’s diets. He also suggests that hunger and non nutrient food makes pupils think about food while learning.

To support his claims he provides the results of multiple studies. The first evidence is shown on the example of a girl he calls Allison who goes to a school that provides a nutritious breakfast with fruit and milk and lower sugar and salt. He says Allison in this case will have lower rate of obesity, less nurse visits, better behavior, less anxiety, better attendance and less tardiness in contrast to average school kid. Furthermore, Sam provides an opposite example of Tommy who is 12 as well as Allison. In case of Tommy there is no nutritious breakfast which raises the probability of repeated low academic performance and poor cognitive function throughout the kindergarten and school grades.

Another evidence provided by the presenter is about the program (Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010) which ensured breakfast and lunch to every kid in a school for free. The schools implemented this program registered an increase in math and reading scores by 17.5%. Sam also emphasizes the result of study which suggests that kids having a consistent and nutritious breakfast increase their chances of graduating by 20%.

Regarding the life experience of his colleagues, Sam narrates the case of Burke County school, one of the poorest district in Georgia. School nutrition director of the Burke County established new nutrition standards providing breakfast full of fruits and vegetables and implementing dinner program. The latter program was due to the absence of dinner for kids at home since they live at or below the line of poverty. As a result, kids reported positive responses on the program. However, the most important outcome he says was the breakthrough of the school football team in the state championship the coach of which credited that championship victory to the initiator of the food program at school.

Personally, I agree with the statement of the Sam Kass and believe that nutrition is one of the key factors to succeed in education since brain is the biggest energy consumer in human body. Moreover, I liked the way he presented his evidence and arguments. For instance, he illustrated boring numbers of study results in the form of characters, average schoolchildren to represent the benefits or and disadvantages of having or missing breakfast.

The Studio School – Deconstruction analysis

Geoff Mulgan in his Ted speech presented information on a new kind of school. It is called the Studio School. The idea of creation of Studio Schools was raised by the Young Foundation organization. The Studio School is a place where students learn and work simultaneously. Usually it is a small school with 300 or 400 students of 14-19 years old. Studying process there is full of practice and as close to real life as possible.

The thesis of this presentation lies in the speaker’s belief that Studio Schools will solve two biggest problems in the education system of the United Kingdom. The first problem is students’ failure to find connections between things they learn at school and their future professions; while the second one is employers’ dissatisfaction with school graduates’ skills, abilities and experience.

To support his argument, Geoff Mulgan provided a claim that teenagers understand and learn information better by doing real things and working together in groups. This claim comes from the experiences of the first two Studio Schools in Luton and Blackpool cities, The United Kingdom. The next claim is that students love education system in Studio Schools more than in mainstream schools and find it very interesting. To support the claim Geoff Mulgan presented the evidence of how the students with low academic achievements found themselves on the top of British marking system after two years of studying in the Studio School.

Speaker’s argument is supported by the academic studies about non-cognitive skills and academic results in terms of GCSE (British marking system). Moreover, Geoff Mulgan underlines that some influential people, as the minister of education in London and the head of the Chambers of Commerce, support the idea of Studio Schools. The speaker addresses to all educational stakeholders. He wants them to see the benefits of the Studio School and help in fulfilling this idea. Presenter’s tone is confident and inspiring as well as his gestures. I found Geoff Mulgan’s speech very persuading not only because of the evidence presented, but also because of his presenting style. Sometimes he highlighted significant points and repeated phrases. For instance, he mentioned: “It’s happened almost entirely without media coverage. It’s happened almost entirely without big money behind it. It spread almost entirely through word of mouth.” I found this presentation very inspiring and easy to follow.

Linguistic interference: eliminate or ignore?


Picture from:

Proficiency in several languages tends to trigger the interaction of language repertoire units. This interaction of languages are ubiquitous and labelled variously depending on causing factors (e.g. code-mixing, code-switching, language loss, etc.). Thus, I am going to address the issue of linguistic interference (a.k.a. language transfer, L1 interference, and crosslinguistic influence) which occurs as a result of the influence of one language to another.

Linguistic interference is defined as a linguistic overlap when a particular linguistic unit refers to the systems of two languages simultaneously (Haugen, 2001). In other words, it is the transfer of linguistic units wether from L1 to L2, vice versa or many other relations (Jarvis & Pavlenko, 2008). Given theory is to some extent similar to the notion of code-mixing. The latter one however is a broad term describing the simultaneous use of two languages, whereas linguistic interference regards more specific layers of language such as grammar, syntax, stylistics, semantics, lexis, phonological and orthographic.

To make it clear, I will provide an example of linguistic interference occurring in the speech of English, Russian and Kazakh speakers. A word library in Kazakh (кітапхана) is sometimes replaced by a Russian equivalent causing lexical interference: Мен библиотекаға бара жатырмын (I am going to the library). In this case the Russian equivalent obtains underlined Kazakh suffix –ға so it kazakhizates this word. Another example between English and Russian forming grammar interference: Tourists visit our city rarely. Wrong position of the adverb of frequency is due to the peculiarity of its Russian equivalent. In Russian we can say both туристы редко (rarely) посещают наш город or туристы посещают наш город редко (rarely). This phenomenon is inherent in language learners and multilinguals and often considered as a deviation in speech construction or translation.

Linguistic interference taking place in classroom settings is often regarded by the teacher as a negative phenomenon, as a mistake. However, overemphasizing the importance of eliminating linguistic interference in student’s speech might in turn lead to language anxiety which will definitely aggravate the language acquisition process. Moreover, not knowing the necessary structure in target language might be compensated by the borrowing from L1 for instance. Of course it makes the speech sound ridiculous, but at least it enables a learner to try to speak in the target language and learn from mistakes at the beginning level.

What factors do you think trigger these transfers of linguistic structures? Do you agree that linguistic interference in language learners should be ignored and considered as a transition stage of language acquisition which helps a learner to fill the gaps in language proficiency through the use of elements from another language?


Haugen, E. (2001). The ecology of language. The ecolinguistics reader: Language, ecology and environment, 57-66.

Jarvis, S., & Pavlenko, A. (2008). Crosslinguistic influence in language and cognition. Routledge.

Place of the linguistics in language teacher training  


Картинки по запросу LINGUISTICS

Since Kazakhstan is a multilingual and multicultural country, our government began to implement trilingual policy.  Trilingual policy of Kazakhstan involves the acquirement of three languages: Kazakh, Russian and English. The implementation of trilingual policy has been stated as one of the major goals in the State Program of Education Development for 2011-2020 (SPED) that “Education quality is determined primarily by highly-qualified teachers”. Thus, in order to achieve the successful implementation of this policy, the government is focused on teachers’ professional development. Hence, it were opened Centers of Excellence (CoE) for training proficient teachers. The state program “Bolashak” extended its opportunity for teachers by enabling them to gain sufficient experience abroad. So, there are different areas which are taking part in the process of teachers’ training. The issue is whether linguists can efficiently participate in the process of development language teachers’ training or not. This essay will discuss the connection of linguistics and language teaching by concluding that linguists play the vital role in the training language teachers.

Linguistics is a study of language. It serves as a bridge between theory and practice in teaching foreign languages (Ogeyik, 2010). Meanwhile, the language teacher is a person who should support the relationship principles of theory and methods of practice in order to advance language teaching performance (Widdowson, 1984). So, linguists can teach language teachers how to use theory in practice as well as practice in theory. The effective applying connection between language theory and practice methods in the classroom allows students to acquire new topics on foreign language lessons for the long-term. As an example, during the lessons on explaining tenses, without any practical tasks just giving the definition of the tense will make the students just to memorize the topic for the short-term.

Linguists also study the linguistic branches such as phonetics, phonology, syntax and morphology. The acquirement of these branches by the language teachers helps them to gather more deep and precise insight into the nature of the language. For instance, during learning foreign language students face the problem with correct placement and manner of articulation resulting in wrong pronunciation of the sounds and words. The area that study characteristics of the speech sounds is the phonetics (Yule, 2010). Obtaining knowledge in phonetics lead teachers to identify the main reasons of making errors of students and apply the reliable methods of pronunciation teaching. As Wilkins (1972) claimed that teachers ought to avoid any misrepresentation in intonation or in sound production. In the case of Kazakhstani language policy, one more advantage of learning phonetics for teachers that certain phonetic feature of students’ mother tongue can help teach another language more easily. Thus, on the basis of knowledge of Kazakh and Russian phonetic system teachers can explain the pronunciation of the Russian language sounds in comparison with Kazakh sounds and vice versa.

Phonetics, syntax, grammar of the language is all that aims to describe the nature of the language (Wilkins, 1972). However, we could not talk about the language without concerning its social and historical background. It is considered by sociolinguists and diachronic linguists. As Honmei and Ni (2016) pointed out “If we want to master a language really, we must have an adequate knowledge of the rich social and cultural backgrounds in which the language exists; rich social and cultural knowledge also benefits the comprehension and use of language” (p.23). So teachers can teach how to use the social features of the foreign languages such as dialect, idioms or slangs appropriately on the current situation. Therefore, the awareness about sociolinguistics allows teachers alter teaching methods and techniques in accordance with socio-linguistic level of the studied language (Wilkins, 1972). In terms of diachronic or historical linguistics, it can enable teachers to create the language learning in the historical concept. For example, teachers can use their knowledge in diachronic linguistics during the explaining the origin of the words or why some expressions lost its usage in everyday speech. This type of teaching, where teacher is able to color the lesson topic with adding some more details and knowledge, can encourage students’ interest and motivation to further acquiring foreign language.

In conclusion, according to above mentioned statements I deem that linguistics have to be the integral part of training language teachers. Acquisition of knowledge and skills in various branches of linguistics allows teachers to make the lessons more meaningful and absorbing by managing applicable methods and techniques. As Wilkins (1972) stated that “value of the linguistics is by increasing [teacher’s] awareness of language, it makes him more competent and therefore a better language teacher” (p.32). Due to the linguistics, teachers are able to gain pertinent knowledge to be the competitive teacher in today’s demanding world. Thus, I can assume that linguists can make its own contribution to implementation trilingual policy in Kazakhstan by facilitating the teacher preparation programs.


Hongmei, Z., & Ni, W. (2016). Sociolinguistics and English Teaching in China. Theory & Practice In Language Studies6(4), 830.

Widdowson, H. G. (1984). The intensive value of theory in teacher education. English Language Teaching Journal, 38(2), 86-90.

Wilkins, D. (1972). Linguistics in language teaching (p. 229). London: Arnold.

Yule, G(n.d.). The study of language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2010.

Photo credits to



Little by little to a new mentality

I was inspired by a very sensitive blog post of dilshatkalshabek who presents the story of one girl in a wheelchair who was treated with sympathy, arrogance, pride, and rudeness just being outside alone.  The author writes how important it is to “transform the mindset” of people, to make it more open to diversity and, as a result, to inclusion because nowadays people with disabilities are treated in a thousand different ways but not as normal people. I do agree that we should change something about it and make our society inclusive so that anybody could feel respected and appreciated.

In order to understand someone’s problems, we need to know about them first. In order to stop treating people with special needs with pity, we should know about their real needs and abilities. So I started to think and search for some ideas of how we can “transform” the views of the society.

  1. Admit that with disabilities are capable of amazing things

I have found a website of CARA – the national organization of Ireland which provides physically disabled with opportunities to sport and other activities.  They support many social activities, create materials for coaches, and increase awareness of their work in the community. One fascinating idea is CAMP ABILITIES – the camp for children with visual impairments. The program is developed to empower children and show how much they can; they are not limited to anything!


2. Encourage others to care

Another initiative is also from CARA – National Inclusion Awards which honors entrepreneurs and activists contributing to the expansion of people’s with special needs participation in sport and physical activities. It started in 2012 and has already become a “gold standard of outstanding work of organizations and individuals” who create conditions for inclusion in their communities. Such award is great in terms of increasing appreciation of the care and equal access to different activities.


3. Support with information

However, not all the people with special needs have an opportunity or desire to go in for sports. They just live and face world’s cruelty on the daily basis. And we should admit that many times it is not the cruelty itself, it is just the lack of knowledge of others how to behave ordinarily. On this problem, I have found one very engaging resource which is a virtual community with information and different tools for people with disabilities and their families. They post many materials, games, articles for and about communication. Look at the Responding To Disability Quiz which demonstrates with short stories examples how people’s attitude towards disabled individuals varies and why it should not. The quiz is short but very informative. Try it yourself and you will see that next time you meet someone with special needs you will not be concerned about your “pitiful” behavior.

4. Start with ourselves

The most important thing on our way to inclusive society is to be a human. Just kind and careful human. To accept diverse minds, faces, bodies.  And here is an amazing video with some tips how to manage it.

In order to increase awareness of people about real abilities of those with special needs, we should go against our prejudices, encourage people to participate in the creating of activities common for all, and give the enough food for thought on our relationship with each other. The transformation of the mentality is a long process but effective steps taken can shorten the time needed for change. I tried to suggest some practices from other parts of the world but if the readers have anything to share we can create much more and start our own initiatives here, in Kazakhstan.