Russian as a truly foreign language

Marina Aksenova | Minin University (Nizhny Novgorod State Pedagogical University), Russia

Export of Russian education abroad resulted in multinational classes at universities when students from different countries studied together in one environment. The paper analyses different ways of studying and acquiring Russian as a foreign language that can be observed among students with different learning experience.

Foreign students in Russian universities represent mostly two major groups: students from former Soviet republics and students from more distant countries. Students from such countries as Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and other neighboring countries may have had the experience of learning Russian at school. With the dominant position and prevailing of the national language, the role of Russian has become less significant, though Russian classes are quite regular and usually begin at primary school. At the same time the students do not tend to use Russian in everyday life and have certain difficulties discussing the academic subjects due to the language barrier and the habit of relying on the national language. 

Students, whose first experience of learning Russian begins with the arrival to Russia, surprisingly have certain benefits: the common mistakes have not yet formed and become rigid in their speech, the completely different language environment (sometimes with no one sharing the same national language) serves as a factor that encourages students to speak Russian and practice it often. The novelty of the language (and the language environment) in their experience also helps to support interest to the Russian language. There is also a tendency of creative word-formation of unique lexical units constructed according to all norms of Russian..

The paper examines various factors that may influence acquisition of Russian as a foreign language by students of different language learning background.


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