Language the heirs: as the child of immigrants to support the Russian language in the United States

Who are the heirs of the language? What is the uniqueness of their speech? How to motivate them to support Russian language? And what mistakes should be avoided? Specially for “voice of America” about it, said Irina Dubinina, associate Professor of Russian language at Brandeis University in Boston and Maria Polinskaya, a Professor of linguistics at the University of Maryland.

Языковые наследники: как ребенку иммигрантов поддерживать русский язык в США

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Imagine that the family speaks the same language and in a country where the family lives, speak a different language. The child in this family speaks the family language, but then, going to the garden or school, is increasingly moving to the language of their country and less begins to speak in home language. And then he starts this home language to own less and less. Language is like gymnastics or playing the piano, the less practice you have, the less skill. A person who speaks two languages and one of them owns more loosely, called English heritage speaker. In Russian the term good happens, and these people are often called heirs, or the heirs of a language dissonant word “HeritageNet”.

People are very important for the whole name. Is the name is the concept. Before the name “HeritageNet” appeared, these people called simply bilingual. But the concept of a bilingual is actually broader than the concept of linguistic heir. Such heirs is the concept of the so-called unbalanced bilingual, with one language is much stronger than the other. And stronger language is the language of the country of the external environment.

An unusual feature of this hereditary of bilingualism is that the dominant language is their second language. They like native speakers of their first, native language, and not carriers of it because I don’t speak it as well as chronologically second language. Family language they hear less, and usually can’t hear monolingual speech, but a mixture of languages or migrant borrowing. These are children who believe that “taxes” and “Loyer” is a normal Russian word. Although, of course, the concept of hereditary media includes those who both spoke two languages, and taught them consistently.

That is typical for the speech of hereditary media? His portrait is heavily dependent on age. If you take a small child born in a Russian-speaking family in America, in Israel or in Germany, this baby is quite heavily surrounded by the Russian language. Maybe it’s not the same language that would be at home, in Russia or in the territory of the former Soviet Union, but the child hears it enough. Therefore, the five-year future heir language is not too different from a five year old classmate at home. And then the man begins to grow less and less use of the home language, less to listen to him. In adolescence, like all children, he wants to be different from my family and all this causes changes in the language.

The heirs of older children who already went to College or live on their own, it is difficult to remember the words — they speak very slowly. Many people who talk to them, argue that the suffering — you have to “wait for half an hour,” and so many parents refuse to speak the home language. Easier to talk to children in English, so faster to succeed. But the less they hear the less you say. Formed a vicious circle. Very often they do not know how to read and write in their native language, and this is one of the important tasks of their education.

As a rule, the adult heirs less vocabulary than the people who live in Russia. They are less involved in Russian culture. Such heirs can’t take a joke. We all love to tell jokes, like yesterday, and 40 years ago. To tell their heirs — the torment, because you have to explain who Stirlitz, who is the Brezhnev…

Maybe someone is thinking: “No, my child is completely different. He understands jokes, read Pushkin, Lermontov recounts”. Sure there are such people. But we are talking about a statistically average the heir, which in Russian can say, “Grandma, I tebya lublu” and ask where the car keys.

The speech of the heirs of shaping not only the borrowing of individual words or phrases. For their speech is characteristic of syntactic borrowing, they just copy designs from the English language, which is filled with Russian words. The well-known “take the bus” and “to do 20 miles on a Bicycle”, “I hope you are healthy and in good senses.” Lexical borrowing, except “layer”, is a “babysitter” instead of “babysitter”, “insurance” is “insurance.” It is important that this is not just vocabulary, not just “let’s teach them real Russian words.” The problem is wider, because it is the tracing of entire English language structures, idiomatic expressions, lack of understanding of the nuances of words.

“Recently I told the student: “I’m so glad you’re feeling better,” and she was terribly offended, thinking that I allude to the increase pounds, — says Irina. — I meant that it recovered because it suffered”.

In addition, these people are accustomed to the speech hear at home. Therefore, they are at least one generation behind their peers in Russia. The person 20 years old and lives in St. Petersburg, and 20-year-old from Washington speak completely different languages because 20-year-old Russian-speaking from Washington, says the language of their grandparents. They don’t know any changes, for example in the form of treatment. Now in Russia it is customary to apply full name no middle name — for example, Maria. Although the age, he said about himself, it would be more appropriate to call on my name, but in modern language it departs. Russian-speaking resident of the United States, left Russia for a long time, will insist on a name-patronymic. They often do not know what “you” and “you”. All this creates a completely different look. You hear that the man seems to be decently fluent in Russian, he has a good pronunciation, but says not as we would expect in accordance with this pronunciation.

Also have hereditary media is often the wrong end of the words, often, are strange to a native speaker phrase, even if there is no heir of the accent and intonation of his speech similar to the speech monolinguale of a native speaker. But he can say, for example: “I went to the movies with mom and grandma.” The listener receives a strange dissonance: it seems to be “his” and he has no accent and says things that the media would never say.

How do genetic carriers refer to their language? Shy do they say? It largely depends on how well they speak and how they “beat over the head” of the house. People who well speak his native language, as a rule, understand that they are not the same as monolingually media, and very often yourself quite low. But people that speak rather poorly and much in his forgotten language, usually based on the fact that they have a good pronunciation, and really enjoying yourself. The worse they say, the better their opinion of themselves.

Second, it is very typical for Russian-speaking environment and to the Russian Diaspora in different countries is that these hereditary carriers very often in the family reproached, they say, you’re 25 years old, and you sound like 5-year-old child. It’s no enthusiasm does not inspire and the person begins to be ashamed of. The Russian Diaspora in this respect is quite critical to their heirs, so they often turn in on themselves, especially as you get older.

How to teach hereditary carriers? Given that schools and even universities very little time to convey the beauty of the language and to help the student achieve the full forms of the language that is to spend time on types of sentences and names of cases, probably not worth it. Grammar is a nasty word that nobody wants to deal with. But grammar is just rules for how words are organized into longer segments in the phrases, sentences. Therefore, grammar should be taught, but not as monolingual Russian-speaking child who came to Russian school, Russian in addition to not heard anything in my life and I have a lot of different people with whom he speaks in Russian.

Much depends on the learning goals. Do we want they were native speakers of the language as are carriers who have only one language, who live in Russia and studied 11 years at school? Of course, not. In addition, we are dealing with people who have two languages. And a second language the better, as they get older. And deal we have with the two languages, though we teach only one. Those grammar and vocabulary that we teach them, should be based on their bilingualduo personality.

Языковые наследники: как ребенку иммигрантов поддерживать русский язык в США

Photo: Shutterstock

When we talk about grammar, often mixed the two concepts. The first is the idea of language, which is in the mind of each person and allows us to say, right or wrong. For example, if you say: “Mary is a terrible fool,” then you will understand that this proposal is something wrong. But not necessarily will be able to explain it. It is an inner understanding that everyone has of a native speaker, regardless of education, is what is called the grammar of linguists. The second understanding of grammar is a textbook native speech, what we studied, what we are now studying people in Russia. This is something completely unavailable to the heirs. Therefore, the task of training the heir is to help him develop in the head of the internal grammar. She had them sitting in the head is an innate understanding of the language. But when we develop this grammar, you should try not to discourage their interest in the language by using terms (nominative, accusative case…). It does nothing and will not help them become better speakers.

It refers to the fact that they read. If you start reading them books where they understand the individual words but not put them in meaningful sentences, this will also discourage the desire to engage in the native language. The parents of many of the media are literally obsessed with the children to read Dostoevsky and other classics.

“When my younger son in 7th grade went to a Russian club in the United States, they read “a hero of our time” by Lermontov, talks about the personal experience of Maria. — It was awful. He didn’t understand what was going on, every night grandma came and they tried to explain to each other why you need to read “a hero of our time” — from the grandmothers and why not — with the child. It all ended in tears, the grandmother was terribly upset that the child does not understand, who such Maxim Maksimych, the child shouted that it was awful and in General it is not Russian language. Over the fact that Russian language was replaced in the game reel. I realized that reading the classics of all whacks. Then we started to read “Deniska’s stories” and it all went very well.”

According to Maria, the heirs are not willing and able to use cultural citations that we are proud of and accustomed to use in our speech. They often come to the Russian classics through translations. So, if you want to read Dostoevsky in the original, you have to start with “Deniskiny stories” and “dunno” or modern literature, which is ideologically close to them.

According to Irina, to read is very important and you need to maintain your language. But the expert also notes that children-the heirs will spend most of his life in another language environment. And it is important to remember that they speak to us in Russian, but most of my life they will speak another language. And to help them to maintain the native language will be the reading. But, first, you need the literature of the age. And before you ask the child to read Dostoevsky, you need to teach the child to love children’s literature. But then the question arises: what is children’s literature? After all, the majority of parents grew up in Soviet times, when there was a certain ideological orientation of many works of children’s literature. And they don’t know how much good children’s literature appear in Russia every year. Therefore, parents need to worry about finding books that will interest their children and that they will be able to read in Russian, which is appropriate to their age and interests. And to classics, of course, need to grow. Children 15-16 years Irina recommends starting to read contemporary literature. To read the classics, one must know not only the language, but also concepts that are long gone from the language. The chaise, wagon, gendarme, policeman and other such concepts remained in the 19th century. Pushkin is possible and necessary to read, but parents will have to devote a lot of time and explain what it is like for us in childhood when the parents explained what room or parlor.

You can not expect as the child that he will leave the room with a book of Dostoevsky, will understand and will return joyful, and with a teacher who sees the child 2 times a week that he will be able to explain and communicate. The parents also bear responsibility for it. Experience shows that it is easy to traumatize the child by forcing the issue on the theme “let’s read something from the classics.” It is very important to find the wave, the stream, which will help him to understand what an interesting world opens the book.

Whether you need to expand your vocabulary of slang words used by peers from Russia? Do I need to work on this? Experts believe that there is. When you start to learn a new language, you always want to speak using slang or profanity. There is nothing more ridiculous than to speak slang or swear with a slight accent. And our heirs always this emphasis is. So it would sound terribly awkward and funny. The task is to teach them to understand what they say when they arrive in Russia — but understand they will start themselves if they have a good language base. Teach them the slang is weird. It’s like that to wear gloves and louboutins at the same time.

Can help decrease the level of criticism to motivate the media to speak better, to be interested in the language and it is easier to treat everything? From the point of view of the parent glass is always half empty. Homemade teasing can hurt and hurt that leads to the abandonment of attempts to speak the language. But from the point of view of the teacher it is always the half-full glass. To get to the level of hereditary media, come to class, have monolinguale American takes at least 3 years plus of intensive language learning by immersion either in Russian universities. Therefore, it is important to understand parents that their children know a lot, much more than children who do not grow up in Russian speaking families. And these children grow up, getting Russian language, from 2-4 people in your life. To grow a native speaker need not even a village but a city. Need to everything around spoke the language. And considering how little they are given, they know a lot. Perhaps this will motivate the parents not to criticize children for their mistakes.

To be corrected when they make mistakes, it is useless. All children pass through a stage when they make mistakes. For example, young children often think that “salt” is masculine, and often say, “This salt”. They will pass this stage. To correct the child in three years is useless. Similarly, it is useless to correct heir. Can somewhere worry about what they say, not as grandma, or not quite right, but the constant criticism and corrections to nothing will lead.

What parents can do is to increase the number of language with which their children have direct contact orally and in written form. If possible, need to travel in a Russian-speaking environment. They will go to the yard to play with the guys and just learn everything we must learn. The more time they spend in the Russian speaking environment, the better. To grow up bilingual is a complex matter. This including the money question, the question of language policy in the family, the commitment of parents to support the language. And instead of criticize and correct, the best thing parents can do is to increase the chances for the child to hear, feel, taste Russian language in all its forms.


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