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ERIC Number: ED462000
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001-Aug-1
Pages: 19
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Analyzing Language Biographies: Concepts of Language and Language Learning.
Korth, Britta
This study examined the role of multilingualism in the Kyrgyz educational system, noting how language learning and language attitudes are related. It analyzed language biographies (semi-narrative interviews in which informants discussed their lives as speakers of two or more languages) and observed language classes. Participants were bilingual college students. Results indicated that language learning and attitudes influenced each other in both directions. While language classes conveyed concepts about how useful language skills were, the skills taught were basically context-reduced (reading and reciting), and they did not lead to successful interaction in the target language. This led to frustration and decreased motivation. Immersion in Kyrgyzstan's Russian schools resulted in immersion shock for Kyrgyz speakers, who were still perceived as minority language speakers. This shock was less strong in urban areas, where communication in Russian occurred outside the school. Students came to school with the knowledge that Russian was the language of opportunities and that Kyrgyz enjoyed little prestige. For this reason and because language and ethnicity were perceived as almost synonymous, Russians put less effort into learning Kyrgyz. Consequently, the educational system put strong pressure on Russian language learners but hardly any on Kyrgyz language learners. (Contains 12 references.) (SM)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kyrgyzstan