Остаться русским!

Translated title of the contribution: To remain a Russian

Margarita Popova

    Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewCommunication


    It is indeed possible to teach a child living outside Russia to speak, read and write in Russian – during the Russian lessons at the Russian Saturday school. Following this, a question of using the language outside the classroom presents itself. It is well known that after leaving the Russian class, bilingual children switch to a different language, which they are accustomed to using in an everyday context; Danish or English, if they are in Denmark.
    The language of their surroundings feels natural to the children, easy to use, because it has been acquired by them in an integral fashion, being present in all aspects of life and therefore dominant in the child’s consciousness. On the other hand, Russian, the language of one’s parents, is acquired in a fragmentary fashion: partly within the family, partly at the Russian school or when meeting other Russian speakers. There is no Russian television channel in Denmark. At the Saturday school, there are typically two hours of the Russian instruction. It is difficult for the Russian language to compete with the Danish language that is taught two hours every day, in addition to being a language of communication with the child’s peers and the society in which the child is growing.
    It takes effort and participation from the parents to educate children in the Russian Saturday school. Nevertheless, when a child is around 12 years old, the process of development of the “parental language” comes to a halt. Especially lacking in older children and young persons are the linguistic means to describe one’s inner world.
    For proper development of the Russian language in children living outside of Russia, it is necessary to teach them several subjects in Russian. In this regard, psychology lessons are a remarkable resource not only for development of the language, but also for establishing a connection between and ultimately integrating both sides of the bilingual child’s identity. This is the reason why psychology lessons have a tremendous psychotherapeutic, “healing” effect, when the perception of being “between the two cultures” is transformed into that of “belonging to both cultures”.
    Translated title of the contributionTo remain a Russian
    Original languageRussian
    JournalШкольный психолог
    Issue number5
    Pages (from-to) 6-10
    Number of pages5
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011

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