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21 October 2012

Philologists Work on Teaching Tuvan Language Issues in Mongolia

Mira Bavuu-Syuryun, Aelita Salchak. Translated by Emina Kyzyl-ool

Philologists Work on Teaching Tuvan Language Issues in MongoliaThe Candidates of Philological Sciences, Professor Mira Bavuu-Syuryun and a Senior Lecturer of the Tuvan Philology and General Linguistics department of the TSU Aelita Salchak as well as Khiys Gansukh, a member of the Education Institute of Mongolian Ministry of Science and Education, have been going on an expedition to Mongolia from 13-27 September 2012. The scientists visited Bayan-Olgii, Khovd, Central aimags (provinces), and the capital of the country. The philologists have been addressing the problems associated with native (Tuvan) language study in the conditions of multilingualism since 2011.

The issue of teaching Tuvan language and the related problems of developing thinking skills and socialization of Tuvan children living in Northwestern Mongolia require immediate solution.

Learning in non-native tongue in primary schools is a barrier not only for language and thinking skills development but also for the whole process of getting education.

There are Tuvans and Kazakhs living in Tsengel Bayan-Olgii province of Mongolia, and only 20% of population make ethnic Tuvans, so they form a national minority socializing in Mongolian and Kazakh languages.

The scientific language researches by Khiys Gansukh, Badarch Bayarsaykhan and preconseptual study of Ulamsuren Tsetsegdar, M. Bavuu-Syuryun among dispersive groups of ethnic Tuvans show that in conditions of long isolation the dialectic form of language has many distinctive features, the new language arises in the result of the dialect detachment.

As such, Tuvan children cannot study using the schoolbooks brought from Tuva as the books were composed on the base of literary Tuvan language without regard to dialectic specifics for those natives who live in the republic.

The linguistic research is run within the project supported by the grant of Russian Foundation for Basic Research “Linguistic and psycho-pedagogical basis of the primary school model for the children of dispersive groups of ethnic Tuvans in Mongolia”

The main object of the project is to create the most adequate model of primary education for the multilingual and multicultural community, to determine the education content for the native language, native literature and reading classes in primary schools with regard to dialectical specifics, and for the further languages study (Mongolian, Russian, or English)

The seminars for primary and secondary school teachers of Tsengel province were held during the expedition, as well as the meeting between teachers and education leaders of the Orkhon, Buyant sums (districts); the scientists were making observations of primary students’ adaptation in educational environment.

The collaboration agreements were signed between the Tuvan State University, the Institute of National School of Development of the MES of RT and the Education Institute of the MES of Mongolia.

The engaged dialog with the management of the Educational Institute of Mongolia also took place.

The expedition participants took part in the III International research-to-practice conference “Language, culture and intercultural communication” in Khovd city on 14-15 September and in the International Scientific Conference “Oyratology: Historical and Cultural Characters” of Oyrat-Mongols” on 20-23 September.

The major results of the international expedition were discussed at the staff conference with the Director of the Educational Institute MES of Mongolia, Professor N. Begz. There were mentioned positive outcomes, particularly in establishing linguistic and psycho-pedagogical principles of the primary school model.

The sides agreed on continuing the researches on theoretical issues of teaching Tuvan language in the context of foreign dialect, and on the set-up of the testing site on the basis of the Tsengel primary school.

The very important stage in the process is a contrasting grammar compiling of  Tuvan and Mongolian languages. The staff of the Linguistics Institute of the Science Academy of Mongolia will be involved in the researches, so the collaboration agreement was reached with the director of the Linguistics Institute Professor L. Boldt, whose visit is expected in November 2012. During the professor’s visit the scientists’ teams, the time periods, and the extent of the upcoming researches will be determined.

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