Forming linguistic-cultural competencies in Kazakhstani students learning Russian as a non-native language

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The formation of linguistic-cultural competence in the process of teaching Russian as a non-native language is becoming a priority in modern linguodidactics, in particular in the educational space of Kazakhstan. The relevance of the study is in the need to form and develop a fully educated secondary linguistic personality in the multilingual environment of modern society. This requires applying anthropocentric principle in teaching Russian as a linguistic-cultural phenomenon. The aim of the study is to form students' linguistic-cultural competence in precepting the features of the Russian picture of the world, traditional values, and mentality of the Russian ethnic group. The material of the study includes associative dictionaries of the Russian and Kazakh languages, the results of associative experiments with schoolchildren, scientific sources on psycholinguistics and cultural linguistics, Kazakh manuals and textbooks on the Russian language (in schools with Russian/Kazakh language of teaching). In the work comparative and associative experiments, pilot survey were used, as well as the methods of structuring (associative semantic gestalt according to the method of Yu.N. Karaulov), linguistic and cultural commentary, modeling situational exercises and analysis of communicative-speech acts. The results of the study illustrate the specificity of students' ethnolinguistic awareness at the associative level. The relevance of linguistic and cultural commentary for widening students' ethno-mental outlook and organising adequate intercultural dialogues is grounded. The effectiveness of associative experiments materials as a means of forming linguistic-cultural competence of students is shown.

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The modern language teaching methodology has been generated as a system by the idea of integrated language teaching, which involves cognitive, mental, didactic, pragmatic and other aspects of mental activity. Thus, L.S. Vygotskii, A.A. Leontiev et al. (Vygotskii, 1999; Leontiev, 1997) point out that the psychodynamic (emotional, activity) aspect of speech is conditioned by a clear learning motivation and focus on the pragmatic acquisition of linguistic-cultural knowledge necessary for an adequate intercultural dialogue (in the broad sense). The process of learning has dynamically changing mental and cognitive functions (perception, memory, thinking, speech production), is carried out after assimilation of laws of speech psychology, understanding the content of realities designated by a word of the studied language and the cultural knowledge behind it and is supported with associative techniques ‒ visual (object and illustrative) and verbal (direct and indirect) associations. Such generative structure enhances the effective connection between the psychodynamic and communicative aspects of speech ‒ the formation of linguistic, linguistic-cultural, communicative/situational competences. Our paper is focused on the interdisciplinary psycholinguistic, linguistic-cultural and pedagogical approach to teaching Russian as a non-native language, forming a fully educated “secondary linguistic personality” and creating a living, creative system of teaching.

The methodological basis of our research is constituted by the basic provisions of cultural linguistics and psycholinguistics based on the classical ethnopsycholinguistic doctrines (Weinreich, 1979; Leontiev, 1997; Zalevskaia, 2005, etc.) which are productively developed in contemporary Russian and Kazakh integrative linguistics1 (Vorkachev, 2001; Suleimenova et al., 2020). Traditional issues of the relationship between language and consciousness, language and culture, intercultural communication, bi-, polyand translinguism, transculturation and linguistic polyphony necessary in linguodidactics are investigated by G.D. Gachev, F. Sharifian, E. Ivashkevych, L. Prymachok et al. (Gachev, 1998; Sharifian, 2017; Ivashkevych, Prymachok, 2020, etc.). Characterizing intercultural communication as a dialogue not of languages, but of consciousnesses of communicants, E.F. Tarasov believes that the main reason of misunderstanding in intercultural communication is “not the difference of languages, but the difference of national consciousnesses of communicants. <...> Adequate mutual understanding requires first, the commonality of purely linguistic (grammatical) knowledge and, second, the commonality of knowledge about the world in the form of images of national consciousnesses” (Tarasov, 1996: 9). The same idea is expressed more paradoxically by E.I. Passov: “In order to learn a language, one should learn not the language, but the world around with the help of language” (Passov, Kuzovleva, 2010: 74).

From the perspective of modern anthropocentrical linguodidactics, linguists and methodologists (Bragina, Sinyachkin, 2014; Tarasov et al., 2017, etc.) illustrate the effectiveness of linguistic-cultural and psycholinguistic methods and techniques in the practice of teaching a non-native language. Today it becomes obvious that language as linear grammatical equivalents can be learned quite easily, but immersing in the culture of the people, penetrating into their psychology, understanding the specific features of their national character, being “one's own" among “strangers” for full communication with speakers of the language studied is an extremely laborious and lengthy process. V.Z. Demyankov argues: “Mastering a second language implies not only the knowledge of grammatical and phonetic rules of the language system, but also the knowledge of the ‘conjectural’, real combination of units, necessarily included in authentic language use, <...> which distinguishes one who is fluent in his native language from a beginner or foreigner” (Demyankov, 2020: 41).

The object of our research is conditioned by the urgency of the topic and represents the process of teaching language as a linguistic-cultural phenomenon in a wide range of educational tasks formed in the multilingual (mostly bilingual ‒ Kazakh-Russian and Russian-Kazakh) space of modern Kazakhstan. A terminologically accurate definition for this phenomenon and the nomination of an ethnically non-Russian, but Russian-speaking person (in a wide linguistic area) was proposed by U.M. Bakhtikireeva ‒ “foreign-Russian bilingualism”, “foreign-Russian bilinguals” (Bakhtikireeva, 2014: 44‒55).

The situation of ethnically marked conditionality of “their” image of the world/picture of the world/language picture of the world is naturally and objectively formed and exists in the consciousness of each ethnic group, but under the conditions of teaching a second, non-native language one should promote the formation of those images and pictures of the world in the minds of students that correspond to the realities of the studied (in particular, Russian) language and culture. This process necessitates the formation of linguistic-cultural competence, the main content of which, according to V.V. Vorobyev, is the awareness of “the Russian language picture of the world and mastering the culture of adequate interethnic communication”.2 Although the term “linguistic-cultural competence” is not quite established in the methodological literature, we, following V.V. Vorobyev3, E.G. Azimov, A.N. Shchukin, N.A. Sudakova (Azimov, Shchukin, 2009; Sudakova, 2012) and others, include in this term understanding and assimilation of “the whole system of cultural values expressed in language”4 and the ability to adequately “perceive (understand, interpret) cultural texts in which the concept sphere of Russian culture is embodied through speech” (Sudakova, 2012: 216).

The linguistic educational environment in modern Kazakhstan (students from Russian-teaching and Kazakh-teaching schools) requires a certain differentiation and clarification, which are possible only in the process of teaching based on the individual approach to students with different levels of Russian language proficiency. The indicator “school/grades with the Russian language of teaching” and “school/grades with the Kazakh language of teaching” is not quite relevant for determining the degree of Russian language proficiency, since in the first case most students in such grades are Russian-speaking ethnic Kazakhs, and in the second case almost all (with rare exception) students are representatives of the titular nation, although to a lesser extent, but also speaking Russian. This situation is characteristic mainly of urban schools; in rural schools the picture is different, and, depending on the region of residence, the level of Russian proficiency tends to decrease in the southern regions of the Republic of Kazakhstan, where one quarter of the representatives of the titular nation live (this sociolinguistic situation is beyond the contents of this article).

The modern process of teaching a second (non-native) language is based on the idea that it is impossible to teach a language apart from the culture of the people who speak this language. The word reflects the life of society because the word is a material complex with a certain meaning assigned by the national culture. Consequently, teaching a non-native (in our case, Russian) language is also aimed at forming a “secondary linguistic personality” (Yu.N. Karaulov's term), that learns the language and at the same time absorbs the culture reflected in this language, adequately perceives, understands the features of the Russian worldview, mentality and traditional values of the Russian nation.

In other words, the aim of our study is to form linguistic-cultural competence of Kazakh students in the process of teaching Russian as a non-native language.

Materials and methods

To achieve the aim of the research, we used the following methods: comparative (comparison of the contents of associative dictionaries of the Russian language ‒ EURAS, 20185 and the Kazakh language ‒ KAS, 20146), free associative experiment among students and pilot survey; also some research methodological techniques were applied: structuring of associative fields in the dictionaries in the form of semantic gestalt (according to Yu.N. Karaulov) and their linguistic-cultural commentary; modeling of situational exercises on their basis and analysis of communication.

The research material consisted of scientific sources on psycholinguistics and cultural linguistics; Kazakh textbooks and teaching materials on the Russian language and literature7 (in schools with the Kazakh language of teaching); the above-mentioned associative dictionaries of the Russian (EURAS) and Kazakh (KAS) languages and materials of our pilot associative experiments among students from four 6th grades of schools No. 1 and No. 7 with the Kazakh language of teaching in Shymkent (a total of 118 students). The experiment was conducted during pedagogical practice of doctoral students (the co-authors of the article) in October ‒ December 2022, when the associative method of “immersion” in the linguistic and cultural environment of the studied language was tested and is now used as an “open” method of teaching Russian as a non-native language.


The results of the study include the following:

  • the specificity of ethno-linguistic consciousness of Russians and Kazakhs at the associative level is illustrated;
  • on the example of comparing associative reactions to equivalent stimuli words in Russian and Kazakh associative dictionaries we found not only the expected features of similarity in the association strategies, values and other characteristics, but also ethno-mental differences, depending on cultural traditions and archetypal ideas that have developed in the linguistic consciousness of Russians and Kazakhs;
  • educational activities at Russian language lessons showed the efficiency of associative methods (materials of free associative experiments) as means of “immersion” in the Russian language and cultural environment in order to form linguistic-cultural competence of students;
  • the relevance of linguistic-cultural commentary for widening students' ethnological outlook and developing communicative and speech skills for intercultural dialogue was substantiated.


Associative experiments and associative dictionaries

The methodological basis of the associative method of “immersion” in the linguistic and cultural environment and testing of the “open” method of learning Russian as a non-native language were the ideas of psycholinguistics. E.F. Tarasov, developing the idea of the necessity of teaching the language in inseparable connection with the culture of its speakers, wrote about the effectiveness of associative methods in teaching Russian: “Everyone who masters the Russian language needs to know the associative links of the studied words, because any Russian person knows these links actively or passively. In simple terms, if you want to master Russian like the Russians, study the associative links of Russian words” (Tarasov et al., 2017: 37). This contributes to forming associative connections of Russian words in the process of speech production and expansion of the Russian cognitive base of learners.

Such an approach integrated with psycholinguistic research has already been used and tested in the methodology of teaching Russian as a foreign language (RFL) in Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, which has been developing an effective method of teaching foreign students from many countries for a long time. Describing the goals and objectives of the proposed principle of “open” methodology of teaching RFL on a communicative basis, V.V. Dronov and V.P. Siniachkin propose to “form a secondary linguistic personality capable of thinking logically in the studied language” through the method of associative “immersion” in the linguistic consciousness and culture of native Russian speakers: “...our methodology suggests that language learning is a process of forming associative norms of Russian and purposefully fixing them in the minds of students” (Dronov, Siniachkin, 2015: 201). This methodology promotes a full understanding of Russian speech by using stable, fixed in memory associative links of words in adequate communication in the studied Russian language. Such “immersion” into the language consciousness is supposed to be facilitated with the help of associative dictionaries of different languages.

Associative dictionaries (or dictionaries of associative norms) are a set of associative reactions to given words-stimuli of a sufficiently large number of respondents (500 or more) during a free associative experiment and ranged frequency in the form of an associative field of a given stimulus. A.A. Leontiev believes that the associative dictionary allows “to uncover the cultural specificity of vocabulary units” and to discover implicit “semantic links between words” (Leontiev, 1997: 14). A.A. Zalevskaia calls an associative dictionary a “cognitive dictionary of a new type” capable of “showing how thought is reflected in language”, and verbal “associations are indicators of the degree of connection between concepts” (Zalevskaia, 2005: 154). Yu.N. Karaulov notes educational and methodological value of associative dictionaries in the process of language teaching, considering them “the basis for teaching Russian as a non-native or foreign language, as they model the verbal memory and language consciousness of an ‘average’ speaker of the Russian language” (Karaulov, 1994: 214). N.V. Ufimtseva characterizes the dictionary as a kind of “language thesaurus of a native speaker, representing his language consciousness” (Ufimtseva, Balyasnikova, 2019: 12). U.M. Bakhtikireeva believes that the associative dictionary “is an effective tool for a deeper understanding of a special mechanism of ‘society memory’ which cumulates and keeps cultural information of the past, generates information of the present and future take place” (Bakhtikireeva, Sinyachkin, 2015: 258).

Much has already been written about the fact that the materials of the associative experiment and associative dictionaries can reflect the linguistic consciousness of a native speaker and can be used as a kind of manual in teaching language as a linguistic-cultural phenomenon. In general, the very process of association (association by similarity, proximity, form, analogy, etc.) and, as a consequence, the formation of figurative thinking of any person leads to the formation of certain learning skills and abilities: associative thinking helps to extract information from various sources, select and organize material on a given topic,  make different kinds of plans and theses according to a logical sequence, select appropriate arguments and quotations, make tables, charts, graphs, etc.

The associative method has been successfully tested and is now used in the format of the “open” method described in the works of M.A. Bragina, V.P. Sinyachkin et al. (Bragina, Sinyachkin, 2014) in the context of modular learning technology and as an innovative basis for forming language/speech competence, which is demanded at present in modern linguodidactics.

The competence approach in language teaching, first of all, implies the formation of communicative competence which, according to D.I. Bashurina, includes the following parts: “linguistic (knowledge about the system and rules of language functioning); discursive (ability to plan speech behavior); sociolinguistic (choice of linguistic means depending on place, time, communication sphere)” (Bashurina, 2005: 17). To this we would add psycholinguistic competence, considering cognitive and accumulative functions of language related to the processes of cognition, memorization, and preserving information ‒ those important components of the learning process.

Associative dictionaries in teaching Russian as a non-native language

Among all potential ways of using associative dictionaries, our attention was attracted by its didactic application. Under the conditions of innovative methods of teaching being actively mastered and a solid material and technical base of modern schools of Kazakhstan, associative methods of teaching are hardly used in the professional environment by Kazakh language and literature teachers, or they use their own individual findings of how to fix information in memory, facilitate the way from “simple” (rules) to “complex” (remembering and using), awaken interest and creative imagination of their students and so. A serious motivation for studying associative methodology of Russian language teaching was the scientific research of V.V. Dronov, V.P. Siniachkin, E.F. Tarasov, etc. (Dronov, Siniachkin, 2015), whose manuals, textbooks, and dictionaries have been successfully tested in the classrooms of the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia with foreign students. The interest in associative methods prompted us to test them (see: Arynbayeva et al., 2022a: 229‒238; Arynbayeva et al., 2022b: 333‒344).

We introduced associative dictionaries to 6th graders (conditionally we call it a teaching-methodological experiment, where in two grades during the first half of the year there was quite systematic work with associative dictionaries and associative methods) while studying the topic “Multivalent words” at the improvised lexicographic exhibition in the classroom, for which the students brought different dictionaries from home in advance. After a brief review on the purpose of all dictionaries, group work was organized to compare the vocabulary articles of the words “tree”, “village”, “wood”, “rural” in explanatory and other dictionaries (of synonyms, antonyms, phraseology), when the students switched dictionaries, learning the skills of working with them. After the meanings, spelling, and phraseological combinations of the chosen four words were learned, the students got two unusual dictionaries ‒ EURAS and KAS, their purpose and a wide range of research possibilities were briefly explained. This caused the students’ interest and desire to take part in such associative experiments. Further in the conclusion of lexicographic work in the class the dictionary entries (“associative fields” ‒ AF) of the words-stimuli derevnya/aul ‘village’ in EURAS and KAS dictionaries were compared with the preliminary task: based on and with the help of the associations from the dictionaries, pupils were asked to briefly describe their impressions of the Russian village (in Russian) and the Kazakh aul (in Kazakh). The homework was to continue and complete short stories about the village and aul in Russian. There was an optional task: to collect lists of Russian associations for the given stimuli from their friends and acquaintances. Pupils were given a brief instruction (“Write 1‒2 very first associations connected with the words in the card (field, grass, love, trees, rest, tasty, river, green, friends, home), of any part of speech in any form, for example: forestdark, I do not know, tree.., etc.”). Participation in the experiment evoked students’ interest and increased their cognitive activity: almost all students completed this task, discussed the collected material and received encouraging grades.

Other parts of lessons with EURAS and KAS were devoted to the grammatical topic “Pronouns” on the lexical material “House, Family”.

The students, already familiar with the process of association, were involved in a pilot associative experiment: during the lesson they were given questionnaires in Russian with a list of 8 stimuli ‒ nominations of kinship (mat’/mama ‘mother’, otets/papa ‘father’, babushka ‘grandmother’, dedushka ‘grandfather’, brat ‘brother’, sestra ‘sister’, dyadya ‘uncle’, tyotya ‘aunt’). Students had to write their associations within 2‒3 minutes (the questionnaires were anonymous; they were taken away immediately). The questionnaire experiment was conducted in four 6th grades with Kazakh language of teaching (a total of 118 students). The teacher talked to the students about the importance of family in human life, analyzing the relationship between close relatives and generalizing opinion that these basic values of family and kinship are universal and inherent in representatives of all ethnic groups. After that Russian associations to the stimulus mat’ ‘mother’ from EURAS8 and Kazakh associations to the stimulus ana ‘mother’ from KAS9 were shown on the interactive board and the students, while reading and comparing contents, were convinced of the expected commonality of the main characteristics and the unconditional value of the concept mat/ana for the Russian and Kazakh linguistic consciousness.

The students were asked if there could be any differences, uniqueness, specificity in the perception of the image of mother (undoubted “basic value”) in the consciousness of representatives of different ethnic groups, in particular, in Russian and Kazakh. After some examples and reasoning the following information was shown on the board – Gestalts (made according to Yu.N. Karaulov’s system) of the AF of the Kazakh (ana) and Russian (mat’) stimuli, united in one table for convenient comparison. The importance of structuring the material according to certain parameters and effectiveness of this research method for visual argumentation of some conclusions were briefly explained.

The tabular presentation of the material (unlike the textual presentation) clearly illustrates the difference in the association strategies of the compared ethnic groups and the difference in the hierarchy of value preferences and axiological characteristics of the analyzed concept. There are no single associations in this table, but the general picture of emotionally motivated choice of strategies/ directions of association quite clearly illustrates both the commonality and specificity in the number and content of the associative fields. Thus, the difference in the “content” of the semantic groups singled out in the gestalt was evident: “Subject” zone is noticeably more topical in Russians than in Kazakhs (37.2 and 6.7% of associations respectively), as well as set expressions (17.7 and 6.7%); on the other hand, the “Characteristic” zone, on the contrary, is twice as numerous and more diverse in Kazakhs than in Russian respondents (40.6 and 23.4% respectively), as is the “Values” zone (34.0 and 9.4%).

Stimuli ANA – MAT’ ‘mother’

Zone / language

Kazakh (400 informants) ‒ 40 (single reactions) = 360

Russian (540 informants)  76 (single reactions) = 464


9 ‒ әке (father) 2,5%
9 ‒ mummy 2,5%
6 ‒ әйел (woman) 1,7%

82 ‒ father 18%
29 ‒ mummy 6,3%
11 – home 2,8 %
10 – woman, child 2,6%
9 ‒ family 1,9%
8 ‒ daughter 1,7%
4 – of children 0,9%
4 ‒ children 0,9%
4 ‒ relative 0,9%
3 ‒ parents 0,6%
2 ‒ parent 0,4%
2 ‒ son 0,4%


81 ‒ мейірімді (kind) 22,5%
13 ‒ жанашыр (well-wisher) 3,6%
8 ‒ ең қымбат жан (the dearest person) 2,2%
5 ‒ періште (angel) 1,4%
5 ‒ аяулы (dear) 1,4%
5 ‒ өмірге әкелуші (giving life) 1,4%
5 ‒ ең керемет жан (the most wonderful person) 1,4%
4 ‒ ең жақсы (the best) 1,1%
3 ‒ ең қажет адам (the most necessary person) 0,8%
2 ‒ асыл (presious) 0,6%
2 ‒ қолдаушы (supporting) 0,6%
2 ‒ ең сүйікті жан (the most beloved  person) 0,6%
2 ‒ ең мейірімді жан
(the kindest person) 0,6%
2 ‒ туған адам (native person) 0,6%
2 ‒ ардақты (dear) 0,6%
2 ‒ ең жақын (the closest person) 0,6%
2 ‒ сұлу (beautiful) 0,6%

48 ‒ native 11%
23 ‒ beloved 5%
13 ‒ kind 2,8%
5 – the best 1,1%
5 – the native person 1,1%
3 ‒ dear 0,6%
3 – one 0,6%
2 ‒ the only 0,4%
2 – the closest person 0,4%
2 ‒ everything 0,4%


51 ‒ қамқор (caring) 14,2%
32 ‒ махаббат
(love) 8,9%
20 ‒ өмірім (my life) 5,6%
8 ‒ бақыт
(happiness) 2,2%
4 ‒ жылулық беруші (giving warmness) 1,1%
3 ‒ жан жылуы (the warmth of the soul) 0,8%
2 ‒ жылы құшақ (warm hugs) 0,6%

14 – love 3%
8 ‒ life 1,7%
8 ‒ warmness 1,7%
8 ‒ care 1,7%
6 ‒ holy 1,3%


3 жақсы көрем 3, сүю 2 (I love) 1,4%

2 – I love 0,4%


10 ‒ жүрегім (my heart) 2,8%
7 ‒ жаным (my soul) 1,9%
5 ‒ байлығым (my wealth) 1,4%
2 ‒ ақылшым (my adviser) 0,6%

27 ‒ my 5,8%
3 ‒ his 0,6%
2 ‒
your 0,4%

Set expressions

15 ‒ жұмақ (paradise) 4,2%
5 ‒ жәннаттың кілті (the key to paradise) 1,4%
4 ‒ әлем (world) 1,1%

26 – Homeland, 16 – homeland 9%
6 – and a child 1,3%
6 – single 1,3%
6 – goddamn 1,3%
5 ‒ heroine 1,1%
4 ‒ coltsfoot 0,9%
4 ‒ Gorky 0,9%
4 ‒ nurse 0,9%
3 –
Theresa 0,6%

The table shows that in the associative field of the stimulus ana the first most frequent reaction is kind 81 (22.5%); the Russian respondents gave this reaction only 13 times (2.8%), and the most significant in this zone is the attribute of kinship: native 51 (11%) and native person 5 (1.1%), whereas for the Kazakhs this attribute is actualized only in 0.6% of cases (the native person). Frequent among associations of Kazakhs are positive definitions: caring 51 (14.2%), well-wisher 13 (3.6%), etc. The association beloved 23 (5%) is much more frequent in the Russian informants, ranking second in frequency, as well as characteristics of positive qualities and kinship: the best 5 (1.1%), the dearest 3 (0.6%), the closest person 2 (0.4%). Of the 17 reactions of the Kazakhs, 9 coincided with the reactions of the Russian respondents, i.e. more than half of the Russian and Kazakh associations coincided in content. Moreover, one Russian meaning dear corresponds to three synonyms in the Kazakh language: the dearest person 8 (2.2%), ayauly/dear 5 (1.4%), ardakty/dear 2 (0.6%).

Returning to the lesson described above, we would like to add that similar association cards in Kazakh were distributed to students, but as a homework: not only to write down their associations, but also to explain why there are more stimulus words in the Kazakh questionnaire than in the Russian one (apa/mama, әke/dad, әje, ata, аga, іni, әpke/әпше, сіңлі, қаryndas, koke/аga, Тәte/әпке).

To control the program material and expediency of associative methods to “immerse” in the studied language culture at the lessons of the Russian language and the literature we proposed a series of written creative and other types of tasks: competitive mini-Olympiads and tasks of research type, essays (description of a village and aul, letter to mother, family stories), thematic class meetings (“Russian and Kazakh speech etiquette”) and others. The tasks revealed the expanding linguistic-cultural outlook, active and speech training of students in the conditionally “experimental” classes, which was reflected in higher marks for students’ achievements in the second quarter of the school year.

At the next lesson students actively discussed the multiplicity of kinship nominations in the Kazakh linguistic culture. Kazakhs have an extensive system of kinship naming, a rather strict hierarchy of nominations and relations within the family and kin, which distinguishes not only relatives from the side of one’s father/mother, husband/wife, but also siblings by age and gender. This specific feature of nominating relatives strictly takes into account gender and age, which have different names: in Kazakh there is no concept of just brother or sister (this is a common reference to people of the same age in Russian) ‒ there is always a specific age mark in the name: the older brother (and uncle) is called aga, the younger brother is called ini; one younger sister (or rather, little sister) in the Kazakh family for the older brother is karyndas, and for the older sister ‒ sinli, for the younger brother the older sister is tate, and for the younger sister ‒ apai, etc. We can see Kazakh-Russian word-formation syncretism when a Russian diminutive suffix is added to the Kazakh vocative: әzheka, әzheshka, atashka, apayka, etc. Even superficial statistical comparison easily reveals the difference in the breadth (spectrum) of Russian and Kazakh associative fields, illustrating family relations: the Kazakh field is much wider, more diverse, penetrated by ethno-cultural specificity of tribal relations, more clearly marked emotionally than the system of inter-family relations of the Russian ethnic group. This certainly should be considered in intercultural dialogue, in order not to unwittingly create conflict-tension situation.

The extensive system of kinship nominations in the Kazakh language indicates the desire to expand and strengthen kinship ties, guarantee the vitality of intra-family relations. This undoubtedly stipulates the originality of kinship traditions in Kazakh family with its specific rules, laws, and customs. Students easily and with interest talked about, compared their typical ideas and got convinced that not all basic, universal values (such as family, kinship) are inviolable and similar in other cultures. The discussion on this theme always causes sincere interest of students and is included in literary reading lessons, for example, on stories by R.S. Seisenbaev10 “Longing for the father, or The day when the world has collapsed” and by Baurzhan Momysh-uly11 “Our family” that also represent original linguistic-cultural comparative analysis and doubtless educational value. By the way, let us note the essential importance of correctness, conceptual and emotive adequacy of translation (both in scientific research and in educational work) when analyzing materials in the languages of indigenous ethnic groups: we should always keep in mind the multiple meanings of words, and specific synonyms (often lacunar, having no analogues in Russian), homonyms or incomplete semantic correlates. To explain these units, we must immerse in the culture and life of the language speakers.


The conducted linguistic-cultural and psycholinguistic research is of interest both in theoretical terms and in didactic aspect.  The field of culturological and ethno-psycholinguistic research that has been formed in domestic and foreign science is currently being actively replenished by searching for new materials and methods of their analysis. Our study of ethno-linguistic consciousness at the associative level has shown its relevance and effectiveness in the didactic sphere of educational space, in organizing learning activities as a means of forming linguistic-cultural competence of students ‒ a clearly declared principle of modern didactics. So, on comparing associative reactions to equivalent word-stimuli in the Russian and Kazakh associative dictionaries certain features of similarity in the choice of meaning general humanistic characteristics are revealed (in particular, on the example of comparing associative reactions to stimuli words ‒ kinship nominations in the Russian and Kazakh language cultures), and the presence of ethno-cognitive differences, formed in the language consciousness of the compared ethnic groups due to their ethnically marked cognitive base, archetypical ideas and cultural traditions.

In the process of teaching Russian as a non-native language the cultural commentary of the teacher, including the associative methods in studying integrated lexical-grammatical and literary-artistic material (in Kazakh schools it is one subject and the textbook “Russian language and literature”) seems effective for implementing educational tasks and expanding ethno-mental outlook of students to form skills of adequate intercultural dialogue in the multilingual space of Kazakhstan.


1 Vorobyev, V.V. (2008). Linguoculturology: Textbook. Moscow: RUDN University. (In Russ.)

2 Vorobyev, V.V. (2008). Linguoculturology: Textbook. Moscow: RUDN University. (In Russ.)

3 Ibid.

4 Vorobyev, V.V. (2008). Linguoculturology: Textbook. Moscow: RUDN University. (In Russ.)

5 Ufimtseva, N.V., & Cherkasova, G.A. (2018). Russian regional associative dictionary: EURAS (European part of Russia). Preface. Vol. I. From stimulus to reaction. Мoscow: MMA Publ. (In Russ.); Ufimtseva, N.V., & Cherkasova, G.A. (2019). Russian regional associative dictionary: EURAS (European part of Russia). Preface. Vol. II. From reaction to stimulus. Мoscow: MMA Publ. (In Russ.)

6 Dmitriuk, N.V., Moldalieva, D.A., Moldanova, J.I., Mezentseva, E.S., Narozhnaya, V.D., & Sandybaeva, N.A. (2014). KAS / Kazakh associative dictionary. Almaty, Moscow: Media-Logos Publ. (In Russ.)

7 Zhanpeys, U.A., & Ozekbayeva, N.A. (2018). Russian language and literature for 6th grades of secondary schools with Kazakh language of teaching. Almaty: Atamura Publ. (In Russ.); Zhanpeys, U.A., & Ozekbayeva, N.A. (2017). Russian language and literature for the 5th grade of secondary schools with Kazakh language of teaching. Almaty: Atamura Publ. (In Russ.)

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About the authors

Rimma A. Arynbayeva

South Kazakhstan University named after M. Auezov

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9181-539X

Master of Pedagogical Sciences, senior lecturer, Department of Practical Russian for Technical Specialists

5 Tauke-khan Ave, Shymkent, 160018, Republic of Kazakhstan

Zhanna K. Makhanova

South Kazakhstan State Pedagogical University

ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6992-1834

Master of Human Sciences, doctoral student, Department of Russian Language and Literature

13 Bаytursynov St, Shymkent, 160012, Republic of Kazakhstan

Natalya V. Dmitryuk

South Kazakhstan State Pedagogical University

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8527-0338

Doctor of Philology Sciences, Professor, Professor of the Department of Russian Language and Literature

13 Bаytursynov St, Shymkent, 160012, Republic of Kazakhstan


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