Semantic Differential as a Method for Studying Attitudes to the Native and Russian Languages in Context of Psychological Acculturation

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The relevance of research on the factors of acculturation is constantly increasing in current globalizing and rapidly changing world. The proficiency the language of the host country is one of the most important preconditions for one’s successful entry into a new culture, but until recently there were practically no studies on attitudes towards the language as a factor of the acculturation in the international students. The purposes of the pilot empirical study presented in the article were to identify and compare: (1) attitudes towards the native and Russian languages in the groups of Azerbaijani and Chinese university students, and (2) the correlations between attitudes towards the Russian language and the level of acculturation to Russia in these groups of the international students. The study involved 93 (58% - females) Chinese students and 62 (60% - females) Azerbaijani students studying in bachelor’s and master’s degrees at various Russian universities. To diagnose attitudes towards the native and Russian languages, the author's version of the semantic differential (SD) of 10 bipolar scales was used. To measure the level of acculturation The Acculturation Scale to Russia by A. Ardila et al. was applied. The results of the research show that the similarity prevails in attitudes towards the native and Russian languages on most of the SD scales in both groups, (excluding differences in the assessing of the “understandableness“ of the Russian language, and the “popularity” of the native language). In contrast, there are much more intercultural differences in the factor structures of the SD scales, especially when assessing the Russian language. In turn, assessments of the Russian language on most SD scales are positively associated with the level of acculturation in the international students, but these correlations are more pronounced in the group of Chinese students. The findings of the study can be used both by the Russian language teachers for international student, and by researchers of the acculturation process with the aim of further improving methods for diagnosing its factors and predictors.

About the authors

Alexey L. Novikov

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3482-5070

Ph.D. in Philology, is Associate Professor, Associate Professor of the General and Russian Linguistics Department

6, Miklukho-Maklaya str., Moscow, Russian Federation, 117198

Irina A. Novikova

Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)

ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5831-1547

Ph.D. in Psychology, is Associate Professor, Associate Professor of the Psychology and Pedagogics Department

6, Miklukho-Maklaya str., Moscow, Russian Federation, 117198


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Copyright (c) 2021 Novikov A.L., Novikova I.A.

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