Mnemonic Techniques in Teaching Russian as a Foreign Language
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Abstract: Today, the problem of storing in one’s memory a large amount of information that comes from outside through various public channels is most acute. It is not only the ability to speak the native language, but also fluency in a foreign language(s) that is a marker of inclusion in modern life, which allows expanding the scope of cognition significantly. While learning a foreign language, mnemonic techniques become urgent tools, intended not to overload memory but to activate its internal resources by choosing effective memorization techniques. The use of mnemonics in teaching a foreign language is not new, but we have not found any studies that detail the development of teaching Russian to Chinese students using mnemonics. The aim of the study is to identify experimentally (via questionnaire) typical techniques of memorizing Russian lexical units by Chinese students and, thereby, to justify the possibility of using mnemonic teaching of the Russian language to the Chinese. With the help of the questionnaire method, the authors have identified that most of the difficulties in learning Russian are memorizing its vocabulary and grammar (the sample comprised 326 Chinese respondents who studied and/or are studying Russian). The majority of the students believe that the best way to overcome these difficulties is to repeat/rewrite words and syntactic constructions of the Russian language repeatedly. This technique is inefficient because mechanical memorization uses only short-term memory resources. The responses of a few respondents still contain indications of the use of mnemonic techniques for learning new information, many of which can be classified. The typical techniques include the following: memorizing the pronunciation of Russian words through semantic selection of homophones in the Chinese language; memorizing the pronunciation and the meaning of Russian lexemes of Latin origin through the selection of English homonyms, or words borrowed from English, but assimilated by the Chinese language; memorizing based on graphics association, taking into account the graphic similarity between the sign or graphemes and the letters of the Russian alphabet; memorizing through rhyming words of the native and the second languages and through replication of word components.
Key words: Mnemonic techniques, word memorizing, memorization techniques, Russian as a foreign language, methods of teaching Russian, methods of teaching Russian at higher school; Russian language; Chinese students, experimental questionnaire; student questionnaire.
Mikalauskaite, Е. Yu., Nagibina, I. G., Slavkina, I. А. (2020). Mnemonic Techniques in Teaching Russian as a Foreign Language. In Philological Class. 2020. Vol. 25 ⋅ №4. P. 189–199. DOI 10.26170/FK20-04-19.