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Newsletters

Monthly Newsletter - July 2014

 Table of Contents

1) The cognitive advantages of a balanced bilingual education

2) Abbreviation confusion

3) Emoticons - culture determines which emoticon you use

4) Links to our event pages

 

The cognitive advantages of a balanced bilingual education

 

languages

Image courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

Over the years there have been many discussions – Are children overwhelmed when being taught to communicate fluently in two languages or do they benefit from it?

 

Let’s go back to the very beginning of one persons’ life: a recent video by the Economist (view here) outlines the importance of hearing a large quantity of words in early life. Therefore reading stories, communicating with a child – even if s/he’s not yet capable of talking back – is supposed to be essential for a well-developed brain. Does that also apply for learning languages early? The answer can be found in multiple research studies on the topic. Bilingualism is thought to support analogical reasoning, creativity, problem solving and many other cognitive gains. Benefits even go beyond these gains as learning a language also means access to another culture and society and for this reason open-mindedness is supported.

 

Furthermore it is said that the knowledge from two languages originates in one part of the brain - therefore if you can multiply in English for example, you can also do so in Russian (given that you are fluent in both languages). Convenient, isn’t it?

 

There is endlessly more on this subject matter, therefore if you would like to carry out further research, Saunders has published a book in 1988 on “bilingual children: From Birth to Teens” – although it is arguably not the most recent one, but nevertheless a profound study and has not lost in educational value. More recent ones are to be found in almost any bookstore, you will be able to choose from a wide variety of high-quality research.

 

In conclusion I would like to encourage parents to educate their children multilingual, as children pick up languages more easily and the benefits later in life are not to be underestimated. Educating children in different languages can be quite a task, but bilingual schools can provide large support to parents in that process.

 

Russia Local’s Ignaty Dyakov is now actively involved in setting up an Anglo-Russian bilingual school in London to support parents, who aim at raising their children understanding both British and Russian cultures. Ideas, comments, recommendations and support are very welcome!

Please do not hesitate to contact us via mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Abbreviation confusion

 

mobile text messages

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Nowadays we live in a world where you just cannot get past technology, the Internet is a necessity and so is social media. In every language text messages are shortened and abbreviations are commonplace when messaging your friends. Especially to foreigners this can be relatively confusing and even more so when you receive a message from youngsters and you have the feeling you need to decode the message in order to understand the meaning.

 

There is no limit to creativity: u (you), sry (sorry), Gr8t (great), 2nite (tonight), M8 (mate) to name some frequently used examples for this very informal form of communication in English. Nevertheless there are also less logical abbreviations such as DWBH (Don’t worry, be happy) and YW (You’re welcome) or even SWDYT (So what do you think?), but luckily a large majority keeps it understandable. Apart from abbreviations which are inappropriate or at least uncommon to use once you have entered adulthood some short forms occure more frequently in adult life also: asap (as soon as possible), r.s.v.p (French for “please respond”) to name examples.

 

We thought it might be worth sharing a few common Russian abbreviations:

СМИ            средствa массовой информации         mass media

и т.д.          и так далее                                          and so on

з.ы.                                                                        “PS”

спс, спб       спасибо                                              thank you

   

and when filling out documents you might come across this one:

ф. и. о.             фамилия, имя, отчество               family name, first name, fathersname

США                  Соединëнные Шта́ты Аме́рики     USA

РФ                     Российская Федерация                Russian Federation

 

Number 4 is frequently used to substitute letter Ч ("tch") in Russian texts. Russian teens and youngsters also like using English words sometimes, so плиз (please), кул (cool) are not uncommon.

 

 

Emoticons in Russia - Culture determines which emoticons you use           

 

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Image courtesy of Stuard Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Along with abbreviations there is another social media and text message phenomenon – Emoticons. Emoticons in Russian language are generally referred to as смайлики.

 

Emoticons are a crucial part of computer-mediated communication as they make it easier to interpret the meaning of a message. Here in England joy and smiles are almost always expressed by putting in “:)“ wherever you believe it fits. Also “;)” is used or even “:D“, which should convey a laughter.  This scheme of emoticons is understood in almost all European states – but what about culturally different countries such as Russia?

 

Emoticons are symbols for happy/sad faces and can be divided in two categories: ones which are typically horizontally oriented, such as “:)” and the ones which are vertically oriented. Often Western emoticons are horizontal, while Asian ones are more often vertically oriented. In Japan for example joy equals (^_^) and the sad face (;_;). Why is that? Well, Europeans tend to express feelings by smiling that is why the mouth provides insight into a persons feelings – the emoticon focuses on the mouth, whereas in Japan people tend to look to the eyes for emotional cues – the emoticon focuses on the eyes. The emoticons therefore resemble the perception of a smiling face on base on the respective culture

 

If you ever came across an Eastern European or Russian emoticon you might have realised that a crucial element is missing – the colon or “the eyes of the smiley” are missing! Instead of the well-known “ :) “ they simply use “ ) “ and in case something is very funny “ )))”.  Some say it is more efficient and faster to leave out the “:” and also it seems more elegant to type “)))” then typing “:) :) :)”.  The real reasons behind the missing eyes cannot be identified, may be someone started the trend and so it has been accepted by everyone since. Russians also tend to use a lot of emoticons. So it is not uncommon to see this )))))))))))))))))))))))))) and at times this ((((((((((((((((((((((((((((

 

Do you personally use emoticons or do you dislike them?

 

Events

 

More information on our newest events:

'Les Saisons Russes du XXIe Siècle' - Tuesday 8th - Sunday 13th of July - read more

 

"Doing Business in Russia" event - 18th of July - read more

 

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