Socio-Cultural Aspects of Language Acquisition Through Conversation
The paper focuses on the role of the conversation between parents/caregivers and monolingual children from Russia and bilingual Roma children from Bulgaria. Although the two cultures differ, the parents and adults who communicate with children use the same strategies in order to help them to learn the language from a very early age. In Roma culture, more oral folklore is used, and in Russian culture more children’s books and art; these are employed as vessels to introduce the language. In both cultures the conversation and the use of complex sentences is an important factor in language acquisition. The process of language learning is considered in the light of Vygotsky’s cultural theory.
The monolingual and bilingual children learn their mother tongue through the communication with parents, community members, siblings, extended family members and teachers. The mothers and fathers, the teachers in kindergartens and preschools, create situations for language learning according to their culture and traditions. The conversation with the young language learners, the stimuli provided by adults, asking complex questions, discussing fairy tales or poems by a famous author are all strategies for communication.
Being an oral culture, Roma culture has its values and they are used in the process of teaching the language to the children. Roma children generally have no books at home in Romani. Russian language and culture, as a written language, has different values and rules. However, in both cultures conversation plays an important role in the learning of the grammar of the mother tongue from an early age.
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