TEACHING THE GRAMMAR OF RUSSIAN LANGUAGE AS FOREIGN IN RUSSIAN TEXTBOOKS FOR BEGINNERS (OPINION OF THE CHINESE TEACHER)
The political and economic situation throughout the world has changed and determined the growing interest in the Russian language in China. This requires the Chinese teachers of Russian to be attentive to the achievements of their colleagues in Russia, especially in terms of publishing textbooks for Chinese elementary-level students since this level is most in demand in mass education.
The problems of teaching the grammar of the Russian language in the Chinese classroom are widely covered in the Russian special literature. These are, first of all, articles that deal with certain aspects of teaching, mostly phonetics, and also Russian grammar. There are very few Russian textbooks and study guides for Chinese students, however. There is a textbook of the Russian language written by V.E. Antonova, M.M. Nakhabina, M.V. Safronova, A.A. Tolstykh called “Road to Russia” Part I  and “Textbook on Russian for the Speakers of Chinese” written by T.M. Balykhina, I.F. Evstigneeva and O.L. Maerova .
In this article, we used the method of comparison and examined the features of these educational publications for the purpose of teaching the Russian language in China by Chinese teachers.
Comparison, as a universally applicable method, refers to general scientific methods of research. In fact, it is one of the most common methods in different sciences. The purpose of comparison is to distinguish between two and more objects (phenomena, ideas, results of research, etc.) of the general and various. On the basis of comparison, a conclusion is made of a justified or supposed character or regularity about the homogeneity of phenomena, ideas, the analogy of their content, general orientation, etc. If, however, some discrepancies are found in the course of the study, this allows us to point out a singularity, specificity and uniqueness of a phenomenon or object in relation to another.
The textbook “Road to Russia” Part I is not fully nationally oriented, but it contains many Chinese anthroponyms, there is a recurring character in the textbook, a girl called Van Ling. The same respected authors have created a very important appendix to the book “Grammatical Commentary and a Dictionary for a Textbook for Speakers of the Chinese Language (elementary level)” . The grammatical commentary is accompanied by a translation into Chinese, but there is no comparison of the described grammatical phenomena of the two languages, which usually helps teachers in their work with students. For example, in Chinese, one preposition [dao] corresponds to three different prepositions with the meaning of the direction of movement in Russian (на, в, к). Such a comparison would decrease grammatical difficulties arising form the lessons.
“Textbook on the Russian Language for the Speakers of Chinese: Basic course” was created by well-known authors TM. Balykhina, I.F. Evstigneeva and O.L. Maerova and is presented as a self-taught book. Therefore, it contains a Russian-Chinese dictionary and grammatical tables with translation into Russian in the appendix, but all assignments in the textbook are also translated into Chinese, and when the grammatical material is presented in Russian, this information is compared to the same phenomena in Chinese. That is, we perceive this book as a truly nationally oriented textbook. It describes the many realities of the Chinese life. This textbook is very convenient for teaching Chinese students, although there are no comparable grammatical explanations in it, as in the previous one.
The grammatical material in Russian textbooks is presented in accordance with the basic principles of its organization, adopted in the Russian method of teaching Russian as a foreign language: There is a connection between morphology and syntax, an educational material has a complex-concentric organization. After all, knowledge of grammar cannot be applied without the knowledge of vocabulary and proper pronunciation skills.
The basic unit of teaching grammar is a sentence. Speech samples, models and rules are used as presentation methods for teaching grammar in Russian textbooks. The text is used as a material for observation and analysis of using grammatical forms and syntactic constructions.
The grammatical material was selected by the Russian colleagues with regards to the aims and stages of the training in accordance with the communicative attitudes in teaching. In Russian textbooks, practical grammar is included into the system of teaching Russian; it combines both theoretical material and exercises. Such categories of a noun as gender and number, case forms, meanings of cases and means of their expression are studied. In the course of studying the adjective, the categories of gender, number and case are important, the complete and concise form of this part of speech, as well as its degree of comparison. The richness of the Russian language in terms of inflexions prompts the use of the method of sequential introduction of grammatical material by the Russian language teachers to ensure gradual assimilation of grammatical forms by students, especially Chinese students since Chinese is not inflectional. We have already described the difference between Chinese and Russian in more detail [10, P. 69].
Russian textbooks consider such categories of the verb as a person, time, general and particular temporal meanings of verbal forms, as well as various ways of designating time in the Russian language. Creators of educational materials pay attention to such a complex category as the verb aspects. Typically, a specific opposition is considered. Types of aspects use are worked out in exercises. At the initial stage of learning, forms of the imperative and subjunctive mood are also included into teaching materials. Students learn various means of expressing motivation, obligation, possibility and impossibility, probability and improbability in the Russian language. Verbs of movement (both unidirectional and multidirectional) are described in detail, including the use of verbs with prefixes in direct meaning. As for pronouns, the creators of textbooks pay attention to personal, possessive, demonstrative, relative and interrogative pronouns.
Teaching grammar is usually accompanied by the use of visual learning tools: Tables, diagrams, drawings and even photographs.
“Textbook on the Russian Language for the Speakers of Chinese” written by T.M. Balykhina, I.F. Evstigneeva and O.L. Maerova contains 20 lessons developed by a respected team of authors, who discuss the problems of phonetics and grammar for Chinese students. It is very important for the book to contain summary grammatical tables. This helps both students and teachers themselves, who are not native speakers of the Russian language. The presence of the Russian-Chinese dictionary in the textbook is of great help to Chinese students and teachers.
The paradigm of verbs of the first conjugation and the paradigm of verbs of the second conjugation in the forms of the present tense are given in one lesson, which seems very convenient to us because it is possible to show students the comparison of the forms of verbs of different conjugations.
After the explanation of the concept of the subject expressed by a noun in the Nominative case, the authors introduce the forms of the noun in the Genitive case meaning “where something comes from” (откуда он) and Prepositional case in the meaning of the place and the Accusative case of both animate and inanimate nouns.
The textbook written by V.E. Antonova, M.M. Nakhabina, M.V. Safronova, A.A. Tolstoy is called “Road to Russia” Part I contains 15 lessons. They are divided into 2 unequal parts. Lessons 1-5 give more attention to the formation of phonetic and graphic skills. Grammar is presented smaller amount. In lessons, 7-14 grammar takes the leading place, in our opinion, although the general structure of the lesson is still preserved (phonetic exercises, dialogues, grammar, exercises of the communicative character, educational text).
The paradigm of verbs of the first conjugation and the paradigm of verbs of the second conjugation in the forms of the present tense are given in different lessons, which is not entirely convenient for students, to our mind, because there is no comparison of forms that would help them to comprehend the main features of these two paradigms.
After the explanation of the concept of the subject expressed by a noun in the Nominative case, the authors introduce the Prepositional case of nouns in the meaning of the place, then the Accusative case of nouns in the meaning of the direct object, and the Accusative case is introduced to express the direction of movement. It seems difficult to us as one lesson contains the forms of the Accusative case of animate and inanimate nouns simultaneously.
At the same time, the explanation of the Dative case in the textbook is divided into two lessons: Lesson 11 contains Dative forms in the sense of the direction of movement to a person, and lesson 13 contains a noun and pronoun forms in the meaning of the addressee, age and logical subject in constructions with words надо, нужно (you need) as well кому нравится что (who likes what).
Each fragment of the grammar system is worked out in separate lessons with the help of drawings. At the initial stage of training, this facilitates the understanding of grammatical material greatly. However, in lesson 8 we see the drawing of the wardrobe in Exercise 24, where you have to ask where the objects are, right after the explanation of the Prepositional case of nouns used in the meaning of the place. Students should say that the coat is hanging in the wardrobe (в шкафу), and the clock is in the wardrobe (на шкафу), but during grammar explanation there are no examples of the forms of nouns ending in -y, like в лесу (in the forest), на берегу (on the beach), на полу (on the floor), etc. This omission puts the teacher and student doing the exercise in a predicament.
And yet, it is very important to us that the training materials in question are created by the native speakers of the Russian language, and this is crucial for us in the selection of teaching materials in the study of the Russian language in China.
The textbook “Methodology of Teaching Russian as a Foreign Language in a Chinese Classroom” created by Russian colleagues L.G. Zolotykh, M.L. Laptevoy, M.S. Kunusova, T.K. Bardeen  is of particular interest to Chinese teachers of Russian. This book gives us an idea of how the native speakers of the Russian language imagine the system of teaching Russian to our students. We can see the difference in the methods of teaching adopted in our and in Russian institutions of higher education. The section “Formation of Grammatical Skills” is of particular importance for us.
As for Russian textbooks non-oriented towards Chinese students at the initial stage of learning Russian as a foreign language, two publications are of interest to us. One textbook is used by Moscow teachers in the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia. It is called “Progress” and is recommended by the Coordinating Council of the centres of pre-university training of foreign citizens of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation as a textbook for teaching the Russian language as foreign at the initial stage . This textbook is a part of the educational complex of teaching the Russian language as a foreign language. It ensures the formation of communicative competence in the volume of the Educational Program for Russian as foreign and the State Standard of Elementary Level. The textbook is designed for 120 classroom hours and includes 18 lessons, including an introductory and phonetic course. At the end of the book, there is a dictionary in several languages, including Russian-Chinese.
We studied the part called “Practical Grammar” of this educational complex (Elementary level). The textbook first introduces the Accusative case of inanimate nouns, then the Prepositional case in the meaning of the place, then the Genitive case in the constructions “У кого есть” (“Who has”). This topic also contains an exercise with numerals, but they are not presented in the grammatical explanation, which creates some difficulties for the Chinese students. The Accusative case of animate nouns appears only in lesson 10.
The paradigm of verbs of the first conjugation and the paradigm of verbs of the second conjugation in the forms of the present tense are given in different lessons, just like in the textbook “Road to Russia.” These paradigms are not compared.
The second textbook of the Russian language is used in the universities of St. Petersburg. It was written by the teachers of St. Petersburg State University L.V. Moskovkin and L.V. Silvina . This textbook is designed to work at preparatory faculties and departments of Russian universities under the guidance of a teacher. The course contains 40 lessons, 8 of which are control lessons. It takes about 500-540 hours of classroom time. We are interested in this book because some Chinese students at the initial stage in many Russian universities use it. However, this textbook is not nationally oriented and is intended for training in the Russian language environment with the Russian teacher, which, despite the popularity of this publication, creates certain difficulties for Chinese teachers who want to work with an authentic textbook.
The educational material is selected by reputable authors in accordance with the recommendations of the program of teaching Russian to foreign students at preparatory faculties and corresponds to the State Educational Standard for Russian as a foreign language of the 1st certification level.
The textbook by L.V. Moskovkin and L.V. Silvina contains communicative and language exercises that allow students to form communicative skills in oral speech, reading and writing skills, on the one hand, and knowledge of the Russian language system, on the other hand. The system of multistage repetition and generalization of the learned grammatical material also contributes to strengthening linguistic knowledge.
Almost all grammatical material is intended for active learning in the first twenty lessons, which is due to the leading role of oral speech at the initial stages of learning. In the next twenty lessons, about half the volume of the grammatical material should be activated in the students’ speech and the rest of the material is intended for passive learning, which is associated with the increased role of the student and introductory reading in the second semester.
The paradigm of verbs of the first conjugation and the paradigm of verbs of the second conjugation in the forms of the present tense are given in different lessons, as in many other Russian textbooks.
The Accusative case of inanimate nouns is given in one lesson, while the Accusative case of animate nouns is explained in another lesson, which is separated from the first one by several more case forms. We consider this presentation of grammatical material to be successful because in that case, students do not confuse different forms of the Accusative case of nouns. Students have time to comprehend such a difficult grammatical category as the Accusative case and the teacher has an opportunity to work these forms out successively in each subsequent lesson.
The system of nouns declension in the textbook is taught through the meaning of cases. This system is presented on a syntactic basis because in Russian there is a kind of subordinate connection called “governing.” Therefore, when studying grammar, teachers of the Russian language as foreign present the main verbs that govern the case form in question. In this textbook, each lesson contains lists of verbs, which are used with the corresponding case form with examples of their use in phrases and sentences. After that, the authors give students an opportunity to practice their knowledge in exercises. Verbal word-combinations are repeated many times, which allows students to remember these forms well and to learn their use. This is very important for Chinese students, because in our teaching system memorization is very developed. Students in China perform a lot of written work, so the presence of a large number of grammatical exercises in the book on the Russian language is the merit of such a publication for our students.
Despite the presence of textbooks on the Russian language for Chinese students, and for all foreign students all of them have their own characteristic in terms of their objectives, the number of lessons, general compositional design, the arrangement of grammatical materials and the content and form of exercises. In this article, the comparison was made between the textbook “Road to Russia” Part I, “Russian Language Textbook for Chinese Speakers: Basic Course,” the “Progress” and “Russian Language. Textbook for Foreign Students of Preparatory Faculties” with regard to the number of lessons, content and construction of grammatical commentaries and dictionaries in the textbook, the content and arrangement of grammatical materials, including Paradigms of verbs of the first conjugation and verbs of the second conjugation in the forms of the present tense, different cases of nouns, etc., visual training aids, levels and ways of borrowings for regional studies and national culture, etc., pros and cons of various textbooks are considered. Each of them is oriented to a particular learning area. We offer our point of view concerning these textbooks. We have also considered the textbook “Methods of Teaching Russian as a Foreign Language in a Chinese Classroom.” In this textbook, we can see the difference in the methods teaching adopted in our and in Russian institutions of higher education.
The main textbook of the Russian language used in Chinese universities is a four-part book, “Basic Course of the Russian Language” published in the late 1990s and later reprinted. Its respected author is Tung Qiang , but we would also like to use authentic materials of contemporary Russian colleagues in our work when teaching Russian grammar. Our young scientist Li Ming wrote an article about the problems of adapting Russian textbooks on Russian as a foreign language for Chinese students in higher education .
We hope that Russian teachers and scholars, together with Chinese philologists, will create new teaching materials for teaching the grammar of modern Russian as a foreign language, which will focus on teaching Chinese students and will take into account the main features of Chinese perception of the Russian language and Russian culture .
Antonova V.E. Doroga v Rossiyu. Uchebnik russkogo yazyka (elementarnyi uroven) [Road to Russia. Textbook of the Russian Language (elementary level)] / V.E. Antonova, M.M. Nakhabina, M.V. Safronova, A.A. Tolstykh // M.: Lomonosov Moscow State University. – St. Petersburg: Zlatoust, 2003. – 344 p. [In Russian]
Antonova V.E. Doroga v Rossiyu: Grammaticheskii kommentarii i slovar k uchebniku dlia govoryashchikh na kitaiskom yazyke (elementarnyj uroven) [Grammatical Commentary and a Dictionary for a Textbook for Chinese Speakers (elementary level)] / V.E. Antonova, M.M. Nakhabina, M.V. Safronova, A.A. Tolstykh // M.: Lomonosov Moscow State University. – St. Petersburg: Zlatoust, 2009. – 180 p. [In Russian]
Balykhina T.M. Uchebnik russkogo yazyka dlia govoriashchikh po-kitaiski [Textbook of the Russian Language for the Speakers of Chinese] / T.M. Balykhina, I.F. Evstigneev, K.V. Maerov, and others. – M.: Rus. Lang. Courses, 2002. – 352 p. [In Russian]
Zolotykh L.G. Metodika prepodavaniya russkogo yazyka kak inostrannogo v kitaiskoj auditorii [Methodology of Teaching Russian as a Foreign Language in a Chinese Classroom] / L.G. Zolotykh, M.L. Lapteva, M.S. Kunusova, T.K. Bardina // Astrakhan: Publishing House of the Astrakhan University, 2012. – 91 p. [In Russian]
Moskovkin L.V. Russkii yazyk. Uchebnik dlia inostrannykh studentov podgotovitelnykh fakultetov [Russian Language. Textbook for Foreign Students of Preparatory Faculties] / L.V. Moskovkin, L.V. Silvina // SPb: Mass Media Press, 2010. – 528 p. [In Russian]
Li Ming. Formirovanie yazykovoj kompetentsii kitaiskikh studentov pri izuchenii russkogo yazyka : tipovye oshibki v monologicheskoj i dialogicheskoi rechi i puti ikh preodoleniya : dissertatsiya kandidata pedagogicheskih nauk: 13.00.02 [Formation of Language Competence of Chinese Students in the Study of the Russian Language: Typical Errors in Monologic and Dialogical Speech and Ways of Overcoming Them: Dissertation of PhD in Pedagogy: 13.00.02] / Li Ming [Defence place: Ur. State. Ped. Un]. – Yekaterinburg, 2011. – 222 p. [In Russian]
Novikova A.K. Prepodavanie russkogo yazyka v Kitae: etnometodicheskie i etnokulturnye osobennosti [Teaching Russian in China: Ethnomethodical and Ethno-cultural Features] / A.K. Novikova // Bulletin of the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, Education issues series: Languages and Specialty. – 2011. – No.1. – P. 68-75. [In Russian]
Soboleva N.I. Progress, elementarnyi uroven, uchebnik russkogo yazyka [Progress, Elementary Level, Russian Textbook] / N.I. Soboleva, S.U. Volkov, A.S. Ivanova, G. A. Suchkova // M.: Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia, 2006. – 276 p. [In Russian]
Tung Qiang. Osnovnoi kurs russkogo yazyka v 4-kh tomakh. [Main Course of the Russian Language in 4 Volumes.] / Tung Qiang. – Beijing: Higher Education Publishers, 2000. [In Russian]
Zeng Ting. Funktsionalnaya grammatika primenitelno k metodike prepodavaniya russkogo yazyka kak inostrannogo dlia kitaiskikh studentov [Functional Grammar as Applied to the Teaching of Russian as a Foreign Language for Chinese Students] / Zeng Ting // Successes of Modern Science and Education. – 2016. – No. 9. – P. 69-71 [In Russian]