Innovative approaches used in the technology for development of the Bulgarian language for foreigners
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Katia Issa
Dr. Eng. Milena Yordanova
Communicative language teaching approach
The communicative language teaching approach is traditionally considered to be fundamental in Bulgarian teaching as a foreign language. Its significance is growing especially now, in a rapidly changing world where languages and cultures stand up for their uniqueness in a dialogue so necessary for the modern global world.
The Bulgarian language interactive application gives users the opportunity to acquire speech skills in accordance with the literary-conversational norm of the modern Bulgarian language.
The exercises to each lesson are structured so that the learner involves in dialogue with the characters speaking from the screen and learning communicative code without limiting their communicative function. Code-switching actually refers to the association of the native language with the foreign one, to which a speaker can pass smoothly after having mastered it.
Most textbooks are satisfied with this level, but it does not explain the nature of linguistic significance as the association is made from word to word and not from word to concept. That is why, when developing online lessons language is “played” and language concept as a code of thinking is replaced by consideration of the understanding of the language, which does not refer to a preliminary understanding of the terms that can be expressed through it.
Such an understanding represents language not only as a means of expressing thought but as a mediator of thought.
Thus, the theory of meaning fits into the theory of communication as far as it is something mastered by the speakers upon successful completion of the course.
They easily acquire practical skills for use sentences in the foreign language, and the dialogues presented between the characters on the screen, commented and explained by the two teachers in front of the virtual board, give them confidence that they both had conducted the same mental process while one spoke and the other has listened. All this results in the satisfaction that their thoughts are communicable.
A cognitive approach is set in the development of the Bulgarian language online course.
According to the concepts of anthropological, sociological and philosophical theories we explain the command of some language or some of its elements by knowledge. To understand an expression means knowing its meaning.
This approach is applied by visualizing objects and individuals as well as activities in different situations. Relationships are built between the characters on the screen supporting the use of abstract concepts. Nature of linguistic and purely linguistic significance is not neglected.
The textbook electronic version consists of grammatical tables, references to which are recommended in the course during each lesson periodically.
On the one hand, the importance of language units is made up of semantic fields and proves the connection of meaning with the recognition of words articulately, audibly and graphically.
The characters of the teachers, who conduct the course from the virtual classroom with a whiteboard, bring the sensation of attendance form of training, relating the studied material semantics to the science of signs – semiotics.
Lexicography stands between semantics and semiotics.
All words contained in the lessons are summarized a vocabulary, where they are traditionally perceived as special mediators that transfer human experience (life, cognitive and professional one) from the animated situations to the lexicographic vision of the concepts.
Cultural Oriented Approach
The cultural aspect in the electronic applications in Bulgarian language for foreigners lies in the consecutive teaching and learning of the language, not only as a sign system serving as communication and knowledge, but also as a cultural code for transmitting the information accumulated over the centuries (information on how the Bulgarian people have perceived and perceive the world, how Bulgarian people assess the surrounding reality, how Bulgarian people form their specific “cultural mirror” and thus they build their own national attitude of mind and picture of the world.)
In the written scenario of the electronic application culture is not regarded as a subject of learning, but its social significance for the Bulgarian is reinvented.
The learner without compulsive explanations, acquires awareness of how Bulgarians spend an ordinary day, where they have fun, what they do, where and what they are shopping, what they eat at home and in public places, how they furnish their home, how they dress, how they celebrate, where to travel in Bulgaria.
The difference from the textbooks that describe situations in a family or work environment is the fact that both the family and the work of the main plot characters represent foreigners in the Bulgarian environment. Thus, in their continuous contacts with Bulgarians (one pair of the characters is Bulgarian) foreigners understand how they would feel in our country, how they would be welcomed and accepted. The textbook gives priority to culture in the structurally distinctive semantic spaces of the Bulgarian way but through the view of the foreigner. The textbook gives priority to the culture structurally-defining sematic spaces of the Bulgarian traditional lifestyle, but through the eyes of a foreigner.
Sociolinguistics describes the social practice in which language is performed in relation to social processes. Thus, the reference to the concept of knowledge refers to the assimilated language models in situations of relevance according to public opinion in the Bulgarian environment. By introducing different stories from the characters’ daily routine into the e-textbook, individual speech acts are fixed to a given language situation in such a way as to pay attention to the etiquette of communication held by people of different social status.
At the same time, each dialogue shows the speaker’s goal, their intention. Speech is a rational activity and is always used with some intent.
It is understood simultaneously with the absorption of implicit knowledge.
In the everyday life of people, knowledge is perceived both as a process and as a result. This is achieved through related units resulting in an aggregate or knowledge system. Thus, learner acquires an idea or information about the things and people whose daily problems he meets and at the same time memorizing phrases and more voluminous speech constructs. People define memory as a form of existence of knowledge. The textbook provides an opportunity to discover Bulgaria and its language by providing not only information but also a chance to discover what is hidden behind this information. The language mastering growing with any new dialogue and the language presented and summarized by the teachers in the virtual room reveals the nature of its meaning, and the numerous exercises based on the gaming principle enable any foreigner to join the modern Bulgarian language situation. Thus, any foreigner can “come” to Bulgaria before actually visiting it.