Receptive Competences modularised

 

back to index
 

Reading Competence in closely related languages

Reading Competence in a third language can be achieved fastest among the classic competences. During the reading process time can be stopped for reflexion. One can direct the process of deduction oneself when reading a text. Reading is an everyday process that combines visual linguistic impressions with situative, contextual and extra-linguistic knowledge. The importance of reading competence is attributed even more importance because of the deveöpment of the new media. The Internet allows a casual dealing with written language. Texts in foreign languages are accessible all over the world and constitute the basis for information that can be used anywhere. The bases for the world-wide exchange of information, the cultural and economic exchange connected with this and the conventions and juridical conceptions related with them are exchanges in written language. The written form is gaining importance. Thus reading competence becomes the most important access for receptive competence.

Listening comprehension in closely related languages

Reading competence should not be separated strictly from the second receptive competence, i.e. listening comprehension. Our writing systems document the historical attempts to transpose spoken language into writing conventions that reflect sounds. In this process a lot of historical conventions are transported in the form of orthographic dead weight, which nevertheless can give use valuable clues as to the spoken language. In the extreme case language functions according to two different systems: written French, for instance, can be recognised within the framework of Romance spelling conventions as a product of linguistic change derived from Latin and is therefore deduced in the Pan-Romance context. The spoken language has deviated considerably from the mutual Pan-Romance characteristics and also shows other typological traits. Languages participating in two typological systems are therefore particulaly predestined to be a transfer language within a group of related languages. The acquisition of listening comprehension must therefore be accompanied by reading competence because in many cases only the correct pronunciation of a spelling convention will lead to a cognitive deduction: the Romanian word «meci» will - even in the context of a sports report - only be recognised through the knowledge of the pronunciation (similar to the English original word) of the Internationalism «match». The modular teaching of reading competence should therefore automatically include basic elements of orthoepia (correct pronunciation) in order to support the process of deduction and to prepare listening comprehension. While receptive reading comprehension differentiates elements of meaning, produces referential relations understands meaning by transfer and deduces more complex structures and through many cognitive processes facilitates both retrocorrective and proactive access, listening comprehension is allowed only a short time frame for cognitive processing of reception. In the case of listening comprehension the technique of inference comprises both the textanalytic processes and the phonotactic and prosodic comparison of paradigms, which - for the strict limitation of time - is subject to considerable limitations of capacity.  Here a lot of research needs to be done for multilingualistics and didactics, as the research concerning listening comprehension as yet has not really dealt with the existing materials for closely related idioms:
In  a relatively limited time frame the auditive intercomprehension needs in the context of the spoken chain in the target language an accelerated segmentation of phonetic and prosodic signals that allow cognitive inference. At exactly this point we understand why dialect-structured languages (Chinese, Arab) cannot do without the abstracting-connecting function of an intercomprehensive spelling system. This also underlines the option for French as the ideal language of departure for Romance intercomprehension.

back to index
 

From Receptivity to Productivity

On the basis of receptive competences the interlingual interplay of learning strategies, vocabulary and grammar within a related group of languages can be shown particularly easily. Modularised receptive competences lead to a broad multilinguistic depot with the help of which productive competences can be developed speedily if the need arises. No young European can know today into which linguistc region his/her professional life will lead him/her. Modules for multilingualism of language groups are the basis of multilingualism as required. On their basis the learner can develop further competences in a very short time once s/he is in the target country - after s/he has already reading competence at her/his disposal.
The more recent research on third languages within the framework of linguistic research into cognition starts from the assumption that both automatic and controlled processes processing language in the mental language centre of multilingual individuals work with transfer procedures that are subject to cognitive control. During phrasing processes that occur automatically with cognition the mental lexicon between the conceptualisation that has developed in the receptive reading process and the system immanent phrasing (gammatical-sound structure) seems to play a decisive role. So multilingual persons apparently dispose of one mental lexicon starting from which they initiate lexicon-driven linguistic phrasing processes.
A modularisation of receptive competences will therefore not only lead to the modules of reading competence and to listening comprehension, it will furthermore prepare the construction of a central mental lexicon directed by transfer material and thus achieve language-productive multilingualism.
This is where the research group EuroCom starts: the basis for efficient European multilingualism is to be established via transfer-based reading competence in closely related languages.