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Psychophysiological mechanisms of linguistic modeling of the word structure in children-bilinguals with speech dysfunctions.


The problems of speech psychophysiology, during the investigation of bilinguals' speech, present an urgent direction in modern scientific space of both natural and humanitarian cycles, as the characteristics and coordination of word of left and right hemispheres in linguistic activity of bilinguals are of great interest for such branches, as medicine, psychology and linguistics. It is not a secrete, that children-bilinguals are frequently subject to emergence of specific speech mistakes in second non-native language, conditioned both by the peculiarities of interaction of linguistic systems, and disturbance of speech development of not dominating language. Today many of them in pre-school age have one or another speech dysfunctions, conditioned both by bilinguistic peculiarities of ontogenesis and organic lesions of speech systems [1; 2; 3; 4].

Relevant character of the work is conditioned by the fact, that the level of development of the word structure determines not only the presence of speech underdevelopment of cortical genesis, but also determines the specificity and the degree of its manifestation. However, in scientific literature, there stays under-investigated both the problem of differential diagnostics of speech dysfunctions in children-bilinguals, and specificity of word structure, formed by children-bilinguals with speech dysfunctions [3; 4; 5]. The observances over the linguistic behavior of bilinguals and polyglots, suffering with brain focal lesion, provide an important material for neurolinguistics. Speech dissociations are frequently met (when bilinguals with brain pathology loose fully or partially an ability to speak one language at relative preservation of ability to speak another), as well as the cases of interference between different languages (in the form of elements of one language into the speech in another language).

Linguistic reflection of reality, including speech recognition, is carried out from the periphery of the nervous system (i.e. from sense receptors) to its central parts. The investigators of speech fairly mention that harmonious and comfortable bilingualism of the child is developed in that case, when cortical and subcortical mechanisms of speech perception and speech production in native language are developed fully [3; 5; 6]. We agree with I.S. Karabulatova, who mentions the interconnection of psychophysiological and linguistic processes at creative bilingualism [7]. The author underlines, that "fast speed, hyperactivity of modern native speaker forms "clipping" thinking, which illustrates the disturbances in process of retardation-exaltation; as a result, the linguists have problems with new "ersatz-bearer of language and culture, who uses the native language in communication; confessional language; the language of international communication; state language; language, related to national development; additional foreign language" [7: 793]. Within the frames of neuroscience, many doctors do not know about significant achievements, which exist in cognitive neurology in the last decades, and how they can influence on the clinical practice. In this connection, a collective work on cognitive neurology of such authors, as Cappa Stefano, Abutalebi Jubin [??] Demonet Jean-Fr, is of great importance [8]. This book presents an introduction to cognitive and behavioral aspects in clinical practice of neurology, what is of great importance in differential diagnostics of speech disturbances in bilinguals.

If the speech is not formed fully, then the structure of thought and notion itself is destroyed, all speech attempts of the child to express himself fail [3; 4]. Today the attempts of investigators are focused, first of all, on collection and compilation of full bank of clinical information about neurological disturbances in children, having one or other speech disturbances [3; 9]. Thus, the European investigator Frank Yitzchak underlines, that main attention shall be concentrated on two aspects: 1) the conditions, when cognitive-behavioral manifestations of principle symptoms appear, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, autism and development of the communicative function of the language and 2) the conditions, when these symptoms are significant, but secondary at brain organic lesion, such as cerebral tumor, epilepsy, cerebral crisis and so on. This multi-aspect author's guidance provides a description of effective linguo-corrective and behavioral therapy to these conditions and has a great importance for work with monolinguals and bilinguals [9].

In the context of our investigation, a sound-syllabic word structure is of special interest, as the disruptions of word contour (sound-syllabic structure), in the opinion of Frank Yitzchak [9], Sharon A. Savage, Patricia Lillo, Fiona Kumfor, Matthew C. Kiernan, Olivier Piguet, and John R. Hodges [10], Shasha Zheng, Miao Zhang, Xiaoyi Wang, Qingfeng Ma, Hua Shu, Jie Lu, and Kuncheng Li [11], I.S. Karabulatova and Z.V.Polivara [4], are recognized as leading and durable manifestations in the structure of system speech disturbance. A word contour can act as additional differential diagnostic criteria at two similar states of general speech disturbance [3; 5; 12].

In order to study the specificity of development of word structure, we carried out a linguistic comparative analysis of combination of consonants in Russian and Tatar languages [1; 2; 3; 6], which showed that the acquirement of Russian consonants for Tatar-bilinguals of the preschool age causes great difficulties, conditioned by neurolinguistic nature, as the linguistic behavior, in particular, speech production, is executed from center to periphery. Speech programs, formulated in overlapping areas of brain analyzers, are instantiated in the spheres of speech practice, and then are implemented by means of the device of projection motor systems, associated with the organs of speech, as well as the implementation systems of written speech. For instance, in both languages there are the combinations of two consonants st, sk, pt, kt, ks, mk and others. However, it does not mean that in any position, the Tatar-bilinguals will pronounce these combinations without any difficulties. The abovementioned combinations can be pronounced without difficulties in intervocalic position, for instance, in the words: zastoy (standstill), poskakal (broke into a gallop), koptit (smoke) etc. However, these combinations in the beginning of words for children-bilinguals present great difficulties, because, as a rule, there are no combinations of consonants in the beginning of the word in native language. Consequently, when checking the words with consonant combinations in the beginning of words, such as front, kran (crane), the speech therapist shall remember this peculiarity and teach children the combinations of Russian consonants in that way, that the children's consciousness would be switched from phonological system of native language to the phonological system of Russian language. For this, the main teaching device shall be the opposition of such words, as vkhod vykhod (input - output), skhod - iskhod (escape - outcome), i.e. the opposition of words with unusual combination of consonants for Tatar language words, which differ from them either by the separating vowel between the combination of consonants or the vowel in front of the combination of consonants. It is quite natural that, firstly, it is necessary to teach to those combinations of consonants, which are most frequently met in the speech flow. Besides, the combinations of consonants in the beginning, middle and end of the words shall be taught separately. At that, teaching to combinations of two consonants shall be preceded by the combinations of three or more consonants, in accordance with traditional procedure, but with obligatory interpretation and comparison with native, in this case Tatar, language. The analysis of acquisition of combinations of two, three, four consonants in the beginning of words in the compared languages shows that, firstly, the speech therapist shall take only those combinations, which are most frequently used in language practice of children. From the first group here belong: pr, pr', dv, dv', dr, tr, tr', kr, gl, pl, dl', kn', vs', sv; from the second group: st, st', sk, sn, sn', sm, sp, vn, vt, vt', vk, vr, vm'.

In the beginning of teaching, it is possible to take such combinations, as [pr], [pr]' from the first group, and [st], [st'] from the second group, as these combinations are the most frequently used. Taking into consideration hardness and softness of the consonant [t], the exercises for combinations of consonants st, st' shall also be provided, for instance: stoyat' (to stand) - ustoyat' (to keep one's balance), storozhit' (to guard) - ustorozhit' (to insure), stupat' (to step) - usupat' (to give way), stek (flew) - istek (flew out), ster (erased) - ister (abraded), steret' (to erase) - isteret' (to abrade) etc.

To the most frequently met combinations of three consonants in the beginning of words belong: spr, spr ', vpr, vpr ', str, str ', vtr, vtr ', more rarely - kpr ', kpr, kst, kst', ktr, ktr ', sbl', vbl', sgl', sgn ', vdn ', vzd, vkv, skv, vkl', skl, skl', vkr, vkr ', skr, skr ', vpl, vpl', spl, spl' and others.

A typical peculiarity of these combinations is the fact, that they are frequently emerged as a result of adding of two consonants of additional word component to the existing combinations; usually, it is the consonants [v] and [s], more rarely - [k].

To the most frequently met combinations of four consonants in the beginning of Russian words belong vzgr, vzdv, vzbr, vzdr ', vskr, vskr ', vspr, vstr vstr ', vskl, vskhr, vskhr ', vspl, vspl', and also the combinations kstr, kspr and others. Teaching to these combinations can be subdivided into three steps. Firstly, it is possible to take the combinations vzgr, vzgr ', vzdv, vzdr, vzbr, vzbr '; secondly - vskr, vskr ', vspr, vstr, vstr ', vskl, vskl', vskhr; thirdly - kstr, kstr ', kspr.

During the analysis of consonant combinations in intervocalic position in Tatar and Russian languages, we considered the consonant combinations between vowels, and revealed that, first of all, it is necessary to turn attention to syllable boundary in Russian and Tatar languages.

According to fair state of Russian phonology scientists, in Russian language in the majority of consonant combinations in intervocalic position, the syllable boundary is before the combination that is why the non-final syllable of the word is usually open. However, between the vowels there can be such consonant combinations, at which the syllable boundary goes between the consonant combination, thus, making the non-final syllable closed. For instance: pa/tron (patron), pu/dra (powder), o/kno (window), o/gnya (flame), but: am/bar (warehouse), kar/ta (map), voy/na (war), tol/pa (crowd).

Syllabic division in Tatar differs from the Russian one mainly by the fact, that in dissyllable and multisyllable words, the second and following syllables show a strong dislike for two consonants nearby in the beginning of combinations, for instance: [kosh/ta] "on the bird", [kis/ken] "cut". The accumulation of two consonants (flowing or sonorant + stop) in the end of the first syllable is possible, for instance, [ayt/kan] "the one, who said", [tart/ty] "he dragged".

Consequently, in one cases, which are far less, the syllable boundary in Russian and Tatar languages coincide, and in the majority of cases the syllable boundary does not coincide in these languages. That is why there are definite difficulties in acquisition of pronunciation of Russian consonants in intervocalic position by Tatar students. In the analyzed texts, the following combinations of consonants between vowels are more frequently met:

1) from two consonants br, tr, dr, kr, pr, vl, gl, dl, pl, shl, sn, dn, ln, zn, sn, tn, vn, zhn, kn, vs, dv, zv, sv, rv;

2) from three consonants stv, cstr, stn, tpr, vtr, dsv, zgl, spr, rsk, tkr, skr;

3) from four consonants dstv, rstv, tstv, vstve, ystv, bstv, nstr, tstr.

The analysis of combination of vowels in the end of the words in the compared languages showed, that in Tatar language, the combination of two consonants is frequently observed, the first is sonorous, the second is noisy, for instance: tart--pull, shart--condition, kyryk--forty, ant--swear, ayt--holiday etc. Besides, the combinations of noisy with noisy consonants are also possible: act--bottom, bottom part, est--top, top part, dust--friend. In Russian language, as distinct from Tatar, firstly, different combinations of consonants are possible in the end of words. Secondly, the number of different combinations in Russian language is much more that in Tatar. Although, it is necessary to mention that, as compared to the beginning and middle of the word, i.e .the position between two vowels in the end of the words of Russian language, much less combinations of consonants are met. These combinations deserve special attention not only due to frequency of their usage, but also because of the fact, that their wrong pronunciation stably exist even among those Tatar language representatives, who speak Russian quite well. Consequently, the development of linguo-correctional measures, aimed at overcoming of disturbances in word sound and syllable structure by children-bilinguals go to the foreground.

The main task of our investigation is to develop and evaluate the system of devices for the linguistic modeling of word structure in children-bilinguals, taking into consideration the specificity of functioning of consonant combinations in native language. Our linguo-corrective effect is based on the system of devices for work with linguistic blocks on word structure formation, which included two interconnected blocks of devices:

I. The linguistic modeling devices, aimed at formation of sound word structure, at development of visual, acoustic and tactile analyzers, and the interconnections between them.

II. The linguistic modeling devices, aimed at formation of syllabic word structure, using visual, acoustic and tactile analyzers, and the interconnections between them.

At the initial stage of corrective effect, the word structure modeling fully developed on the speech therapist, who added letters and syllables at random. The child had nothing to do but to reproduce the word, received from initial syllable.

At later stages of logopedic work, when all initial syllables were elaborated and adopted, the speech therapist provided a child with an opportunity to model a word himself. Here the child faces difficulties, that are why he uses the help of speech therapist and acts under his control. For this, we developed the linguistic blocks, having standard root base and a set of flexions with different complexities and conditions of consonant combinations. Such blocks provide an opportunity not only to model the words of different complexity of syllable structure, but also act as additional analyzer supports, allowing seeing the inflexion, activating visual memory and causing the interest in realization of linguistic reality.

At last stages of studying, when a child fully acquired knowledge and skills, he models the word structure from the initial word individually, without the help of the speech therapist.

All devices were subsequently and closely interrelated. Exclusion or non-acquisition of one of the devices will prevent a child from moving on and, finally, to acquire the structure of all 14 classes of words. The system of linguistic modeling devices was implemented at logopedic lessons, taking into consideration the requirements of educational and upbringing program for children with general speech underdevelopment (5-7 years) of T.B. Filicheva [13].

Upon completion of acquirement of all suggested syllable word structures, the control tests were executed. The results showed positive dynamics. The state of syllabic structure in children-bilinguals became better. The children started to pronounce correctly the words of not only 1- 6 classes (In accordance to A.K. Markova [14]), but also to reproduce the structure of words of 7, 8, 9 classes. Both at reflected and individual naming of words, their tense and stunted pronunciation was rarely met. When pronouncing the words of 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 classes, the children still had difficulties, shown in stunted, pronounced in syllables, reproduction. It is explained by more complex and foreign syllabic structure of another language, including more syllables and combinations of consonants in another positions, and another tempo-rhythmical organization of speech in whole, than in native language.

In our work, we made an attempt to make a contrastive analysis of peculiarities of word structure of languages, different in structure (at the example of Russian and Tatar) and to show, that difficulties, that can be faced by the child-bilinguals in speech practice in conditions of diagnostics, according to traditional logopedic procedures; we also tried to show the specific character of logopedic work with children-bilinguals in formation of word structure. In our opinion, it will provide the speech therapists, neurologists and neuropsychologists with the opportunity to take a fresh look and to evaluate the speech dysfunctions of bilinguals. Thus, the deformations of word contour, in particular, its syllabic content, can show the kinetic apraxia and interest of efferent cortical systems of brain. Frequently, these disturbances can be explained by the specificity of functioning of consonant combinations in native language. In whole, we can state the validity of conclusions, obtained by our colleagues that "This native-language benefit is thought to arise from greater use of top-down linguistic information to assist degraded speech comprehension" [15: 1].


Thus, the interaction of languages, linguistic contacts presents a complex process, covering not only speech activity in acquisition of second language, but also the personality of the child in whole. The study of interconnections of Russian language with any unrelated language have great theoretical and practical value, as it allows determining the influence of linguistic and non-linguistic factors on the development of speech of bilinguals, and also provide an opportunity to reveal in time and to evaluate correctly speech dysfunctions, conditioned by organic and social reasons.


Article history:

Received 25 April 2014

Received in revised form 20 May 2014

Accepted 25 May 2014

Available online 22 June 2014


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Zinaida Vasilyevna Polivara

Tyumen State University, Semakov street, 10, 625003, Tyumen, Russian Federation

Corresponding Author: Zinaida Vasilyevna Polivara, Tyumen State University, Semakov street, 10, 625003, Tyumen, Russian Federation
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Author:Polivara, Zinaida Vasilyevna
Publication:Advances in Environmental Biology
Article Type:Report
Date:Jun 1, 2014
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