Trinity of languages as the core component of independence in Kazakhstan

Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №7 - 2015

Author: Kulinka Yelena, Kazakh-American Free University, Kazakhstan

In recent years inter-ethnic cooperation in Kazakhstan has undergone some changes. Our management policy is aimed at strengthening the equality of the different nationalities of the country, no matter which ethnic group they belong to. The principles of state language policy are defined in the Constitution of the Republic of Kazakhstan,  in the laws of the Republic of Kazakhstan "On Education" and "On languages in the Republic of Kazakhstan" and in the "State program of functioning and development of languages for 2011-2020." In accordance with the state program of functioning and development of languages, language development strategy has three main objectives:

1) expansion and strengthening of social and communicative functions of the state language;

2) preservation of common cultural features of the Russian language;

3) development of languages of ethnic groups[1].

In today's world in the era of globalization the question of language and its meaning in society was one of the important state tasks in connection with the processes of self-determination. The main problems of language are: the use of language in formal and informal communication, language teaching in secondary and higher educational institutions. At the current stage, the purpose of education is not only knowledge, but also the formation of key competencies, which are aimed at preparing students for future life. They must be prepared to communicate both orally and in writing. This process should involve knowledge of several languages.

Kazakhstan is a multinational state with already established and continuously developing multi-ethnic mentality. Rich experience of peaceful coexistence of different peoples, cultures and religions has accumulated on the Kazakh land. This heritage defines the essence of our unity and provides friendly inter-ethnic relations at the present stage. Political processes, occurring in Kazakhstan, its dynamic economic development and its desire to enter the educational world space require maximum openness to different points of view, the ability to rethink and evaluate the contribution of different cultural historical paradigm in the educational process. In order to enter a single global educational environment and ensure social mobility of Kazakh people, it is necessary to develop a dialogue of cultures and traditions, customs, religions and educational systems.

Since ancient times, the value of polylinguism was one of the important directions. Nowadays it is impossible to imagine that there are countries where people speak only one language. In reality, there is no state, where only one nation lives. Bilingualism and multilinguism are integral to the normal functioning of any multinational state. Today the Kazakhstani educational system provides a study of Kazakh as the state language, Russian as the language of interethnic communication.

Trinity of languages in the Republic of Kazakhstan is a concept aimed at further strengthening of our country. A polylingual person will always be in demand in any society. This indicates its competitiveness in today's society.

Currently, much attention is paid to the study of languages of the people living in Kazakhstan. The state language is Kazakh; the Russian language is the language of interethnic communication. New textbooks are published in six languages. They are Kazakh, Russian, Uighur, German, Turkish and Uzbek. Foreign languages are taught in all educational institutions. Kazakh and Russian are the main languages in all educational institutions. The curriculum includes not only Russian, but also at least one other foreign language. This situation suggests that bilingualism has formed in Kazakhstan, and there is a trend towards multilingual education.

President Nazarbayev said that "... Kazakhstan is unique, and multinationality is its strong point. A unique multicultural space is formed on its ground. Multiculturalism in Kazakhstan is a progressive factor in the development of our society. Eurasian roots of the peoples of Kazakhstan allow for connecting the Eastern, Asian, Western, European flows and creating a unique version of the Kazakh multiculturalism" [2].

"Now bilingualism is the most important form of cultural interethnic communication in Kazakhstan. The person, who knows several languages, is able to communicate with more people, to take up the material and spiritual wealth of other native speakers. He can get acquainted with their history and culture” [3].

The growing awareness of the world community of the contradiction between increased levels of multi-ethnicity of the social environment in which people live and work, has led to the fact that a multicultural and multilingual education is increasingly becoming an integral characteristic of modern trends of social and political development in the world. This problem is inherent in the educational practices of different states. It shows its significance and urgency.

The ongoing development of multilingual education is encouraged by the deepening of international cooperation and collaboration, the growth of professional and academic exchanges. Multilingual education in Kazakhstan is a concept aimed at further strengthening of the country and its potential. Fluency in three or more languages is a part of the national ideology, aimed at establishment and development of competitive Kazakhstan.

Formation of a polylingual person is one of the priorities aimed at internal policy of our multinational state. In order to ensure the competitiveness of the country and its citizens, the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev in his Address "New Kazakhstan in the new world" proposed phased implementation of the cultural project "Trinity of languages": "It is necessary to develop three languages: Kazakh as the state language, Russian as the language of interethnic communication and English as the language of successful integration into the global economy "[3]. According to Nursultan Nazarbayev’s strategy, national education should become competitive and high-quality, so that graduates of Kazakh schools could easily continue their studies in foreign universities.

One of the main strategic objectives is to preserve the best traditions of Kazakh education and give school leavers international qualifications, develop their linguistic consciousness based on knowing of  state, native and foreign languages.

One of the objectives of education is familiarizing a younger generation with world-wide, global values, the formation of adolescents’ ability to communicate and interact with other cultures in the world. Due to the important role of language in the modern world, the question of language teaching takes the leading role in our society. Teachers also need to know their own language and the language of international communication - English. The main aim of school teachers is raising a multicultural personality knowing the customs and traditions of its people, multilingual, able to carry out communicative - activity-related operations in the three languages in all situations, striving for self-development and self-improvement [4].

Policy in the sphere of language is one of the most important aspects of the ongoing social and economic modernization in our society. President Nazarbayev pays much attention to this component. Trinity of languages is a unique project, initiated by the head of state. In today's multicultural world there is an urgent problem of contingency of languages remains, as well as the search for effective and sustainable programs in the field of languages.

In the 1990s, new concepts of education were developed, including the concept of ethno-cultural education, which provides a detailed definition of "multi-cultural identity". According to this concept, "a multicultural personality is the individual with a strong linguistic awareness. Knowledge of native and state languages, learning a foreign language broadens the mind of the individual, contributes to their multi-faceted development and to the formation of tolerance and vision of the world." This definition gives us an idea of  the next generation.

According E.M. Zhutova, "Kazakhstan, remaining a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional state, goes through a complex and controversial period of their cultural and language development. We can observe it in the linguistic situation in the country, according to the Concept of the language policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The core idea is to master several languages" [5].

The entry of Kazakhstan into the global community aims at creating a multicultural identity. K.H. Zhadanova argues that "Multilinguism can be regarded as an effective tool for the preparation of the young generation in an interconnected and interdependent world. Graduates of schools and universities should have a multilingual communicative function, such standards have a lingua-cultural level, which would allow them to realize themselves professionally on a global level"[6]. Social need for specialists with Kazakh, Russian and foreign languages improves the role of multilingual education.

Multilingual education is a process of multilingual personality format on through the mastery of three or more languages.

The development of human multilanguage consciousness goes through speech development by means of mental, verbal and written communication. The development of speech is the development of thinking. The act of speaking is impossible without thinking and advancing the internal process.

According to G.V. Palatkina, "the basic elements of the contents of multicultural education are:

1) culture of international relations;

2) structural components of cultures of ethnic groups;

3) structural components of ethno pedagogical area” [7].

One of the main goals of multicultural education should be the formation of a person capable of leading an active life in a multicultural environment. It should develop a sense of understanding and respect for other cultures, able to live in peace and harmony with people of different nationalities, races, religions. The study of different cultures in the complex will contribute to the cultural identity of the individual, its formation of tolerant attitude to the representatives of different cultures, which is the purpose of multicultural education.

Multilinguism is "the use of several languages within a given social community (especially the state); individual (group of people) knows and uses multiple languages which is selected in accordance with the specific situation of communication "[8].

Multilinguism is the basis of formation of a multicultural identity. A person can be called polylingual if he / she speaks, understands and knows how to communicate in different situations using foreign languages. Knowing a foreign language is not just learning a foreign language. Multilingual education is the process when different academic disciplines, such as literature, geography, biology are taught in a foreign language.

We have formulated the concept of multilingual education to achieve an international standard level of knowledge of several foreign languages. It involves the development of a multilingual person with a certain selection of the content, principles of teaching, developing a special process using multi-lingual phrase books, dictionaries and educational materials, which would indicate similarities and differences between the basic and new language. There should be the identity of the content of teaching the second and third languages, starting with universal linguistic phenomena that can move to more specific in studying a new language. Polylingual personality is a model of "a person considered in terms of their readiness to make the speech acts, to discover and work" in three or more languages [6].

Multicultural education in the Republic of Kazakhstan is one of the main areas of education. That education is an important stage in the process of formation and development of a multicultural identity. It is the stage when the core values and principles of life are formed on a conscious level. Multilinguismis able to provide the student with an enabling environment that gives a harmonious blend of universal humanist qualities of the person with the ability to complete the implementation of its national, cultural and ethnic needs. It should be noted that in the present conditions lifestyle is unified in a certain way, many national differences are erased, the person loses the connection with his / her roots, devalued the moral experience of previous generations. Therefore, a teacher has the most important task that is to use all its unique experience and knowledge of the cultural traditions of peoples and ethnic groups, human values and world culture in the creation of favorable educational environment for the formation of a socially active person [9].

To solve this problem we must:

1. Promote the formation of civil values of the individual, active citizenship, revival and preservation of spiritual and moral traditions.

2. Foster a sense of respect, patriotism and pride for their country.

3. Foster a sense of tolerance and positive attitudes of the individual.

4. Develop a positive attitude towards cultural values of Kazakhstan society based on the study of the world literature.

5. To form an idea of a healthy lifestyle, to involve in the cultural and sporting events.

In Kazakhstan, multicultural education and multilanguage identity are both in schools and in the family, and through the media. It has a kind of continuing education. At present, the development of multicultural and multilingual education in Kazakhstan is a priority. The development of the Kazakh – Russian - English concept is an experiment in schools and universities. Schools began implementing teaching in three languages -Russian, Kazakh and English. During this experiment, there are conditions for the formation and development of a multicultural identity that holds three languages. Students not only learn to speak different languages, but they are acquainted with the cultural heritage of the peoples of the studied languages, rethinking their own personality, based on human values.

Undoubtedly, the basis for the formation of a multicultural personality is multilinguism. Multilinguism is regarded as an effective tool for the preparation of the young generation in an interconnected and interdependent world. In this context, understanding the role of languages in the world today confronts us with the issue of training and improving languages.

The relevance of multicultural and polylingual education determined a general global trend towards integration in economic, cultural and political spheres. Polylingual education is a purposeful process of introduction to the world culture by means of several languages, when languages act as a way of understanding different cultural, historical and social experiences of various countries.

It is known that the state can successfully develop and blend well in a number of leading countries of the world that is able to create for its citizens decent working conditions for the acquisition of high-quality and modern education in their own country and abroad.

In this regard, we observe the problem of language education- difficulties in learning English. Moreover, this process should be synchronized, not separate. It would be correct to speak about polylingual cultural education, which should result in multilingualism of citizens and society. Parts of multilingualism should be the mother tongue, which fixes the awareness of belonging to their ethnic group, the Kazakh language (as a state)knowledge of which contributes to the successful civil integration and the Russian language as a source of scientific and technical information, foreign and other non-native language, to develop the human capacity for self-identity in the world community. Therefore, learning a foreign language as one of the main indicators of human adaptation to the new socio-political and socio-cultural realities is now an actual scientific-theoretical, scientific and practical task [10].

Learning a foreign language forms communicative abilities that are necessary for the person as a member of our society, a member of the team or a family member. It requires the ability to listen to the interlocutor and to engage in dialogue.

English as a means of international communication occupies a leading position in the world. This is primarily due to the rapid development of high technology (space, information laser technology, bio- and nanotechnology) and economy. Competence in foreign languages is important for the economy and for the development of the regions, and, of course, for the citizens themselves. Anyone who wants to get a better chance of successful employment and career should have an adequate knowledge of at least one foreign language.

The application of new methods and technologies of teaching foreign languages will contribute to the development of personal qualities that are demanded by modern multicultural and multilingual society. Therefore, the problem of using effective methods of teaching English is very important.

Currently, some of the principles have already been formed in the system of polylingual education:

- Kazakh - Russian - English;

- learning languages should go hand in hand; the mother tongue must be the basis;

- learning a foreign language should be based on the training of verbal thinking, mastery of new means of expression of the target language.

There are significant changes in the requirements for the results of the training and education of the modern younger generation, the urgent need to form a willingness and ability to live in an open society where there is coexistence of various nationalities and ethnic groups, and therefore, representatives of different languages and cultural traditions. At this stage of development of society the issue of multiculturalism and multilingual educational environment of educational institutions is of great importance, where the process of identity formation occurs not only by raising the level of national identity, but also on the ability and desire to carry the knowledge of their own country, to comprehend the characteristics of languages and cultures of other countries [11]. Multicultural and multilingual education models can serve as an effective force of dialogic interaction of different nationalities, in spite of their different cultural preferences.

In summary, it should be noted that the formation of a multilingual personality is one of the most urgent problems of modern education system of Kazakhstan.

Knowledge of languages is useful not only for individuals but also for society. The realities of our time convince us of the necessity of mastering Kazakh, Russian and one foreign language.

In this era of globalization, when the separate existence of different nations and cultures becomes impossible when there is a rethinking of the goals and objectives of education, and we understand that the current content of education does not meet adequately the needs of society, there are widely discussed new concepts and paradigms such as multicultural education, training of multilingual, cultural approach, socio-cultural competence, and others.

There is no doubt that the integration of Kazakhstan into the world community, building an open democratic society, the internationalization of all spheres of life contribute to the fact that multilinguism becomes one of the most urgent problems of modern Kazakh education in the formation of personality, having global thinking. In this context, the problem of multi-cultural education is becoming even more relevant in Kazakhstan today.

This position of the Republic of Kazakhstan finds its direct reflection in the basic documents for the modernization of education. And it helps to get direct access to the new models and mechanisms for managing educational systems and institutions. The policy of Kazakhstan in the sphere of languages allows for setting and solving the real problems of modernization of education, education of the younger generation in patriotism, tolerance and readiness for intercultural interaction in difficult social processes.

Thus, the conditions in Kazakhstan are ideal for the development of multicultural and multilingual education, and developing a multilingual multicultural personality, whose purpose is to increase the level of its own culture in general: the culture of communication, culture of speech and culture of mentality. Multicultural aspect of modern civilization can be a powerful humanistic concept of an intercultural dialogue. Tolerance is one of the main components in a multipolar civilization, and a good example of cultural and educational space of Kazakhstan can be extremely important for the whole world. In terms of industrial-innovative development of the country there is an urgent need for the development and implementation of multilingual culture and multilingual education in the sphere of education.

The concept of the language policy of the Republic of Kazakhstan defines Russian as the main source of information in different areas of science and technology as a means of communication inside and outside the country. The implementation of a multilingual education policy is a very important and difficult problem. It is possible to solve this problem but only together with the participation of all members of our society.

Knowing Kazakh, Russian and foreign languages is becoming an integral component of personal and professional activities of mankind. It leads to a need for a large number of practically and professionally multi-lingual people, who can take a more prestigious, both socially and professionally, position in society.

Years of development of independent Kazakhstan show that bilingualism and multilinguism in society create all the necessary conditions for its development and progress. But it depends on a well thought-out language policy of President Nazarbayev and the government. The national intelligence should be able to maintain and develop the culture, history and language of the Kazakh people.

One of the objectives of familiarizing the younger generation to the universal, global values is the formation of abilities to communicate and interact with the neighboring cultures in the world space. Thus, in order to prepare professionals to meet these requirements, great attention is paid to multilingual education, which is regarded as an effective tool for the preparation of the young generation in an interconnected and interdependent world.


1. The state program of development of languages in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011-2020.

2. Nazarbayev, N. A. New Kazakhstan in the new world // Kazakhstanskaya Pravda. -№ 33(25278). - 2007.

3. Presidential Address as of 27.01.2012: “Socio-economic modernization is the main direction of development of Kazakhstan”

4. The state program of education development in the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2011-2020.

5. Zhutova, E. M. Multilinguismas a factor of the full socialization of the individual in modern society // Science and education. -2013. -No2 (69). -30 p.

6. Zhadanova, K.H. Cultural aspect of multilingual education//Science and education. - 2013. – No 2 (69).-33 p.

7. Palatkina, G.V. Multicultural education: a modern approach to education in the folk traditions // Pedagogics. - 2002. -No 5. -41-47 ps.

8. Tchan Din Lam. Multilingual education as an important development strategy of Kazakhstan // Successes of modern science-2013. - № 7. -130 p;

9. The concept of multilingual education in the Republic of Kazakhstan. –Karaganda, 2008. - 21 p.

10. Mutanov, G. K., Abdibekov, U.S., Syrgakbayeva, A. S. The introduction of the cultural project "Trinity of languages" in universities of the RK: Problems and Solutions. - Almaty: Kazakh University, 2012. -178 p.


Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №7 - 2015

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