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Linguistic world image, semantic fields, psycho-linguistics, linguistic personality

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Lecture 3

Discworld

Now containing over forty books, the Discworld series is a humorous and often satirical fantasy work that uses the Discworld as an allegory for our every day life. The name "Discworld" comes from the fact that the world is described as being shaped like a large disk resting on the backs of four giant elephants supported by the enormous turtle Great A'Tuin, swimming its way through space. Major topics of parody have included many science fiction and fantasy characters, ideas and tropes, Ingmar Bergman films, Australia, film making, newspaper publishing, rock and roll music, religion, philosophy, Egyptian history, trade unions, university politics, and monarchy. Pratchett's novel The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents won the 2001 Carnegie Medal for best children's novel (awarded in 2002).

LINGUISTIC World image. Semantic fields.

World Image in MODERN PSYCHO-LINGUISTICS. LINGUISTIC PERSONALITY and its WORLD IMAGE

 

1. Linguistics world image

1.1. The problem of definition of the linguistic world image

1.2. Semantic system as an implementation of the world image

 

2. World image in psycho-linguistics

2.1. Modern issues of the branch

2.2. The theory of linguistic personality.

2.3. The structure of a linguistic personality

 

The basic terms to be considered:

 

1.

Considering the linguistic triangle by and large, one may state that the connection between the world and the language takes place through the conceptual system. Thus the language is considered as an immediate result of human cognitive activity. As it has already been demonstrated (see Lecture 1), the relationship between the world (reality), the cognition and the language in terms of the theory of WI may be presented as the relations of three spheres, which correlate with each other according to the principle of ‘matrioshka’: the reality is the biggest, the conceptual WI is a smaller one, whereas the linguistic ways of implementing the conceptual world image are limited and therefore the linguistic world image is smaller than the conceptual one.

There has always been a problem with defining the linguistic world image since it has not been clear what language devices may be included into it and what mechanisms participate in its formation.

The most frequently used definition of the LWI is: the form of communicative implementation (verbalization) of the world image, realized in various linguistic and speech structures beginning with phonemes and ending with discourse.

The issue of the linguistic world image was started by the philosophers (Brutyan, Pavilyonis), the lexical aspects of the issue was mainly developed by Y. N. Karaulov.



Any language carrier recognizes the world as: 1) reality itself; 2) the first signaling system (the level of world cognition through senses) 3) the second signaling (verbal) system, which was called by Pavlov the human system of the world cognition. In terms of the world image theory they are: 1) a real world; 2) the personal (conceptual) world image; 3) the linguistic world image objectivised by the language (the latter is disputable though).

The presentation of the real world lies in the basis of the linguistic world image. Here reality is not used in the ontological meaning but as the reality implemented through the language: types of the existing and non-existing, fictional and imaginary objects, items, ideas, which the human selected out of the whole lot of the phenomena, created and called. Here not only the objects are meant, but intellectual, pragmatic and emotional estimations and characteristics. This all makes the basis of the linguistic world image.

To explain the basic forms of its functioning, we again will have to return to the semantic triangle in its initial form. What stands between the sign and the referent is the concept, which in linguistic world image turns into semantics.

One of the basic forms of the linguistic world image implementation is a so-called semantic field. Y.N. Karaulov considers semantic fields as major content element of the linguistic world image. Their basis is the knowledge of the world implemented in semantic categories, composed of the words and word combinations, structured differently within the limits of this field.

Charles Fillmore offered the whole set of semantic fields:

1. Contrastive set, like antonymic pairs based on common sense considerations: tall/short, dead/alive.

2. taxonomy built on the principle of super-ordination: physical objects – furniture – chair

3. partonymy built on logical reference ‘the partthe whole’: day – morning, afternoon, dawn, evening

4. paradigm built on one common semantic feature and a set of differentiating features (within sex – actor / actress, boy/girl, etc.)

5. cycle built as a closed sequence of components: seasons, week days, months

6. chain built as an open sequence of components: (military ranks) private, corporal, sergeant, sergeant major, lieutenant, captain, lieutenant colonel, etc.

7. network: structure based on the set of features forming different levels of relations: (family tree): father – mother, aunt – uncle; nephew – niece

8. frame: based on certain thematic situations (scenarios), like “purchase”, “war”, etc.

 

The influence of cognition on the linguistic WI is obvious, however the opposite is also crucial. It may be illustrated in a lot of examples from specific linguistic world images of different nations. A slang nonce word in Ukrainian ‘післяобід’ has become the name of the part of the day and tends to become a norm, though nobody knows when exactly this time starts and ends. This in the end influences the way of thinking and behaviour of those, who depend on the carrier of this realia.

 

2.

 

Whereas the language may be called one the most important ways of the comprehending world, the speech becomes one of the ways of rendering this experience. If we look at the semantic triangle under a different angle, it may become clearer:

 

Person

 
 

 


World Speech (Language)

 

Where the reality (world) stands for the referent, the person stands for the conceptual system (since the human is its exclusive carrier) and speech stands for the sign (word), since rendering the experience of the world comprehensions takes place mainly through speech.

Speech has become the object of research of many linguistic branches (pragmatics, for example), whereas the correlation of the speech with its subject is observed mainly in terms of psycho-linguistics.

The object of the PL is correlation of the person with the structure and functions of speech activity, on the one hand, and the language as the fundamental way of implementation of the WI of the human, on the other hand.

One of the basic notions in PL is linguistic personality. It is defined as the personality revealing itself in speech activity, owing a certain sum of knowledge and ideas.

The basic feature of the linguistic personality is the presence of its levels, which become the immediate object of linguistic research.

They are:

1. verbal-semantic level: it presupposes for a carrier normal command of a natural language and for the linguist it is a traditional description of formal devices of rendering certain meanings. In other words, it the description of the language corpus the speaker uses.

2. pragmatic level: includes aims, motives, interests and intentions. This level provides in the linguistic personality research a real transition from the estimation of its speech activity to the estimation of its real activity in the world.

3. cognitive level: its units are notions, ideas, concepts, which create more or less systematic WI with every individual. This level allows the research of a human intellect, processes of the world comprehension through the language, because the latter is one of the basic ways of objectivisation of human thinking.

 

Since implementing the activity of the linguistic person takes place in the language and its use, speech, nowadays they start juxtaposing the linguistic, the speech and the communicative personality as three aspects of the so-called homo loquens (a speaking human) (N.D. Aroutyunova).

 

Bushisms: http://www.mindprod.com/politics/bushismsslips.html

 

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