On The Problem Of Categorization Of Artifacts In The Russian Linguistic Worldview
The article emphasizes the necessity of studying the categories of linguistic consciousness by taking into consideration the three-component structure of the categorial system put forward by philosophers (instead of the previously proposed two-component model): the essence of the world, the essence of consciousness and the essence of the relationship between consciousness and matter. In this regard, special emphasis is given to artifact categories which represent such linguo-mental phenomena, which are created directly by human consciousness under the influence of continuously emerging knowledge, and which organize the world of objects surrounding man in accordance with these categories created by consciousness. For example, the linguo-mental phenomenon of TOY gives us an opportunity to analyze the substantive, structural and functional specificity of some artifact categories. The word association experiment held among native Russian speakers aged from 4 to 65, reveals the cognitive-propositional structure of the categories under study. By introducing the concept of framework categories, preserving the general characteristics but changing their specific content and the reference area under the influence of subjective factors (such as age, psychological factors, etc.) it is possible to show the essence, specificity of the content structure, and the dynamic nature of framework categories.
Keywords: Cognitive linguisticscategorizationartifact categories
The study of categorization of reality in linguistic consciousness is one of the urgent issues of modern linguo-cognitology – the science about cognitive abilities of the human being (see the works of such scholars as: A. Arppe1, D. Divjak, C.J. Fillmore, S. Kalyan, W. Labov, G. Lakoff, G. Lepper, B. B. Lloyd, N. Mashal, C. B. Mervis, R. Pustet, T. Regier, E. Rosch, J. R. Taylor, A. Wierzbicka; N. D. Arutyunova, A. P. Babushkin, A. N. Baranov, N. N. Boldyrev, O. O. Boriskina, V. A. Vinogradov, V. Z. Dem'yankov, D. O. Dobrovol'skiy, A. A. Kibrik, A. A. Kretov, E. S. Kubryakova, Z. D. Popova, L. A. Sergeeva, Yu. S. Stepanov, I. A. Sternin, R. M. Frumkina, A. P. Chudinov, A. L. Sharandin, A. S. Shcherbak, etc.). Cognitive exploration of the structure and content of linguo-cognitive categories has a wide practical significance, first of all, in the field of lexicography: it facilitates specification of the volume of the semantic structure of the lexical units existing in the minds of the language users, compilation of ideographical dictionaries used in practical foreign languages teaching, etc.
Modern philosophers among others emphasize the necessity to study the categories of human consciousness. V.V. Orlov stresses that modern Russian philosophy, having departed from the study of categorial systems, has been developing in the wrong direction for over several decades. G.W.F. Hegel (and later F. Engels) identified the pivotal issue of philosophy as the interrelationship between two spheres: ontology (being) and gnoseology (cognition of the being by human consciousness), which determined the subsequent research interest in ontological (natural) and psychological categories. Nevertheless, the modern philosophers insist on inclusion of the third level into this system. To their mind, the basic question of philosophy should include three components: the essence of the world, the essence of consciousness and the essence of the relationship between consciousness and matter (Orlov, 2011, pp. 184 – 197; 8). This philosophical approach to the study of categorial systems makes it possible to include into the field of research ARTIFACT CATEGORIES which represent such linguo-mental phenomena, which are created directly by human consciousness under the influence of continuously emerging knowledge, and which organize the world of objects surrounding man in accordance with these categories created by consciousness (Dziuba, 2012; 2015а; 2015в; 2015с; 2016). Thus, we should agree with the following conclusion: as long as categories are linguo-mental phenomena (abstract thinking operates, among other things, verbal means of expression, and the units of cognition are fixed in language), the study of categorization processes should unite the efforts of philosophers, psychologists and linguists.
The range of research questions includes analysis of the factors and mechanisms of formation of linguo-cognitive categories, investigation of the boundaries and semantic structure of the categories of linguistic consciousness and evaluation of the significance of the categorization theory achievements for applied spheres of scientific knowledge.
Purpose of the Study
The formation of the categories of the human mental world is subject to influence of a number of factors: type of worldview (scientific, professional, or naïve worldview), specificity of the subject and object of cognition, categorization features significant for a certain sphere of knowledge, intralinguistic nomination laws, etc. Quite naturally, the process of categorization is to a large extent subconscious; the categories are formed in human mind spontaneously under the influence of many subjective parameters: individual experience of the subject of cognition, their background knowledge, social and professional environment, place of residence, mass-cultural information space in which the person lives, gender, age, sphere of interests, and other psycho-physiological factors. The category of TOYS is illustrative in this sense as it might be called a FRAMEWORK CATEGORY preserving the general features, but changing its concrete content and sphere of reference depending on the influence of certain subjective factors. Thus, the aim of the given research is to reveal the specificity and regularities of formation of framework categories in the minds of the Russian language speakers on the example of the linguo-cognitive category TOYS.
The theoretical-methodological foundations of the work are determined by the fact that taking into account the abovementioned philosophical triad and using the psycholinguistic methods (specifically, the word association method; in more detail see: Deese, 1965; Leont'ev A. N., 1983; Leont'ev A. A., 2003; Luriya, 1979; Ushakova, 2000, etc.) and the method of categorial prototypical analysis (Berlin & Kay, 1969; Kay, 1999; Rosch, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1983) it becomes possible to draw the boundaries of linguo-cognitive categories and to define their actual content.
The content of the category TOYS may be revealed by the method of psycho-linguistic experiment which presupposes questionnaire of the Russian language speakers of various ages. To define the specificity of the category TOYS the respondents were offered two variants of the task. The first variant was for children between the ages of 4 and 6 years (the task ran as follows:
The following answers were obtained in the course of the questionnaire (see Figure
The results of the experiment can be presented in the following way (the answers are given in descending order: from the more frequent to the less frequent ones): 4-6 years of age (
It was found in the course of the experiment results processing that the category TOYS is unlimited in its reference potential. Practically any object of the surrounding world (real or imaginary) can function as a toy for a person; the boundaries of object reference are determined by age-related features of the speakers. Studying the prototypical structure of the category TOY, A. Wierzbicka notes that “
Our work has led us to conclude that there are framework categories in linguistic consciousness the structure of which is formed on the basis of the significant features of categorization (
The data obtained about the boundaries and members of the category TOYS may be used in applied linguistics (for compiling ideographical dictionaries), in linguo-didactics (for defining the specificity of teaching the vocabulary of a foreign language) and even in commerce (for organizing sales of goods).
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VolumeEpSBS / Volume 39 - WUT 2018