The use of modern technologies in virtual modelling of media discourse makes it possible to represent an event most clearly. Journalistic texts or media texts are the result of the creative activity of the author in the dynamic process of the cognitive practices of media discourse, which can also be potentially modelled. Thus, due to the development of virtual technologies, the corpus of media texts is constantly expanding and the problem of studying the cognitive aspects of media discourse arises. The discursive-cognitive approach in the study of media texts makes it possible to describe a special mental unit that allows representing an event with all the features of media communication. The article suggests and discusses the definition of the intelligential concept, studies its function, examines its properties, such as coherence, valence, thematic causation, hypertextuality, mobility. The analysis of the empirical material allowed us to identify several typical situations of the use of linguistic units in the news media texts devoted to the relevant topics, representing the RUSSIA INVESTIGATION intelligential concept. In the summary table, which distributes language units according to the types of intelligential concepts, the most typical examples of representation are given, and the functioning of the intelligential concept in Internet media discourse is considered.
Keywords: Media discoursejournalistic textmedia textintelligential conceptdiscursive-cognitive approach
Media discourse is a dynamic subject-to-subject speech-cogitative activity, the static result of which is the media text. The study of the representation of events is proposed to be carried out using the methods of conceptual and context analysis of the intelligential concept in the headers of media texts.
The discursive-cognitive approach to the study of media communication has been used by several scientific schools, in particular, by such researchers, as Van Dijk (2014, 2015a, 2015b), McLuhan (2002), Dobrosklonskaya (2006) and others. The study of media discourse in virtuality makes it possible to visually and dynamically present the cognitive processes taking place in it, which are embodied in an ever-increasing body of media texts and representing events using special concepts and properties. Media discourse is a conscious, thematically conditioned, subject-to-subject speech-cogitative activity in the corpus of media texts. Media texts have got the relevant semantic content, they appear in the dynamic discursive process of the cognitive practices of creating, transmitting and interpreting knowledge about events represented in the media (Montgomery & Edington, 1996).
It is possible to analyze some cognitive aspects of media discourse based on the provisions of cognitive linguistics, the works by Langacker (2008), Kubryakova & Iriskhanova (2010), Boldyrev (Boldyrev, 2004, 2011, 2017; Boldyrev & Dubrovskaya, 2015; Boldyrev, Dubrovskaya, & Tolmacheva, 2016) and other linguists who open up the possibility of understanding the representation of events and the correlation of language means with the units of knowledge in media texts. The creation of knowledge units in media discourse takes place in the mode of an active perception of information by the recipient and is inextricably linked with the perception of the represented concepts, with the processes of their categorization and addition of new information.
The main distinguishing feature of media discourse is the ability to transform the incoming information about an event in accordance with the genre features of the presentation of news information, in particular, with the well-known formula “who, what, where, when, under what circumstances”. This example quite clearly demonstrates the categorization of information about a particular event, represented in a number of similar media texts generated by the same news. The incoming information may be actual, subjective, appraisal, selective, incomplete and inaccurate, but the event is transformed in the media text, and any information flow is represented in a form that is accessible to the mass understanding (Ciccoricco, 2015; Hackett & Soares, 2015; Behrend, Dreschke, & Zillinger, 2015; Bushev, 2016; Delisle, Goldstein, & Yang, 2016; Thon, 2016; Floyd & Katz, 2016; Freedman, Obar, Martens, & McChesney, 2016; Schulman & Zelizer, 2017).
This feature is noted by many researchers of media discourse, who emphasize its functional conditionality, and Dobrosklonskaya (2006) is among them. Internet media discourse mainly represents information verbally, accompanying it with audio and video files, serving the purpose of informing the recipient about certain events. Thus, special cognitive structures or concepts that perform an informative function are in operation in Internet media discourse.
The concept in the broad sense represents knowledge that reflects the essential features of the object of reality but is not a simple set of them. Being a part of human consciousness, the concept is connected with a huge stock of information about the surrounding world, representing the life experience of an individual, which can be implicitly represented as accompanying background knowledge in the conceptual representation of information (Babushkin, 1996; Boldyrev, 2004). The subsequent interpretation of the information received by the recipient often directly correlates with the amount of background knowledge about the event being represented, which media texts cannot fully represent, reporting only what is needed to inform the mass recipient. Those texts are functioning in the Internet media discourse, and the concept represents knowledge, purposefully selected and formed according to the media-discursive rules and intended to inform a large number of recipients at the same time.
The property of purposeful meaningfulness that appears in the concept in media discourse correlates more with the characteristics of the concept than the usual conceptual knowledge. On the one hand, the purpose of informing the mass audience requires accessibility and simplicity of presentation, on the other hand, the representation of the event in the form of ordinary knowledge will defocus the attention of the recipients and convince them of the insignificance of what is happening, which is completely unacceptable for the informative function of media discourse. Therefore, with a degree of certainty, it can be argued that a concept operating in Internet media discourse has certain conceptual properties and special features that allow it to be singled out as a separate type of conceptual knowledge. Considering the informative function of media discourse communicated to any knowledge unit that represents information according to its macro rules (Van Dijk, 2014), it would be reasonable to consider the selected knowledge unit as the intelligential concept.
As a result, the intelligential concept is a unit of representation of verbal and non-verbal information in media discourse, performing an informative function and possessing a number of specific features (Konovalova, 2017). Functioning in media discourse, the intelligential concept is present both in the consciousness of the individual and in the collective consciousness represented in it. Babushkin (1996) believes that a concept must necessarily be denoted by a word, but the intelligential concept can be represented both verbally and non-verbally, namely: through a sound or visual image. In any case, the intelligential concept should perform the function of informing the mass recipient about an actual event, using language representations, which are familiar to the majority of random recipients and sufficient to create an exhaustive media message.
Internet media discourse represents reality in certain cognitive categories determined by collective consciousness in a fairly dynamic and intensive stream of news information. Before the invention of the Internet, the representation of reality was the task of the literary discourse embodying reality in literature, art, music, etc. After creating the virtual media environment, it becomes possible to represent events by means of institutional types of discourse, and this requires additional understanding of media discourse in terms of the discursive-cognitive approach.
Internet media discourse, which operates with intelligential concepts in the representation of events, activates certain various components of the collective consciousness, placing events from the real world into virtuality and exerting speech influence on the mass recipient. The event being represented is reflected in media texts, relatively speaking, located in many points of the virtual media space, perceived by a variety of recipients, but at the same time it is quite accessible for their understanding. This can be explained by the fact that the semantic components of cognitive categories are based on the uniformity of human culture, allowing you to represent the event covered by the media in the categories of collective consciousness, providing the necessary substantive basis for understanding media texts by the mass recipient.
The intelligential concept represents real events in Internet media discourse in a variety of ways, and each of these methods of representation provides a basis for identifying some types of intelligential concepts. From the position of transferring objective news information and taking into account the professional verification by journalists of the sources of incoming information, intelligential concepts are divided into pure and mixed. Pure intelligential concepts belong to media discourse itself, they are the most indicative for it and represent the event without significant distortions of the information that is inevitably introduced into mixed informational concepts from other types of discourse, one way or another, connected with the covered event. It can be political, economic, author’s, everyday types of discourse, from which terms, speech patterns, grammatical structures, logical constructions, etc. can be borrowed to media texts.
As a result, pure intelligential concepts represent the information that is directly required by the media and the intended mass audience, formally building its presentation according to the macro-selection of media discourse. For all the content richness, they are components that additionally structure media discourse and link media texts into a single corpus, often regardless of their language. Thus, the pure intelligential concept is a formal operational unit of the media discourse, possessing the necessary logical and semantic knowledge for structuring media information.
Purpose of the Study
Intelligential concepts like any other units of knowledge can be categorized, and in media discourse this operation is carried out using the categories that function in the collective consciousness in the form of topics and generally accepted discursive topics (Van Dijk, 2014). These structures are concentrated according to similar conceptual features that become relevant due to the thematic context and news agenda. Thematically determined signs form whole areas of intelligential concepts representing a coherent media space or media discourse, which reflects the linguacultural categories of collective consciousness or the aggregate life experience of groups of individuals.
The media space is secondary in relation to reality; however, it is capable of producing intelligential concepts using verbal means according to the well-established formal schemes for building media messages (Zubanova, 2008). The habitual vocabulary, similar grammatical constructions and stylistic techniques found in most media texts indicate the presence of common semantic components of meaning. This fact, in turn, makes it possible to operate intelligential concepts in conjunction with the background knowledge implicitly represented in the media discourse or in the general information space of which it is part, although it does not fully cover it.
It is necessary to emphasize once again that the intelligential concept performs an informative function or the function of informing the recipient about current events, as opposed to a concept that represents everyday knowledge, which may or may not contain relevant information. Based on the characteristics of Internet media discourse, the intelligential concept acquires a number of other, more specific, properties:
1. Coherence, which is a property of the intelligential concept to preserve integrity, ensuring the information content and availability of the transmitted information. The intelligential concept is capable of retaining its form and content while interacting with other units of knowledge in cognitive processes, which are characteristic for Internet media discourse.
It is necessary to take into account the fact that a large number of intelligential concepts are represented in Internet media discourse, interacting with which a single unit of knowledge will be able to convey to the mass recipient information in full without omissions and distortions, i.e. perform an informative function, only while maintaining coherence.
2. Valence or the ability to establish semantic links with other intelligential concepts, thereby participating in the cognitive process of thematic categorization, is the most characteristic for Internet media discourse. Relations between knowledge units established in this way are characterized by thematic connectivity of intelligential concepts regardless of their location in Internet media discourse. The principle of establishing such a relationship is simple – by the similarity of the subject and structure of the intelligential concept, by contiguity in the media space.
3. Thematic causation or the presence of a common semantic component from several informational concepts represented in media texts of various structures, genre, authorship, etc. This component belongs to the news agenda and combines a number of media texts into one information flow, outlining a certain conceptual area of media discourse. This area has a set of common formal features and is characterized by the frequency of repetition of media texts representing the informational concepts belonging to it, which the Internet search engines use when processing large amounts of virtual information, including the news plan.
4. Hypertextuality or the connection between media texts and representative intelligential concepts through hyperlinks, especially characteristic of Internet media discourse. Most often, hyperlinks are used for relevant informational concepts that represent news information in a large number of media texts devoted to similar topics, which emerge and spread almost simultaneously in different segments of Internet media discourse.
5. Mobility or a special property of the intelligential concept, which reveals exclusively during its operation in the virtual environment and presumes the ability to represent an event in several media texts almost simultaneously, forming and directing news information flows according to the events relevant for a certain period (Konovalova, 2017).
The empirical material of the research encompassed the English-language media texts of various electronic publications. The main methodological principles of the study involve the unity of theory and practice in the cognitive study, creative approach to the study based on objectivity and comprehensiveness of the study and phenomena, the integrated and systematic approach including cognitive, discourse, media and other aspects. The key cognitive and media theories, which are most prevalent in Russia and abroad at the present stage, form the basis for the concept analysis.
The conceptual analysis of verbal representation made it possible to identify the intentions of the authors of media texts and the characteristic features of the situational use of the corresponding linguistic units. The modelling of the situational use of intelligential concepts in a number of media texts revealed the necessary cognitive aspects of media discourse, which make it possible to model other media products similar in content and purpose.
We use the following methods: analysis of scientific literature, abstracts, monographs, scientific articles and reports; conceptual analysis and content analysis.
Intelligential concepts are most often located in the headers of media texts, primarily representing the event and causing a paratextual connection with the text itself and other media texts devoted to the same subject. Mixed intelligential concepts represent the information by borrowing some semantic or formal components from other discourses and bringing them into media discourse.
Let us consider some examples of verbal representation of the RUSSIA INVESTIGATION intelligential concept in English media discourse that are illustrated in Table
Obviously, the core of the considered intelligential concept is represented by the phrase “Russia investigation”, which is the semantic centre of any media text covering news on this topic. The representation of the thematic core in media texts with the help of pure Intelligential concepts occurs through the verbatim repetition of this phrase: "Trump says have been 100 per cent proper" with Russia investigation" or in combination with some significant lexemes: “Jennifer Rubin: Regarding the Trump-Russia investigation, follow the money”. Mixed informational concepts represent a thematic core using arbitrarily chosen semantic components or a variable set of slots, among which borrowings from other discourses can be found.
In the heading “Trump’s claim that he isn’t being investigated” Trump’s claim has a reminiscent phrase due to a polysemy of the word, in context with the mentioning of the last name of a special prosecutor additionally correlated with the meaning of “claim, statement” appealing to both legal and political discourse in order to achieve the maximum intriguing effect on the recipient of the media text; the noun “investigation” is transformed into the verb “he isn't being investigated” through lexical transformation, and the second half of the phrase is not mentioned, since it represents a fairly well-known political investigation and at the same time provides the recipient with an opportunity to assume further pace of developments.
In the example “Steve Bannon says Donald Trump Jr. will “crack like an egg” under the investigation of pressure”, where a derogatory comparison from everyday discourse“ crack like an egg” is used, the word “pressure” is added to the thematic core, which has a negative connotation of exerting pressure on Donald Trump's relatives. Journalists prefer to use mixed intelligential concepts to achieve the necessary level of artistic expressiveness of headings, appeal to other institutional discourses to give weight to statements in the media text and attract the attention of the audience.
The pure intelligential concepts are preferably used in the media, focused on timely and reliable presentation of news information, mixed Intelligential concepts are often preferred by the so-called “yellow press” or press, operating on the principle of infotainment, entertaining recipients in the process of submitting news information (Yakovlev & Potekhina, 2016).
Internet media discourse represents reality in cognitive categories determined by collective consciousness in a fairly dynamic and intensive stream of news information. Before the invention of the Internet, the representation of the reality was the task of artistic discourse embodying reality in literature, art, music, etc. After the rise of the virtual media environment, it becomes possible to represent events by means of institutional discourses and media discourse in particular.
Internet media discourse, which operates with intelligential concepts in the representation of events, activates the various components of the collective consciousness, placing events from the real world into virtuality and exerting speech influence on the mass recipient. The represented event is reflected in media texts, conditionally speaking, located in many points of the virtual media space, perceived by a variety of recipients, but at the same time it is quite accessible for their understanding. This is explained by the fact that the semantic components of cognitive categories are based on the uniformity of human culture, allowing one to represent the event covered by the media in the categories of collective consciousness, providing the necessary substantive basis for understanding the media texts by the wide audience.
The intelligential concept represents real events in Internet media discourse in a variety of ways, and each of these methods of representation provides the basis for identifying the types of intelligential concepts. Thus, intelligential concepts are divided into pure and mixed according to the position of objective news information transferring and taking into account the professional verification by journalists of the sources of incoming information. Pure intelligential concepts that belong to media discourse itself are the most indicative for it and represent an event without significant distortions of the information that is inevitably introduced into mixed intelligential concepts from other discourses, one way or another connected with the described event. These can be political, economic, author-specific, everyday discourses, from which terms, speech patterns, grammatical structures, logical constructions, etc. can be borrowed.
As a result, pure intelligential concepts represent the information that is directly required by the media and the intended mass audience, formally building its presentation according to the macro-selection of media discourse. Those are the components that additionally structure media discourse and link media texts together into a single corpus, often regardless of their language. Thus, a pure intelligential concept is a formal operational unit of media discourse, possessing the necessary logical and semantic knowledge for structuring media information.
The authors express their gratitude to the Ministry of education and science of the Russian Federation that financially supported the study: project No. 34.3234.2017/4.6
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07 August 2019
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Communication studies, press, journalism, science, technology, society
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Razduev, A. V., Latu, M. N., & Konovalova*, M. V. (2019). Intelligential Concept In Internet Media Discourse. In Z. Marina Viktorovna (Ed.), Journalistic Text in a New Technological Environment: Achievements and Problems, vol 66. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 661-669). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.08.02.78