The article focuses on the study of a cognitive mechanism in the formation of stable comparative combinations. Comparison is defined as the most important cognitive mechanism, its difference from concepts of identity and simile is represented. The article shows the leading role of a feature during cognition of the surrounding world. The categorical properties of comparative combinations as a universal language phenomenon are defined. Based on the analysis of the feature linking the explained and explaining elements in comparative combinations, various groups of features, combining the base and the goal in comparative combinations are identified. The first group is formed by the motivated attributes of Tertium comparationis, which are included in the core of the lexical meaning or its periphery. Some of the features of this group are stable and unchanging, while others are variable and flexible. The latter is the resultant effect of the objective factors causing changes in the properties of an object both in space and in time. The second group is represented by unmotivated features that cannot link the Comparandum and the Comparatum. The existence of this group of features is explained by the peculiarities of the associative thinking of a person, which is not always random in its nature, and is to some extent regulated by ordinary human knowledge. It is a value-oriented pragmatic knowledge. The expediency of turning to historical facts and the cultural past of the language community is shown. Illustrative material is taken from the Kabardino-Circassian, Russian and English languages.
Keywords: Comparisoncomparative combinationsfeaturemotivatedunmotivated
Comparison is a multidimensional concept. On the one hand, it is a logical category that plays a significant role in the knowledge of the surrounding reality. Cognition begins with the establishing similarity of an object with other related objects; and with establishing the differences from all other objects. (Kondakov, 1971). Cassirer (2000) emphasized that primarily our cognition is based on the search for a single principle that unites heterogeneous observations into one. The individual must not remain single; it must be subsumed under some category in which it is represented as an element of either a logical or a teleological causal structure. On the other hand, comparison is a language phenomenon comparing the similarities and differences in the various properties, qualities and characteristics of individual objects and phenomena of the surrounding reality. It is also "an element of artistic thinking and it serves the tasks of depicting and unveiling an artistic image" (Zhilin, 1963, p. 87).
The logical comparison procedure involves the following components: 1.
Identity is the final result of the matching procedure. The identity of objects assumes the general external characteristics of two things, and of their similar internal properties. They are used in similar connections, to accomplish the same goal (Fefilov, 2010). Identical relations imply the maximum or complete coincidence of the properties and qualities of the objects being compared. In addition, identity can be defined as the expected, objective result of the comparison of some realities of the objective world, whereas the procedure of establishing similarities implies a certain amount of subjectivism.
It is appropriate to draw the distinction between the figurative comparison, known in English as a
In the system of language figurative comparisons, a rather solid layer of comparative structures is distinguished. These structures become stable and reproducible and pass into the category of phraseological combinations. They begin to perform the nominative function. A distinctive feature of comparative combinations is that their semantic component appears in its significative aspect. It represents a certain concept and reflects the essential attributes of a whole class of objects.
The appearance of the comparative structures and their fixation in the language is dictated by the needs of everyday knowledge. The intention to understand the essence of any object, its properties and qualities, to make it more accessible to consciousness, to give it an assessment determines the person's appeal to the simple things of the objective world, accessible to his sensual perception.
Comparative combinations are heterogeneous as to the nature of conveyed meaning. Sometimes this is a reinforcement of a feature inherent in the first element of the structure:
In stable complexes, an explanatory element sometimes performs a characterizing function, for example:
Heterogeneous nature of the formed meaning dictates the need for a differentiated approach to
To understand the cognitive processes that are reflected in comparative combinations, it seems appropriate to consider the mechanism of stable combinations formation, answering the questions: it is similar
The study of the structure and semantics of comparative phraseological units is highlighted in a fairly large number of works. Scholars are interested in the component composition of these combinations, their thematic affiliation, peculiarities of functioning in different languages (Sologub, 1985; Kopylenko & Popova, 1989; Dmitrieva, 2000; and others). Studies on the cognitive analysis of comparative combinations, research of the internal mechanisms of their emergence through the analysis of
To study the cognitive mechanisms of the comparative combinations formation, we try to reconstruct the process of their formation on the basis of combinations fixed in the language.
The work examines the following questions:
a. The role of the feature in the semantic organization of comparative combinations.
b. Inclusion of the feature in the core / periphery of the structure of the lexical meaning of the
c. Motivated / unmotivated choice of the feature.
Naturally, in different languages different language means are used to express the logical-conceptual content of the comparison. The difference in the employed language recourses can be accounted for by the typological characteristics of the syntax of the phrase and the expression of the grammatical category of comparison. The formal side of the linguistic representation of comparison is not included in the range of issues studied in this paper.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the work is to identify and systematize the features (
Illustrative material was selected from the dictionaries of the Kabardino-Circassian language (Kardanov, 1968; Dictionary of Kabardino-Circassian Language, 1999), Russian (Yarantsev, 2001; Teliya, 1995) English (Colllins Cobuild Dictionary of English Idioms, 1997; Oxford Dictionary of Idioms, 1998).
In linguistic literature there are various names of the phenomenon under study. Two synonymous terms are used in the work: comparative combinations (CC) and stable combinations (SC). For convenience, a shortened version of Kabardino-Circassian language - Kabardian language is used in the paper.
In the course of the study, general scientific methods were used, involving the
The concept "feature" has an unambiguous interpretation. It has a different role in the process of cognition. So, for example, gestalt psychologists do not recognize a feature as a significant element in the perception of the image. In their opinion, gestalt is the integrity of the image - that is what is decisive in the perception and knowledge of the world (Solso, 1996). Of course, the object is perceived in its integrity, but then there is a selection of an individual attribute of the object, the fixation of some special, significant, may be somewhat unusual features. Separation of a feature from the object is possible only in our consciousness as a result of the abstractive ability of human thinking. This process is dictated by the objective desire of a person to penetrate into the essence of a thing, to know it deeper in its entirety.
The design of the comparative combination is dictated by objective reasons for visibility of thinking. At one time, Humboldt (1985) drew attention to the “objectivity” of the human language, emphasizing that “language expresses its thoughts and feelings as objects” (p. 283).
The same is true of stable combinations. Its first component
For example, in the Kabardian language, a high degree of
The study of the characteristics of the base used in the CC, their correlation with the vocabulary representation of the structure of their lexical meaning, as well as with our knowledge of the object, revealed the following results.
First of all, the group of motivated features peculiar to the
Here are some examples:
горький как редька; ‘редька’ - ‘root crop with thick and light (in dark skin) root and pungent taste and smell’
as black as a crow;
The interpretation of the meaning in the dictionary entry is aimed at enumerating those essential features that distinguish this particular object from similar ones. Therefore, for the most part, the characteristic features are not reflected in the dictionary definitions of the base, although they form a general knowledge of the object and are included in the core of the lexical meaning of the naming language unit.
Lexicographic traditions of representation of meaning do not coincide with elements of the prototype categorization procedure. They can also be qualified as intrinsic attributes, more typical of the items called base, although they allow for some changes. Here the time factor is triggered, causing changes in the structure and character of the reference comparison feature, as well as its use according to its utilitarian purpose. For example, in the Russian language CC,
Here are some examples from the
Essential features reflecting the general knowledge of the object are included in the core of the lexical meaning of the base of the CC. In addition to them, peripheral features that perform the function of
Similar examples from
Also, the features that form the basis of the following CC do not always show the quality and properties of the
Here are some examples from the
Other examples from this group:
as graceful as a swan,
as live as a bird;
as tame as a chicken;
as gay as a lark;
as sharp as a serpent's tooth;
as agile as a monkey.
In addition to the motivated features, which, as has been shown, can occupy a central or peripheral position in the structure of features of a class of objects forming the base of CC, unmotivated features have also been identified. Those features are unmotivated that an object cannot possess under any circumstances. They are attributed to it by the language community for the figurative objectification of the
as deaf as a stone;
as dumb as a fish;
as deaf as an adder (deaf as a viper, too);
drunk as lord, (here lord is a high rank or high office; a nobleman).
as drunk as a fiddler;
as drunk as a skunk;
as drunk as (a boiled) an owl,
as poor as church mouse;
as silly as a goose;
as blunt as a hammer;
crazy as a bed-bug;
The language material shows a large variety of objects that serve as a
In those cases when it is necessary to actualize the negative pole of manifestation of any qualities and properties of a person, the choice falls on simple, primitive tools and objects. For example, English:
With all the ontological “disunity” of the base and the goal, some excursus into history allows us to establish a connection between them. For example, the English CC
In general, the choice of a base with an unmotivated attribute, although it is of an associative character, these associations are not accidental. Otherwise, the CC would not be fixed in the language and would remain at the level of an occasional phenomenon.
The study of the CC from the point of view of the principles of their formation showed that
The choice of the comparison
Universal values, similar natural and ecological environment, the same practical experience, predetermine the similarity in the semantic arrangement of comparative combinations in terms of their base and goal in different languages.
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28 December 2019
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Magamdarov, R., Barannikova, T., & Bitokova*, S. (2019). Tertium Comparationis Of Comparative Combinations: Cognitive Analysis. In D. Karim-Sultanovich Bataev, S. Aidievich Gapurov, A. Dogievich Osmaev, V. Khumaidovich Akaev, L. Musaevna Idigova, M. Rukmanovich Ovhadov, A. Ruslanovich Salgiriev, & M. Muslamovna Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 76. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 437-446). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.12.04.60