Analysis Of Linguistic Categorization In Cognitive Perspective
New studies in cognitive science fuel researchers’ interest in language categorization. Until now, categorization has been approached from a variety of perspectives – researchers focus on the process and mechanisms of categorization, linguistic means of its representation (such as articles, possessive and demonstrative pronouns, temporal-aspectual forms of verbs, word order and intonation, etc.), still the way the process and the results of categorization are verbalized as well as the language means that are employed in this cognitive operation are still under-researched. The paper identifies the categorization frame, reveals principles of profiling and language means employed to describe the process. The preliminary stage of the research consists in gathering lexical units from Russian-Russian Dictionary that describe categorization, then the categorization frame is offered: objects are classified into categories by the speaker, the speaker rationalizes the decision, then, the operation of categorizing goes – objects are referred to some class, the speaker expresses the degree of confidence in the decision, the extent to which the object can be assigned to the class, or relates the object with other members of the class without ‘establishing the membership’. The research findings result in a typology means that describe the process of categorization profiling, e.g. the way / mode of acquiring knowledge (cf.
Keywords: Categorizationframecognitive operationclassprofiling principle
When a human being enters the world s/he has to learn to categorize all the objects and activities around so that s\he could learn how to survive in it, to understand what to expect from the surrounding cosmos, and categorizing is euristically indispensable means. When a person knows which class / category the object in question belongs to he understands the algorithm of handling the objects of this class. These algorithms are empirically deduced by previous generations, they offer invaluable prognostic guidelines for the humans and make them feel comfortable in predictable and no longer dangerous world (Bezukladova, 2018; Suleimanova & Petrova, 2018). So, the category is a powerful cognitive tool and at the same time the result of cognition; it is carried out on the different levels. (We shall use the terms
The cognitive paradigm stimulates interest to CAT, which is defined as “comprehension and sustaining the results of cognition process in cognitive units – concepts” and further relating them to “certain rubrics of experience – categories”, i.e. “conceptually joined objects” (Boldyrev, 2010, p. 45). What follows is that CAT is omnipresent in the everyday linguistic practice, it is effected practically in every speech act, e.g., in English this function belongs to the article, in Russian this function is performed by a variety of means, among which are equivalents of articles (such as word
The researchers focus on a variety of CAT characteristics, different categories represented in the systems of concepts – cf. e.g. (Babushkin, 2019; Boldyrev, 2010; Kuznecov, 2019; Manaenko, 2019; Mescheryakova, 2019; Sharandin, 2019; Shen & Gil, 2017; Sroka, 2018). They research into the linguistic means specially designated for categorizing, namely: the article as the major explicator of the CAT process and its results; demonstrative and personal pronouns; markers of definiteness / indefiniteness such as Russian
In fact, every communication act starts with categorizing. Cf. below a text fragment:
Old age – are a
At present, verbalization of the CAT process proper, as well of its result, have not been given comprehensive account yet, which makes the research into its specifics a relevant issue. The linguistic means which describe categorization operations have not been collected and systematized either.
To reveal the specifics of linguistic representation of the CAT process in Russian we have to answer the questions to follow:
what linguistic means are used to denote CAT processes and operations, understand how large this linguistic corpus is in the language;
what facets of the process are profiled by these linguistic means, what aspects of CAT process are relevant in the language as they have special verbal representation ;
what facets are represented in the CAT frame in Russian, what operations find explication.
Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the paper is to analyse verbalization of categorizing act in Russian which implies focusing on a variety of tasks.
First of all, the researcher has to pick out the verbal means (verbs, adjectives and various word combinations) which denote CAT act; deduce the cognitive frame of this act explaining which cognitive operations CAT is based on; and finally list linguistic means that are able to realize categorizing that will help suggest a comprehensive typology of enacted linguistic means of linguistic CAT.
One of the priorities the research is pursuing is building up a CAT frame and researching into the principles of profiling in describing the object / situation as a cognitive CAT mechanism (Bezukladova, 2018, p. 148): to pick up the linguistic means used to refer to CAT and to proceed to closer analysis of the cognitive operations reflected in the language to describe CAT.
We suggest distinguishing in the CAT frame basic operations constituting CAT act, which implies deciding on referring an object (X) to some category (X or Y), “weighting” arguments for / against the decision, and CAT – assigning an object to some class judging by its visual, tactile, audial, etc. characteristics; degree of (un)certainty of the speaker in his decision on the category he sends the object to; the degree of intensity / prominence of the features which determine class membership of an object; it can also be coordination of
Then we classify the linguistic means which profile the operations, e.g. adjectives (
At the next research step, to find out which operations the Russian speaker carries out to categorize objects, the Russian-Russian dictionary (S.I. Ozhegov) was scanned for the lexical means which (at least in one of their meanings) describe CAT profiles (the sampling counted more than 80 units, we did not distinguish words of the same root belonging to different parts of speech).
CAT operations in Russian (there is evidence to suggest that in many other languages – though it calls for verification – the CAT frames coincide to a great extent as they reflect the human logic) make up the frame to follow: CAT proper – calling / denoting (
Then the speaker may emphasize the way he used to get the relevant CAT knowledge, or means of its verbalization (
One of the key features which discriminate the linguistic means is between the predicates which convey the information about CAT proper, on the one hand, and the predicates, which secure, anchor the CAT result and characterize the speaker’s attitude to the “reliability” of categorization.
The first group of verbs – made up of relatively few members – comprises verbs
V etom smysle, podgotovlenny specialistami MGU … otchet
The next group comprises verbs schitat', kazat'sya, nazyvat', klassificirovat', oboznachat' kak, harakterizovat' kak, - consider, seem, classify, denote as, characterize as which do not denote CAT process as such but focus on the result of the prior cognitive CAT act – the speaker secures the result, relates to CAT precision (kazat'sya, vyglyadet') seem, appear, or other frame profiles: he may accentuate whether object X belongs to X-class or not, judging on the inference (schitat') consider, denote his classifying activity in different formats (harakterizovat' kak, oboznachit', nazvat') characterize as, denote, call; denoting perception channel (X kazalsya, vyglyadel kak) X seemed, looked like. CAT may be accompanied by a cognitive operation – e.g. v konechnom schete - in the long run may presuppose that making decision on referring X to a category is preceded by mental reasoning. For instance, in
"Kontra!" - negodovala moya mama, intuitivno ponimaya, chto Izabella Davydovna, myagko govorya, ne razdelyaet papinyh kommunisticheskih vzglyadov i
The speaker may report CAT as the result of cognitive processing of the protagonist’s audial experience whenever a tram passed behind his windows:
Class membership can be defined through the cognitive operation
The speaker may establish similarity (not identity!) between the objects of different classes – upodobit', obraschat'sya kak s (ravnym / sopernikom / drugom) / imitirovat' / zakosit' pod, slovno, zakodirovat' / izobrazit' kak / otozhdestvit' s, klejmit' assimilate, to treat as (a peer / friend / rival) / imitate / feign / as if / to encode / picture as / identify with / to stamp (Furs & Vishnevskaya, 2019).
Assimilation is often worded by particles kak, budto and kak budto as, as if. Cf. a try to assimilate in The New Testament On zhe skazal: chemu
Cf. the focus on the result of the protagonist’s attempt to assimilate object X with the objects of other classes (the class of equals / seniors):
The speaker may also accentuate the result of the cognitive operation of assimilating / dissimilating X-class object to Y-objects: X may be described as
«Zamet'te, - skazal ya, - chto suschestvuyut manuskripty, napisannye zadolgo do togo, kak zhil prototip…
The object may be characterized with respect to the degree it complies with the requirements the class member is to meet – nastoyaschy, tipichny, tochny, dejstvitel'ny, istinny, kanonichesky, nesomnenny, neosporimy, polnost'yu sootvetstvuyuschy, normal'ny, obychny, nepoddel'ny, polnocenny, sootvetstvuyuschy, bessporny, bukval'ny, banal'ny - real, typical, exact, true, canonical, undoubtful, fully complying, normal, common, full-fledge, banal, unquestionable, indisputable, obvious, literal, rather, ot`yavlenny, The speaker may claim weak resemblance between X and other class members – it is the “worst” member: zauryadny, zahudaly, nikudyshny, elementarny, nadumanny (predlog), kosvenny - garden variety, run-of-the-mill, mediocre, elementary, good-for-nothing. The adjective formal implies poor compliance: surface features may suggest (better) class X, while in fact the object in question is Y.
The protagonist may categorize after some doubt and cognitive analysis, some innate dialogue with himself: esli razobrat'sya, vrode (kak), vse-taki, vpravdu, budto, kak budto, vse-taki, dejstvitel'no, imenno, vovse ne - when you get right down to it, looks like, still, as if, if you come to think of it, cf.: Supruzheskaya para pustynnyh mokric okolo svoej norki. Ih detenyshi, pokazavshemusya na poroge svoego zhilischa, net esche i dvuh mesyacev. `Etakaya idilliya. A ved'
Vasya-to byl, bol'shoj takoj, starshinoj-to rabotal… Tak taratoril Egor, a sam, pohozhe, prihodil poka v sebya - gost' byl i
The speaker may refer the object to some class with a certain degree of probability: veroyatno, bezuslovno, ochevidno, vidimo, vrode - without doubt, evident, obvious, seeming, etc.: Yansons - veliky muzykant. Sejchas,
Class membership may vary in degree and quality of dinstinctness –
In some cases the speaker may express the extent to which he is convinced he can refer the object to a certain class – kak takovoj – kak takovogo muzha u nee ne bylo, kazat'sya, kazhuschijsya - as such, proper, she couldn’t say she had a husband per se, seeming, per se: V knyazhestve net
The speaker may focus on decision-making which is based on emphasizing the relevant and discarding the irrelevant
CAT may also accentuate a transfer of an X-object into some Y-class: gotovy (specialist), tol'ko posmotri na nego - ready specialist, to look at him, mature, ripe, ready-to-wear / for-service, ready, prepared cf. also originally was- iznachal'no byl; re-naming - ili inache, or, in other words, inoskazatel'no, or, on the contrary, pertaining categorical membership: ustojchivy - stable.
We have to admit, that referring polysemantic words, e.g.
The analysis of the Russian means of expressing categorization made it possible to construct the general CAT frame.
First of all the speaker opts for the general CAT strategy – to either directly specify the category (
Then the speaker concentrates on the properties of the cognitive situation and chooses one of them to represent the whole CAT. It can be accentuated on
- the well-grounded opinion of the speaker as the result of the performed cognitive operation– schitat', otnesti k, consider, refer to;
- assessing the opinion credibility – bezuslovny, absolute, unconditional;
- assessing the degree of the speaker’s confidence – nesomnenny, undeniable, unquestionable;
- assessing the compliance / non-conformity of the object in question with the requirements the object is expected to meet, so that it can be sent to this or that class – nastoyaschy, podlinny vs mnimy, lozhny, real, true vs false, imaginary, alleged, semblant;
- distinguishing the objects which are approximating some class, still cannot be considered its members –
- specifying the perception modality which determines categorization choice –
This frame is determined by, first, how exactly the speaker represents his mental activity – accepting as a given or, on the contrary, the cognitive operation may imply the logical processing of the data; second, defining what properties make the speaker refer the object to some category, how distinctly and unambiguously and clearly they are expressed and understood by the speaker.
As a research perspective, it seems relevant to analyse the parts-of-speech differences in representing CAT by the derivatives, e.g. between attributive constructions
- Babushkin, A. P. (2019). Categorizatsia “kaleidoscopicheskih” kontseptov [Categorization of kaleidoscopic concepts]. Kognitivnye issledovaniya yazyka. XXXVII: Integrativnye processs v kognitivnoy lingvistike, 131-135.
- Bezukladova, I. Yu. (2018). Osobennosti egotsentricheskoy kategorizacii social’nogo prostransstva v yazyke [Egocentric categorization of social space in language]. Kognitivnye issledovaniya yazyka, XXXIII: Cognitivnye issledovania v gumanitarnyh naukax, 534-538.
- Boldyrev, N. N. (2010). Kategorial'nyj uroven' predstavleniya znanij v yazyke: modusnaya kategoriya otricaniya [Category level of introducing knowledge in language: modus category of negation]. Kognitivnye issledovaniya yazyka, Vyp. VII: Tipy kategorij v yazyke, 45-60.
- Furs, L. A., & Vishnevskaya, E. A. (2019). Upodoblenie i ego reprezentaciya v sovremennom anglijskom yazyke [Simile and its manifestations in the contemporary English language]. Kognitivnye issledovaniya yazyka, XXXVII: Integrativnye processy v kognitivnoj lingvistike, 340-344.
- Krejdlin, G. E., & Rakhilina, E. V. (1981). Denotativnyj status otglagol'nyh imen [Denotative status of abstract names]. NTI/VINITI, 2(2), 17-22.
- Kuznecov, V. G. (2019). Taksonomicheskaya i lingvisticheskaya kategorizaciya. Kognitivnye issledovaniya yazyka [Taxonomic and linguistic categorization], XXXVII: Integrativnye processy v kognitivnoj lingvistike, 226-231.
- Manaenko (2019). Kategorizatsiya sluzhebnyh slov na osnove diskursivnogo upotrebleniya. Kognitivnye issledovaniya yazyka [Categorization of functional words ased on discoursive use], XXXVII: Integrativnye processy v kognitivnoy lingvistike, 495-499.
- Matezius, V. (1967). O sistemnom grammaticheskom analize [On systemic grammar analysis]. In Prazhskij lingvisticheskij kruzhok. Moskva: Progress.
- Mescheryakova, O. A. (2019). Kul'turnyj princip kategorizacii znanij i ego diskursivnaya realizaciya. Kognitivnye issledovaniya yazyka [Cultural approach to knowledge categorization and its discoursive manifestations], XXXVII: Integrativnye processy v kognitivnoj lingvistike, 246-251.
- Sharandin, A. L. (2019). Kategorial’naya priroda I yazykovoy status sintaksicheskoy derivatsii (na materiale russkogo glagola) [The category nature and a linguistic status of syntax derivation (based on the Russian verb)]. Voprosy cognitivnoy lingvistiki, 4, 28-37.
- Shen, Y., & Gil, D. (2017). How Language Influences the Way We Categorize Hybrids. In H. Cohen and C. Lefebvre (Editors) Handbook of Categorization in Cognitive Science (Second Edition), 1177-1200. Elsevier Science.
- Sroka, K. A. (2018). The Category of Location in (Morpho) Semantics and Pragmatics. Sprache verstehen, verwenden, uebersetzen. Berlin: Peter Lang.
- Suleimanova, O. A. (1984). Mestoimennye aktualizatory ves' i celyj v sovremennom russkom yazyke. Nauchnye doklady vysshej shkoly [Pronoun activators all and whole in the contemporary Russian language]. Filologicheskie nauki, 4, 78-82.
- Suleimanova, O. A., & Petrova, I. M. (2018). Eksplanatornyj potencial teorii klassov dlya lingvisticheskogo issledovaniya: poryadok sledovaniya opredelenij [Explanatory potential of the theory of classes for a linguistic research]. Filologiya: Nauchnye issledovaniya, 3, 52-64. Retrieved from https://nbpublish.com/library_read_article.php?id=26758
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
About this article
Cite this paper as:
Click here to view the available options for cite this article.
VolumeEpSBS / Volume 86 - WUT 2020