Categories Of Nominative Semasiology: Word, Meaning, Sign


The article describes categories of nominative semasiology, such as word, meaning and sign. The purpose of this study is to compare these categories of nominative semasiology and to identify common and distinctive features of the functioning of a word, meaning and sign in a language. The process of thinking is carried out through words and sentences, which are a sensual, material form of being ideal. Natural language is associated with the formation and transmission of thoughts, with the expression of feelings, the transmission of assessments and various intonations, thereby serving the spheres of the emotional, verbal and mental and communicative activity of a person. The study uses descriptive and comparative methods of linguistics. Having studied linguistic literature, the author clearly sees that many questions related to nominativity are still open. From this point of view, the research topic is relevant for modern linguistics. The author, given the fact that language as a sign system of a special kind differs from all other sign systems, first of all, by the principle of its structural organization, demonstrates a new, peculiar approach to nominative semasiology and reveals the main features of the functioning of a word, meaning and sign in a person’s thinking in cognitive coloring, which is the scientific novelty of this study. Summing up, the author notes that language exists as a system of means of generalized virtual signs and models of their connections and as its real manifestation, a concrete implementation of this system.

Keywords: The process of thinkingmeans of cognitionthe formation and transmission of thoughtssocio-historical experience


Language can be interpreted as a means of materializing thought. From this point of view, as a means of idealizing the material world, language was more limited. Basically, logical categories were investigated. The material content of thought and its expression in the lexical and grammatical categories of specific languages remained in the shadows. However, the expression of thinking in lexical and grammatical categories is of particular importance in the study of linguistic nominativity.

Language is a complex of categories and a continuous process (Serebrennikov, 1970). Language is a unique marking system, which is implemented through real units of live speech, thereby ensuring communication and mutual understanding between people in society. He is also able to express countless thoughts and feelings of linguistic individuals (Boduén de Kurtené & Schuchardt, 2008). One of the main features of the nominative aspect of the language is that the language sign is binary, in contrast to other signs: 1). enclosing a nominative system of words and phrases, a linguistic sign expresses paradigmatic relationships; 2). in predicative statements and actual speech, the linguistic sign acts as an indicator of syntagmatic relations.

Despite numerous studies in the field of nominative semasiology, the question of the formation of a word and its meaning, language sign is still controversial, which determines the relevance of this topic. In the process of managing names, meaning (the form of consciousness), the name (linguistic form) and the environment (expressed non-linguistic objects) are combined in a single form as a whole. The study of the dynamics of these relations is to penetrate into the essence of semiological processes, studying the meaning, linguistic form and characterization of the environment.

Modern linguistic literature reflects the semantic interpretation of linguistic elements in any microsystem or microorder. In this case, the process of comparing two types of linguistic sign occurs (Hack, 1969). It should be noted that nominative and predicative signs, naming signs and predicative signs are of particular importance (Ufimtseva, 2011). Therefore, studies in the field of nominativity in the language require consideration of such categories as a word, its meaning and sign in a comparative context.

Problem Statement

For each language, the picture of the world is divided in its own way, i. e. “has its own specific way of conceptualizing it” (Bulgakova, 2012, p. 83). This approach can also be found in studies related to the linguistic sign in the virtual space (Habibova & Jafarov, 2019).

Al Farabi, Khatib Tabrizi, N. Tusi, Abulgasan Bakhmanyar, Husam Muzaffar and other Azerbaijani scholars even before F. de Saussure expressed very interesting ideas about linguistic sign. For example, as far back as the 11th century, Khatib Tabrizi put forward interesting ideas about the meaning of a linguistic sign, thereby laying the philosophical approach to language learning. Form and content conflict between the sign of the object and its image in the human mind. One of the medieval Azerbaijani linguists, Husam Muzaffar, also presents the theory of signs and grammatical categories (Maimukhambetova, 1979).

Ogden and Richards regarded the word exclusively as a sign. According to these scientists, the main factors determining the sign are: symbols, concepts, the subject matter. And Saussure (1977) considered signs as all dual units. According to the scientist, the factors that determine linguistic signs are as follows: signifier, signified, sign system.

Martynov (1966) in his work “Semiotic Fundamentals of Informatics” writes: “A language is created when a system of signals turns into a system of signs” (p. 196).

The process of interpreting linguistic signs is characterized by reflection, generalization, the emergence of concepts and other forms of thinking. But this does not prove that language is a form of thinking. From this we can conclude that the main purpose of the human language should be a means of materializing thought. “A person’s speech activity to create nominations is based on his knowledge of the linguistic vision of the world” (Bulgakova, 2012, p. 83). A language that is directly related to the objectivity of the real world, the perception of objects and events, can be studied in the language system of the material world. Language is primarily distinguished by the idealization function of the real world. Reflection of the world of objects with linguistic symbols is the basis of the conceptualization and naming process.

The starting point of the study of nominative processes is a fundamental factor for the existence of several approaches to its study. So, there is no doubt that linguistics studies nominative processes mainly from the point of view of their functionality (Malika & Nagel, 2011).

The reflection of materiality in the language, real features and connections of objects and events is expressed through nominative signs. At the same time, the subjective signs of the external form, events and processes are reflected in the human mind. This aspect of the main nominative meaning of words can be described as a set of characteristic features of the so-called subject. About this Vinogradov (1986) writes in that way: To understand the words and expressions related to events and things, you need to know about the concepts that they point to, and, in general, the meanings of the concepts of the material culture of these parts.

Research Questions

The semiotic and gnosiological aspects of linguistic nominativity are characterized by two interconnected processes – idealization (generalization of objects and events) and the presentation of perception results, their reflection through linguistic signs. Instead of nominativity, using the term “nominative field”, Palvanova (2012) notes that it is organized by nominative series.

As a result of socio-historical experience, a person, turning objects and their properties into an expression of his work, characterizes their social purpose, functions and features, thereby naming them, forms new concepts. For example, the word "tree" means a plant. The word "firewood" is a tree that is intended for a bonfire. And “wood” is a material for making furniture or various things. “Bar” refers to a tree that is cleaned and used as a building material.

In the examples we have given, the materialization of an object in labor activity is reflected in the new features of the word “tree” and its new meaning. The main feature and advantage of linguistic nominativity is that the social purpose and functions of the subject become the nominative aim of the native speaker. The material properties of objects are transferred to another object.

Things become objective, that is, the substance is idealized, at this time the substance becomes a real form of activity of the human mind and is replaced by a general concept that is more acceptable for native speakers (Brief Philosophical Encyclopedia, 1994).

As Nikonova (2012) notes, in the meaning of words it is possible to single out individual elements revealed in relation to other words, and abstract elements reflecting the properties of one structural-semantic type within extensive lexical and grammatical classes and expressing differences in the content of cognates: laughter funny, laugh, laugh.

The word is one of the basic structural units of the language and is characterized by paradigmatic and syntagmatic relationships. The word refers to two levels of the language system: nominative and syntactic. A word has an inseparable morphological and semantic structure as a nominal unit, is selected and determined not only by its location and function in word order, but also by its specific content in the nominative system. Each character of a word is semantically characterized by two meanings: nominative and functional.

Some linguists who view language as a speech activity usually do not recognize the existence of a word and do not accept it as a language unit. Among linguists who are skeptical that a word is a unit of language, the names of Sapir (2016), Bloomfield (2002), Saussure (1977) and Balli (2001)

Based on the nominative and syntagmatic meaning, the word in the language functions in two planes: 1. lexical-semantic unit as an element of the nominative system; 2. The lexical and grammatical unit as an element of the linguistic structure. This indivisible connection between the meaning of the word and the sign form is the main condition for the semantic and structural unit in the language environment.

Purpose of the Study

The main goal of this study is to analyze these categories of nominative semasiology and accurately determine their functions in the language and speech activity of a person. Since “language is characterized by a special binary system of its units, the binary system of language is universal in terms of its formal and substantial structure and includes a certain vital activity of the individual, the sign system” (Bulygina, 1967, p. 6).

Research Methods

In carrying out the study, descriptive and comparative methods of linguistics were used.


Word as a nominative category

Studying the semiotic and epistemological aspects of nominativity in the language, scientists note that this is a combination of two interrelated properties. The following properties are indicated as these properties: 1. Idealization is an abstract generalization of things, their features and relationships; 2. The results of this generalization are reflected and presented in the human mind using sign language.

The social purpose and function of objects and events is the nominative goal of native speakers. At this moment, the object becomes an object, and the material concept becomes the real form of the real thing in the human mind and is expressed in a general sense that is understandable to all carriers. The language system includes not only specific objects outside of language activity, but also emotional categories.

From the gnoseological point of view, nominativity is considered an important phenomenon. Nominativity is a fundamental part of the language system as a denotative-significative relation. In the language, the semiological aspect of nominativity includes the essence of the presentation of the sign in terms of its connection with the extralingual world of things. The relation of the word to the expressed concept denotes both the object and its concept. In this case, the verbal sign and its concept are contrasted. Two aspects of the word – meaning and conceptualization – make it a means of nomination and meet the social needs of the language community.

This concept is a reasonable expression of thinking and includes the interaction of form and content. In the works of Bulygina (1967) the analysis of nominativity is carried out from all sides. In these works, very interesting ideas about connotative meaning are encountered. According to these scientists, connotative meanings are expressions of semantic relations in certain lexical groups that are combined with the general content. It is noted that primary nominativity is an expression of the basic meaning of the word (Boduén de Kurtené & Schuchardt, 2008; Hack, 1969). A secondary nominative unit, according to Golubeva (2008), maybe repeated. “This is possible only when she refers to the same denotation, named earlier and points to relevant examples from literary texts” (Golubeva, 2008, p. 217). The author writes: A secondary nomination as a significant linguistic unit uses one or more phonetic shells of words already existing in the language to name other (new) denotations or to rethink old meanings (Golubeva, 2008).

Nominative meaning of the word

In the process of value formation, three elements are interconnected, interconnected: the subject of thinking (person); object of thinking (real world) and language sign. The designation function is closely related to other functions of the language, such as sign, epistemology, communicativeness, etc., and indirectly serves to study the issues of language and thinking.

The third feature of the language, which includes the principles of nominativity, is the creative nature of the language. In the meanings of linguistic units – in words and phrases the ideal form of the material world, properties and relations between objects are reflected. The correlation of meanings includes a mechanism for idealizing the world of things, everyday social and individual activities of a person (Leont'ev, 1972).

Human consciousness does not represent the objective world, but creates it in one’s own mind. Language reflects the process of reflection and environmental change associated with two aspects of human consciousness. Language units are concepts that synthesize thought and practice. In his research, Golubeva (2008) notes that the paradigm of relations between referents is inherent in associative communication. This connection, as usual, is reflected in the semantic structure of names.

Studying the connection between language and the social experience of its speakers in diachronic terms, linguists note that the language system is a structured division of human experience. In the history of linguistics, the nominative aspect of language has been studied in different ways by various theoretical directions. The linguistic designation is primarily considered from the point of view of words, their relations to objects, signs and events (Vinogradov, 1986).

Vinogradov (1986) writes: “It is necessary to look for language correlations of understanding and thinking in language expressions and manifestations, and not in the language system. The expression of concepts in a language is, in fact, not a word, but nominativity (name). The expression of thoughts in a language is not a sentence, but only an expression” (p. 17).

In the history of linguistics, the nominative aspect of language has been studied in various fields and from different theoretical positions. The problem of notation in the language system was primarily studied from the point of view of words and their relationship to objects and events of the real environment. Words taken outside the language system are characterized by different signs and names. Based on the second aspect of the nominative case, it is indicated that the designation and meaning are reflected in the lexical content of the word.

According to Vinogradov (1986), the meaning of the word and its relation to the subject may not coincide with the function of the name. In the semantic structure of a word, the concept of things and more abstract components of meaning can also be different. In this position, one should speak of “close” and “distant” meanings of a word, its formal and meaningful concepts, as well as denotative (material) and significative components of the semantic structure of a word.

According to the theory of Potebnya (2018), there is a connection between the content of a word and its name (nominativity). Under the concept of mainstreaming, the word had in mind the meaning that immortalized it in the memory of the people (Potebnya, 2018). As the main meaning, he understood the meaning, characterized by the similarity and opposition of associations.

Kurilovich (1962), characterizing the main nominative meaning in the semantic structure of the word, emphasizes its relation to objects and events of the real world. The main nominative meaning of the word is indirectly related to its subjectivity. Scientists who divide words into classes and sequences on the basis of a semiotic approach have identified the following classification for them: noun, characterizing, identifying, symbolic, deictic (Kurilovich, 1962). The study of communicative units in the nominative aspect became more relevant at the end of the twentieth century.

The restriction of designation (denotation) and meaning (signification) in a word formed the basis of two approaches to the study of linguistic units – onomasiological and semasiological. In the study of the linguistic system, the onomasiological approach differs from the semiciological one in that in onomasiology the content of linguistic units is characterized not from the point of view of the formation of systematic meanings in the content of linguistic units and the semantic mechanism for the expansion of words and phrases, but from the point of view of designating objects and phenomena by linguistic units (Beletsky 1972).


Summing up, it should be noted that during the formation of word-signs, the elements observed in real life are repeated in the human mind, and this process is primarily associated with the function of the nominative representation of the language.

In the process of naming with the help of nominative signs, along with real beings, elements of mental activity and abstract thinking of people are also called. Human consciousness is a socio-psychological phenomenon and has both aesthetic and logical characteristics.

The nominative-verbal sign refers not only to the material or ideal denotation, but also to the signs, which are the main characteristic of the class of things, as well as to the perception associated with human perceptual activity.

When considering linguistic units, three key aspects must be taken into account: semiological (characterization of a sign); socio-psychological (formation of a sign); conditions and patterns of functioning of a special sign).

The semiological aspect of language interpretation is the basis for the presentation of a language sign. This is the connection of a linguistic sign with the real material and ideal world. The relationship of the form of a word sign with its content is twofold: meaning in relation to the form of a conceptual sign; the meaning of the word is defined as the name in relation to the subject or concept. conclusion and conclusions on the article.


Copyright information

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

About this article

Publication Date

31 October 2020

eBook ISBN



European Publisher



Print ISBN (optional)


Edition Number

1st Edition




Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, translation, interpretation

Cite this article as:

Askerova, M. J. K. (2020). Categories Of Nominative Semasiology: Word, Meaning, Sign. In D. K. Bataev (Ed.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism» Dedicated to the 80th Anniversary of Turkayev Hassan Vakhitovich, vol 92. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 105-111). European Publisher.