Linguistic Personality As A Key Concept Of Anthropolinguistics


The anthropocentric research paradigm, which was dominant in linguistics in the second half of the 20th century, aims to study the individual in all the linguistic hypostases - “speaking man”, “speech personality”, “discourse personality”, “cultural personality”, linguistic personality (Homo loguens), that is, the personality expressed in language. Currently, the term “linguistic personality” is a key one in the categorical apparatus of anthropolinguistics. It is constantly replenished with new observations on the nature of the relationship between language and its carrier. The authors consider linguistic personality in terms of linguistic culturology. Basic classifications of linguistic personality, its structure, levels intertwined with each other are analyzed. The paper discusses various approaches to the concept, analyzes a research methods and solutions to individual aspects of the problem. Linguistic and non-linguistic knowledge and concepts play a crucial role. The authors pay attention to the elite linguistic personality, a model for representatives of the language community having language proficiency. The authors conclude that linguistic personality development is the main goal of the linguoculturological language teaching theory. The process is oriented toward an elite linguistic personality.

Keywords: Linguoculturologylinguistic personalitystructurerepresentative of elite speech culture


In linguistics of the 21st century, one of the priority trends is the integration of anthropocentric linguistics in all areas of language research. Anthropocentrism has become the basis of a significant number of studies, since the relationship between the discursive behavior and the communicative competence and the worldview has become apparent. Numerous language studies are united by an understanding of the role of the individual, his cognitive activities in developing the linguistic picture of the world. The lack of the unified system of psycholinguistic views on the structure of the linguistic picture of the world, features of its appearance and formation is due to the lack of a definition of the concept “linguistic picture of the world”. The anthropocentric paradigm of modern Russian linguistics requires the study of linguistic processes linked with communicative needs of the individual. The object of many linguistic studies is “speaking man”, the individual in the language and language in the individual. Modern linguistics considers the individual as a native speaker, an ethnolinguistic cultural phenomenon;

Problem Statement

The relevance of the research is due to the interest of modern linguists in linguistic personality, the need for a comprehensive description of linguistic personality, development of a holistic typological concept of linguistic personality, identification of types of linguistic personality, the relationship between “linguistic personality and internal mental-lingual-psychological mechanisms that influence development of linguistic personality ( Khayrullina et al., 2017).

Language has been studied in terms of native speakers for a long time. The anthropocentric direction in linguistics is based on the studies by E. Benvenist who studied the category “subjectivity” in language, G. Guillaume who defined the concept “subjective structuralism”, N.S. Pospelov who applied the category “subjectivity” to grammar laws, etc. ( as cited in Stepanov, 1997). The historical prerequisites for the emergence of the theory of linguistic personality can be found in the works by V. von Humboldt, A.A. Shakhmatov, etc. The anthropocentric method is actualized in the linguophilosophical concept by Humboldt ( 1985): “The idea is to collect the entire mass of linguistic materials, to make comparison according to all laws of analogy in order to understand language as a cause, draw conclusions about the internal world of people” (p. 37). According to the researcher, “human language, human speech exist only in the brain, soul of a person, and main life of language involves the association of representations in various directions” ( Humboldt, 1985, p. 45). I.A. Baudouin de Courtenay, V.V. Vinogradov, G.V. Kolshansky, A.A. Leontiev, A.M. Peshkovsky, A.A. Potebni, A.A. Shakhmatov and other linguists paid special attention to the speech of an individual and his ability to perform speech acts. The natural need for a language actualizes the need to become a person: “A person becomes a person only through language, and language becomes language only because it searches for words in harmony with thought” ( Humboldt, 1985, p. 51). The individual cognizes the world around him and reflects reality and himself with language.

The term "linguistic personality" was first used by V.V. Vinogradov in "About Literary Prose" (1930). This concept was widely used in the 1980s after the publication of a number of works by Karaulov (2010). Currently, the term “linguistic personality” is a key one in the categorical apparatus of anthropolinguistics. It is constantly replenished with new observations on the nature of the relationship between language and its carrier.

Research Questions

The determining factor for the study was a definition of linguistic personality as a specific native speaker capable of understanding, reproducing and creating texts, a personality producing texts, using language tools to reflect surrounding reality.

The term “linguistic personality” was introduced by Karaulov (2010) who defined it as “a set of human abilities and characteristics that determine creation and perception of speech works (texts) that differ by a) the degree of structural and linguistic complexity, b) the depth and accuracy of the reflection of reality, c) a specific target orientation” ( p. 19).

The initial definitions of linguistic personality are given in his various works:

  • “... a personality expressed in language (texts) and through language, ... a personality reconstructed using linguistic means.

... the totality (and the result of implementation) of abilities to create and perceive speech works (texts), differing by a) the degree of structural and linguistic complexity, b) the depth and accuracy of reflection of reality, and c) a target orientation” ( Karaulov, 2010, p. 29).

Thus, the studies on linguistic personality involve an analysis of each native speaker as a unique object.

The basis for the description of linguistic personality is the three-level structure developed by Karaulov, where each level corresponds to a specific philosophical and psychological aspect and where each level has its own elements (units, relationships and stereotypes):

  • the zero level: system-structural data on the state of language;

  • the first level: social and sociolinguistic characteristics of the linguistic community to which the personality belongs and which define subordinate hierarchical, i.e. ideological, relations of basic concepts in the picture of the world;

  • the second level: psychological data determined by the belonging of the personality to a narrower reference group or a private speech community and determining value-orientational criteria that create a unique aesthetic and emotional-rhetorical color of discourses (speech, texts, “language") ( Karaulov, 2010).

Analyzing the structure of linguistic personality, Karaulov focuses on the communicative-activity approach and says that the three-level structure correlates with three sides of the communication process (communicative, interactive, and perceptual) and three types of communicative needs (contact setting, informational and acting). The levels of linguistic personality are intertwined with each other. The vocabulary (verbal-semantic level) plays a supporting role in the reconstruction of features of linguistic personality. It intersects with the vocabulary (the linguistic-cognitive level) associated with knowledge ( Karaulov, 2010), and is motivated by communicative needs of linguistic personality (communicative situations and roles).

Studies on linguistic personality have shown the viability of the ideas by Yu.N. Karaulov. Linguistic personality was defined as "... an integral object of rapidly developing areas of linguistics (cognitive, psycho, socio, pragma, ethno, ontolinguistics, etc.)" ( Sedov, 1999, p. 35).

The structure of linguistic personality was changed by other scientists.

Maslova ( 2004) identified three components of linguistic personality: value, cultural and personal aspects ( Maslova, 2004). Karasik ( 2001) identified value, cognitive, and behavioral aspects. In general, linguistic ability, communicative needs, communicative competences, language consciousness, and speech behavior can be identified in the structure of linguistic personality.

One of the priority areas of anthropocentric linguistics was the development of a typology of linguistic personalities. Various types of linguistic personality are identified on the basis of existential traits of the individual. The implementation of linguistic personality in texts contributed to the identification of various linguistic personalities: elite linguistic personality; linguistic personality of the writer; linguistic personality of the historical figure; child's linguistic personality.

The study of linguistic personality encounters the problem of the single and the general, the individual and the collective. This is due to the fact that the individual and the social are interconnected. Studying linguistic personality as a holistic phenomenon, researchers came to the conclusion that linguistic personality can be defined as a specific personality different from other representatives of the ethnolinguistic community by linguistic consciousness, long-term memory and vocabulary, and the “collective linguistic personality” having knowledge, perceptions, value orientations and means of their symbolic representation. This conclusion is based on the individual / general opposition that is relevant for linguistics and goes back to V. Humboldt’s ideas about individuality: “...the individual is a public animal since he needs another human because I cannot exist without You" ( Humboldt, 1985, p. 55). Linguistic consciousness of the individual is a deterministic phenomenon. It is logical to distinguish between various types of collective personality: according to the social status: linguistic personality of the worker, engineer, scientist; according to the residence: linguistic identity of the village dweller or the city resident, the emigrant; according to the profession: linguistic personality of the teacher, philologist, physician, oilman, journalist; according to the age: linguistic personality of the schoolchild, etc.

The uniqueness of linguistic personality is determined by the uniqueness of its sociopsychological characteristics. However, similar communicative situations seem to level out the characteristics of the individual. “The speaking personality” is a multifaceted, multi-plane object” ( Demyankov, 2016; Sedov, 1999).

The communicative space of linguistic personality is realized in various areas of communication: socio-political, socio-cultural, social, scientific, pedagogical and professional. Each of these areas evokes certain images in the consciousness of the individual uniting into the world picture in which all objects and phenomena are structured, forming a strict logical scheme. In the communicative-active practice, all fragments have a verbal expression in the form of words that reflect linguistic, cognitive and pragmatic rules of a particular ethnic group and compose a linguistic picture of the world of linguistic personality ( Vorobyov, 2008).

The study of linguistic personality as a bearer of elite speech culture, or elite linguistic personality, is a model for representatives of the linguistic community. Elite linguistic personality has a language proficiency and uses various communication resources. The elite linguistic personality has a different attitude to the world. The latter circumstance is of particular interest to linguoculturology and linguopersonology.

Purpose of the Study

The aim of the article is the study theoretical ideas about "linguistic personality" in modern linguistics, analyze literature on linguistic personality, study the semantic content of the linguistic term "linguistic personality", identify features of the phenomenon "linguistic personality", analyze conceptual foundations, types and models of linguistic personalities, define the concept “linguistic personality.

Research Methods

The following research methods were used: linguistic analysis and synthesis of scientific data on linguistic personality. The method is based on understanding language as the most important means of communication, recognition of the unity of the essential and the functional in language, as well as the relationship of such fundamental properties of language as systemicity, social and psychological nature, the historical nature of development.


The results of the study allow us to distinguish general principles.

From the point of view of the linguistic-cognitive approach, linguistic personality is one of the hypostases of the “speaking person” (along with “speech personality” and “discourse personality”). In this case, “... a speaking person considered primarily as a linguistic personality, is a carrier of knowledge and ideas”. A component of the cognitive picture of the world is a concept as a set of rules of the organization of elements of chaos of the picture of being determined by activities of the representatives of this linguistic and cultural community, enshrined in their national picture of the world and translated by means of language in their communication”. The study of concepts and their associations represented in the linguistic consciousness of the individual, the methods of discourse representation is a promising direction in the theory of linguistic personality.

Psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic approaches provide opportunities for studying speech behavior of linguistic personality in a particular communicative situation. In psycholinguistics, linguistic personality is a person considered from the point of view of his ability to perform speech actions – the product and understanding of utterances ( Sedov, 1999). “A study of the structure of discourse allows us to identify the peculiarity of speech behavior, and an idiostyle of a group of people” ( Sedov, 1999, p. 37). For a bilingual / polingual person, the problem of the individual's choice of language in various communication situations is of interest.

The linguoculturological approach to linguistic personality is popular. “Linguistic personality exists in the space of culture reflected in language, public consciousness, behavioral stereotypes and norms, material objects” ( Vorobyov, 2008, p. 126). To study linguistic personality, linguistic and cultural categories actualized in speech are used.

The linguodidactic approach is based on the idea of linguistic personality developing when implementing activity-communicative needs which finds application in the methodology of language teaching. Development of linguistic personality is carried out in the modern educational environment within the competency-based approach ( Salimova, 2014).

The current state of the Russian language subject to linguistic and extralinguistic factors, causes concern. This factor determines research interest in linguistic personology. Numerous studies indicate that linguistic personality with its cognitive abilities, communicative needs, speech activity is such a complex, multifaceted phenomenon which should be thoroughly analyzed. Studies of a person as a native speaker are in compliance with the anthropocentric paradigm of modern linguistics ( Fatkullina et al., 2018).

According to the competency-based approach to the study of the Russian language, linguistic personality of a native speaker of elite speech culture, or elite linguistic personality is a model for representatives of the linguistic community. The linguoculturological problem “Elite linguistic personality in science” is of particular interest.

There are two directions: 1) research papers on elite linguistic personality of scientists – representatives of humanities and natural sciences whose activities are recognized successful due to their comprehensive (linguistic, communicative, linguocultural) competence; 2) the study of individual personality characteristics of speech behavior of a researcher determining the effectiveness of his professional discourse. In this case, the observations have great potential for their practical application in the educational process in general and higher educational institutions aimed at implementing the competency-based approach.

The elite linguistic personality which is a research object of of linguists has an individual attitude to the world. This is of particular interest to linguoculturology and linguopersonology.

“Elitism” is defined as a high level of proficiency in speech culture. Elite speech culture is “the art of speech”, “reference speech culture, which means fluency in language, including its creative use” ( Goldin & Sirotinina, 1997). Representatives of elitist speech culture are “the true elite of society” ( Sirotinina, 2001), a small part of any language community. “As for the elitist culture, its representatives always make up a small share of society, but they set standards of linguistic consciousness and communicative behavior” ( Karasik, 2001, p. 53). “These are representatives of a fully functional type of speech culture” ( Sirotinina, 2001, p. 72).


An analysis of theoretical literature on linguistic personality identified complexity and multidimensionality of the phenomenon “linguistic personality”. The theory of linguistic personality is being developed using various research methods, considering individual aspects based on different objects for observation – from generalized (“linguocultural types”) to specific (personalities), from ordinary (standard) to creative (non-standard), from everyday to professional (specialized). All approaches are related to the possibility of creating a universal typology of linguistic personality that takes into account linguistic ability inherent in linguistic personality, that is, its mental-linguistic-psychological characteristics.


The study was financially supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, projects no. 20-012-00136.


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31 October 2020

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

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Fatkullina, F. G., Suleymanova, A. K., Salimova, L. M., Vorobiev, V. V., & Saiakhova, D. K. (2020). Linguistic Personality As A Key Concept Of Anthropolinguistics. 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. 1731-1737). European Publisher.