Transnational Cognitive Units As Attractive Signs Of The Media Dialogue


The goal of this article is to uncover the role of transnational mediatization structures in the national media world view as indicators of the ongoing dialogue in an open global media space and the impact of globalization media processes on national media processes. Identification of the composition and analysis of cognitive units is carried out on the basis of content analysis, provisions of the concept of differentiation of the cognitive status of signs, the concept of attractiveness of a sign in communication, ways of introducing a foreign sign into the language as ethnocognitive semiotics. Characteristics of the use of transnational cognitive units in South Korean media texts are presented according to the content analysis of the selected transnational cognitive units of the Korean language in relation to the original transnational cognitive units using Russian and English language characters.The cognitive status of transnational structures that is based on the principle of differences in communicating consciousnesses as a condition for a dialogical interpretation of information is determined. It is concluded that structures of this type are attractors that are vehicles of new knowledge which enrich the national media world view in hybridization processes by identities, inclusion or connection.

Keywords: Cognitive unitsmedia world viewmediatization


The condition for dialogue as an information exchange is the difference of communicating consciousnesses – interpreters of messages, and its consequence may be enriching interaction if the information sharing does not take the form of a unilateral imposition of meaning. The difference is formed by different histories of the life world, different experience of cognition and communication, and, as a result, different world views in individual, personal and collective dimensions. In this regard, the major area of interest is the study of the media world view in a modern information society which characterized by openness to linked environments, networked media distribution, as well as cultural, communicative, economic and other types of permeability and inclusion in globalization processes, the objects of which are individuals, so are ethnocultures. Globalization processes create new conditions for national languages and cultures (Korobeinikova, 2018). Globalization in the general sense is considered as the intensification of large-scale ties between people and countries, leading to the formation of a diverse global space (Gustafsson & Polynczuk-Alenius, 2018; Hellwig, 2017; Odegova, 2017). The impact of globalization media processes on national media processes assumes the form of a media dialogue in which the difference between the ethno-national and transcultural nature of interacting entities is manifested. The media dialogue of cultures in the 21st century, understood as the socio-political linguocultural process in mass media, is the realization of a media text in various aspects and gives rise to its own communicative space, in which communicative linguocultural and sublinguocultural discourses are realized (Zheltukhina et al., 2017). In particular, the significant problem is the frequency and constructive potential of transnational elements and structures as signs of the ongoing media dialogue in the national media world view. The transnational elements of medialization and elements of media texts, differing in semiotics, attract the attention of interpreters, refer to relevant information, and involve a public addressee in the attractive areas of the modern world, causing an experience of risk, danger, interest in the development of innovative, fashionable, prestigious information. In this regard, there’s a question of the communicative-cognitive status of this type of signs in the formation of the media world view as one of the sources of knowledge, opinion and evaluation.

The media world view is considered as one of the most important for modern society and is understood as a world view which is formed in the processes of medialization of information by modern mass media and, accordingly, by its perception and assimilation by a public addressee. The transmitted information not only forms ideas about what is happening and certain knowledge structures for the public addressee, but also generates evaluation and opinion, which helps to structure a holistic view of a fragment of the world (Alawad & Kambal, 2019; Fast, 2017). The formation of the media world view is a dynamic process. The mediatization of information is considered in a constructive way as a process of informing that has a cognitive-communicative nature and guides the processes of its perception and assimilation by a social addressee, creating a media discursive and communicative space. The role of language medialization is not only that it is a vehicle of information (Jansson, 2015), but also, at the same time, a means of implicating associative meanings, a method of constructing media reality and its explication based on discursive rules and attitudes for processing, mastering and assignment, that is cognitive-evaluative introduction of new knowledge into the existing system of worldview, understanding of the world, the image of the world.

We take as a unit of mediatization its structural component - the media sign - the cognitive unit as a carrier of a certain ‘quantum’ of knowledge, opinion and assessment about the situation, event, fact, person in the message and, as a result, the operator of forming the media world view (Rogozina, 2003). Cognitive unit can be represented in the discourse by language entities of different status (Vikoulova et al., 2016).

Among the media language cognitives, ‘transnational’ signs of mediatization are distinguished, they’re defined in correlation with the ethnocognitive national elements of the language and, in general, the ethnocognitive linguistic world view. Using the qualifying definition of ‘transnational’ signs, we emphasize their special status in the national media space as ‘foreign elements’, the origin and active functioning of which belongs to the field of transnational media that form the ‘global media space’ (Korobeinokova, 2018). We consider a transnational cognitive unit (hereinafter TCU) as an element of national media discourse connected by the relation of origin and equivalence with a source in the global media space — an interdiscourse of the transnational sphere of functioning. Primarily, the element of ‘global English’, the American English, acts as the initial element of TCUs (Odegova, 2017). From the point of view of contact linguistics and the theory of intercultural communication, transnational signs can be interpreted as ‘interculturemas’ - semiotic markers of contact between languages and cultures. From the point of view of the actual media, these signs are indicators of contact with the global interdiscourse in the framework of ongoing media dialogue. ‘Interdiscourse’ refers to a set of overlapping, interconnected discursive formations, to which this discourse refers explicitly or implicitly (Maingueneau, 2009). The category of inter-discursiveness stands next to the category of intertextuality and characterizes the media text in terms of its openness, permeability and inclusion in global media processes. The concept of the ‘transnational" component of media discourse is thus connected with the modern processes of borrowing, neologization and is close to the concept of ‘internationalism’, but broader, including not only nominative aspects, but also the cognitive-communicative ones functioning parameters in the media dialogue. According to the criteria of the coincidence of the external form, meanings, expression of concepts of an international nature and functioning in different languages, primarily in genetically unrelated languages, the structural and functional status of TCUs is close to the concept of internationalism, but highlights its role in the construction of national media world view.

Problem Statement

The study of the constructive potential of transnational cognitive units as signs of a media dialogue and sources of the formation of a national media world view is associated with approaches to determining the essence of the relationship between ethnonational and transnational as phenomena that are different in nature. On the one hand, the correlation can be considered as the dominance of the global over the ethno-cognitive, national, leading to uniformity and unification. On the other hand, correlation is interpreted as an interaction leading to the formation of transculture based on diversity, the existence of unity in the multitude. In a linguocultural context, the conception of globalism insists on the homogenization, assimilation of languages and cultures through American English. The conception of transculture captures attention on the spontaneous processes of hybridization taking place in a virtual-real space formed by modern mass media and information computer technologies. Emphasizing the intensification of the interaction of global and local, hybridization reflects a tendency to describe globalization in the form of glocalization, and therefore the processes of homogenization are denied in favor of hybridization. In the framework of hybridization, interaction is considered as a complex process of appropriating global ones in the form of adaptation of elements of the ‘global media space’, or in the form of some replacement of ethnocultural language elements by them. Moreover, the processes of hybridization are most clearly manifested in the case of semantic shifts, indicating the intensity of interpretative processes in the representation of knowledge.

Research Questions

The study of the constructive potential of TCU is connected with the question of how and to what extent TCUs as signs of a media dialogue in the processes of globalization and ‘hybridization’ assignment influence enrichment and updating in the process of forming a national media world view. In this regard, the study of ways of the media dialogue implementation and the levels of hybridization of TCUs are topical.

Purpose of the Study

The objective of the analysis is to establish the representation of transnational signs in the South Korean media space, to clarify their cognitive status and ways of implementing the media dialogue. Areas of ecology and fashion as fragments of the media world view were chosen for analysis due to their openness to the global space in terms of their thematic constants, which have a global character and significant global interdiscourse. The Korean language of the South Korean media space is of particular interest in terms of the interaction of typologically different languages.

Research Methods

In line with the cognitive-communicative approach to the analysis of media discourse the following methods are used to solve the tasks: observation, description, comparison; ethnosemiometry of signs, conceptual analysis, structural-semantic analysis, modeling. Identification of the composition and analysis of cognitive units is carried out on the basis of content analysis (Cherniavskaia, 2017); provisions of the concept of differentiation of the cognitive status of signs (Kaplunenko, 2012), the concept of attractiveness of a sign in communication (Serebrennikova, 2013); ways of introducing a foreign sign into the language as ethnocognitive semiotics (Dalheeva, 2009).


According to the content analysis, the composition of the main thematic constants of media texts in the environmental sphere is 198 units, 66 of which were TCUs. It shows the significance and sufficient representation of this type of cognitive units. Table 1 shows the results of the contest analysis.

Table 1 -
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According to the content analysis of the selected TCUs of the Korean language in relation to the original TCUs using Russian language characters, the use of TCUs in South Korean media texts is characterized by semantic shifts (Table 2 ).

Table 2 -
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Let us clarify the cognitive status of transnational cognitive units, based on the provisions of Kaplunenko (2012) who considers the differentiation of language structures as carriers of variously structured knowledge: notions, concepts, terms. From the point of view of cognitive status among TCUs of our body of texts and taking into account the particular use of them the following TCUs are allocated:

1. Carriers of stable, general ‘knowledge’ shared by society which are used as unchanged, reproducible constants of discourse that do not require clarification or additional explanation in the context of use: 환경관련된프로그램 [hwangyeong gwallyeon peurogeuraem] – ‘environmental programs’; 시민단체 [simindanche] – ‘Civil Charity Society’; 환경보호 [hwangyeongboho] – ‘environment protection’.

These cognitive units can be characterized as stable, clear ‘concepts’ that nominate significant phenomena, modes of action, actors of vital to society spheres, serving as a conventional thematic support in mediatization.

2. Less frequent cognitive units – carriers of fairly stable knowledge, but suggesting in-depth knowledge of the denotative, procedural and phenomenological type in environmental terms: 태양광발전소는친환경에너지개발에도앞장서고있는인공건축물이다 [Taeyanggwang baljeonsoneun chinhwangyeong eneoji gaebaredo apjangseogo inneun ingonggeonchungmurida] – ‘A solar power plant is an artificial structure that serves to generate clean energy’; 자연환경자산이란?환경적으로보호해야할가치가있는자산을의미하는단어입니다. 예를들어,멸종위기에처한동물및식물이자연환경자산에포함됩니다 [Jayeonhwangyeongjasaniran? hwangyeongjeogeuro bohohaeya hal gachiga inneun jasaneul uimihaneun daneoimnida. yereuldeureo, myeoljongwigie cheohan dongmulmin singmuri jayeonhwangyeongjasane pohamdoemnida]– ‘What are environmental resources? Ecological resources are objects of environmental protection. For example, endangered species of animals and plants’.

These cognitive units can also be defined as ‘concepts’, nominating phenomena that, due to the urgency of the environmental crisis problem, become a part of a social knowledge about the essence of the processes and take part in the formation of this fragment of the world view.

3. Special TCUs of expert origin; accompanied by a brief or descriptive explanation: 비스페놀-A [Biseupenol-A] – ‘Bisphenol A’, 대기환경보전법 [Daegihwangyeongbojeonbeop] – ‘Air pollution prevention law’.

These cognitive units can be attributed to the ‘terms’ that convey unambiguous, scientifically established parameters of the object, representing special expert knowledge in the media space which is introduced for the public addressee.

At the same time, there’re cognitive units in the form of predicative constructions in the semantics of them the ‘attitude to the environment’ aspect is presented. In the composition, this aspect is mediatized through an evaluation component, the support of which is TCUs in the ‘concept’ status.

For instance, 기업의 환경 오염 불감증이 심각한 것으로 나타났습니다 [Gieobui hwangyeong oyeom bulgamjeungi simgakang koseuro natanatseumnida] ‘This demonstrates how strong the indifference of enterprises to the environment is’; 한국인,일본과중국인보다환경오염 민감 [Hangugin, ilbongwa jungguginboda hwangyeong oyeom mingam] – ‘Korea is more worried about pollution than China and Japan’; 그 간제품 판매에만 힘을 쏟았던 기업들 역시 더불어 살기 위한 방법을 고민하고 있습니다. …. 지속 가능한 환경을 어떻게 만들어 나갈 것인가 를 고 민하던 중에 … [Geu ganjepum panmaeeman himeul ssodatdeon gieopdeul yeoksi deobureo salgi wihan bangbeobeul gominhago itseumnida… jisong ganeunghan hwangyeongeul eotteoke mandeureo nagal geosinga reulgo minhadeon junge] - ‘Enterprises that previously focused only on selling their products are now preoccupied with finding ways to ‘live on’ ‘...’ worrying about how to save the environment …’.

In the first example the noun 불감증 [ bulgamjeung is used to express the attitude of enterprises to the environment. It means ‘insensibility’, ‘coldness’. In the second example, the noun 민감 [ mingam ] is used to express the attitude to the environment situation, which means ‘sensitivity’, ‘delicacy’, ‘ticklishness’, ‘sensitivity’, ‘susceptibility’. Both nouns have a common Sinocorean root 민[ min ], meaning ‘understanding’, ‘awareness’, ‘feeling’, ‘sensation’, ‘impression’. In the third example, a verb with evaluative semantics 고민하다 [kominhada]- ‘torment’, ‘suffer’, ‘torment’, ‘worry’ is used to express the attitude of enterprises to the environmental situation. The presented examples show that the media representation of ‘attitude to environment’ has the character of an actively developing conceptual field. The corresponding cognitive unit can be characterized as an appropriately loaded ‘concept’.

Moreover, the interpretative nature of conceptualization is clearly evaluative. The referent of the sphere of the environment, which denotatively becomes the topic of discourse, is conceptualized in terms of the direct impact on the human sphere, its influence on the personal space of a person. Anthropocentric metaphorization in the ongoing conceptualization is evidenced by internal forms, such as, for example, TCUs:

  • 오염[oyem] – ‘pollution', 'infection';

  • 재생 [chaesaeng]– ‘garbage processing plant, a company that promotes rebirth, revival’;

  • 몸살 [momsal] – ‘excess garbage - overwork from garbage’;

  • 쓰레기몸살앓다 [sseuregi momsar alta]– ‘drown in rubbish - suffer from overwork of rubbish’;

  • 기업의환경오염불감증 [gieobui hwangyeong oyeom bulgamjeung] – ‘indifference of enterprises to environmental problems – insensibility’.

Let us analyze the relationship between transnational cognitive units and conceptually related structures of the host linguistic culture, based on the provisions on the conceptual nature of the ongoing interaction (Dalheeva, 2009). In terms of the relationship between TCUs and ethno-cognitive units, two types of relationships can be distinguished:

1. Relationships of identity. Some foreign and ethno-lexemes coexist simultaneously, compete in the linguistic space, however, when mediatizing the content of the fashion area, a foreign lexical item is most often chosen: 아이템 [aitem] ‘item’, 클래식한 [keullaesikan] ‘classical’, 하트 [hateu] ‘heart’, 모티프 [motipeu] ‘motif’, 박스 [paksu] ‘box’, 힐 [hil] ‘heel’, 컬러 [keolleo] ‘color’, 플라워 [peullawo] ‘flower’,화이트컬러 [hwaiteukeolleo ]‘white color’.

2. The relationship of inclusion. Lexical items are cases of paraconceptual borrowing. In this case, the TCUsare connected to a wider and more dominant conceptual system in ethnic culture. These language units are recorded in some dictionaries and do not have conceptually related structures in South Korean linguistic culture.Ethno-cognitive structures did not enter into "competition" with the given TCUs in the texts we analyzed :

다트 [dateu] – ‘darts’, 브로치 [beurochi] – ‘brooch’, 로맨틱룩 [romaentingnuk] – ‘romanticlook’, 셔츠 [syechu] – ‘short’, 오버사이즈 [opesaicu] – ‘oversize’, 컬렉션 [keolleksyeon] – ‘collection’, 서커스 [sekhesu]– ‘circus’.

The sphere of fashion is much more saturated with TCUs than the sphere of ecology. According to the conducted content analysis, the number of transnational elements in the mediatization of the fashion domain can reach 60 percent of all signs in the text. The frequency of use of transnational elements in this particular area of the media world view can be explained by its maximum openness to global information flows and the prevalence of recognized world fashion centers in it, which profile standards, ideas and models. The main way of representing TCUs is transcription:

레이스 [leyisu] – ‘lace’, 웨딩스토리 [wedingseutori] – ‘wedding story’,메이크업 [meikeueop] – ‘makeup’, 뷰티 [byuti] – ‘beauty’, 패션위크 [paesyeonwikeu] – ‘fashionweek’, 디톡스 [ditokseu] – ‘detox’, 크리스털 [khulisuthel] – ‘crystal’ .

This fact may indicate that the hybridization of TCUs has clear features. In the TCU series of this area, two predominant types are observed. First of all, TCUs stand out as carriers of ordinary, general knowledge, the cognitive status of which is defined as a ‘concept’, and identity is the way they are introduced and function in the ethnocognitive media space.

TCUs of this type are introduced into texts that are fully compiled in Korean, without any adaptation, and are not accompanied by clarifications, commentaries, or translations in the texts. Thus, TCUs proper names, names of fashion houses, names of designers, names of brands of clothes, shoes, jewelry: Balenciaga, Valentino Garavani, Jimmy Choo, Net-A-Porter, Valentino, NSW, Fendi, Manolo Blahnik, Prada, Hermes , etc. are used; The signs of the global English language are used in the names of sections of the official websites of fashion magazines, which reveals their attractiveness for the public addressee in a pragmatic way. So, the official website of the Korean version of Elle magazine contains sections: Fashion, Beauty, Star, Culture, Love & Life, etc. Media texts thematically related to the subject field of fashion can have two headings, the first of which was written in English, and the second in Korean. However, the heading in Korean is not a translation of the heading in English:

‘Dear my Lover’/ 내가나에게주는화이트데이선물 [naega naege juneun hwaiteu deis eonmul] – ‘The gift that I will give you on Valentine’s Day; Touch of lace / 화이트데이에어울리는로맨틱룩 [hwaiteudeie eoullineun romaentik ruk] –A romantic look for Valentine’s Day; Just do it, it’s your time 나이키를인정할수밖에없는이유 [naikireul injeonghal su bakke eomneun iyu] – ‘The reason we can’t help but agree with Nike’; The magic show/ 디올이서커스열었다 [tioli sekhesu yelessta] – ‘Circus on the Dior podium’.

There is a type of TCUs that is distinguished in the status of ‘term’, which are a ‘quantum’ of a professional, most often technical plan, but as neologisms differ because they are designed to be perceived in the form in which they are represented, without suggesting evaluative conceptualization. This method of introducing TCUs into the national media space can be described as connecting: 세럼 [sereom] – ‘serum’; 백스테이지 [baekseuteij]– ‘backstage’; 쿠션 [kusyeon] – ‘cushion’, etc.


The conducted analysis allows us to conclude that transnational elements play a significant role in the formation of the national South Korean media world view as signs of a media dialogue in the context of differences in host ethnic culture and global transculture. The media dialogue is enriching in nature, but is implemented in two nonequilibrium processes, which is manifested in the analysis of the subject areas of ecology and fashion. In the ecology sphere, mediatization with a TCU component is implemented in the form of hybridization. In this case, TCUs have different cognitive status of a term or concept. TCUs are carriers of knowledge in the global transnational space, acting as concepts for meaning thematic constants and thereby forming a verbally-cognitive landscape (Appadurai, 1996) of a fragment of the world view. In news reports, on the basis of a multinational corporation of a conceptual plan, knowledge is updated and contextualized. TCUs serve as reference signs for the formation of conceptual areas of the world view, the manifestation of which is a metaphorization of the anthropocentric nature of processes, phenomena, objects of the referenced discourse area, which reflects orientation to value meanings. In the subject area of fashion, the cognitive status of TCUs is limited mainly by the status of the term concepta carrier of special and reference knowledge for the host linguistic culture generated in the linguistic culture source of this concept. Upon entering the South Korean linguistic culture, TCUs, the source of which is global English, enter into relations of identity, inclusion, connection with ethno-cognitive structures.


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20 November 2020

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Sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, bilingualism, multilingualism

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Serebrennikova, E. F., Salangina, E. S., & Orsoeva, A. A. (2020). Transnational Cognitive Units As Attractive Signs Of The Media Dialogue. In Е. Tareva, & T. N. Bokova (Eds.), Dialogue of Cultures - Culture of Dialogue: from Conflicting to Understanding, vol 95. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 881-890). European Publisher.