The Post-Pandemic Values In Global Culture And Language


The paper is a complex multidisciplinary study of a new axiological worldview that evolves in terms of COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 in global culture and language. The shift people face due to the new pandemic reality make them change their lifestyle and even the way of thinking. The study deals with the values that provide the change in axiological sphere and human behavior strategies. The aim is to outline the set of preferential values that form a new global axiological worldview by means of cultural linguistic methodology, i.e. concept analysis and Personal Vocabulary Dictionary method. It results in concept description from the point of view of meaning, and value set outline based on vocabulary used to value foregrounding. All the values in subject turn to be extremely significant in global discourse and shape the actual worldview, ways and modes of behavior, Thus the study of preferential values appears to be essential in a post-pandemic world reality.

Keywords: Axiologyconceptglobalizationpandemicvaluesworldview


The coronavirus pandemic has become the biggest crisis that has deeply changed the familiar world. An event that almost instantly stopped most of the global processes and influenced the majority of human beings. The everyday lifestyle and the common worldview ceased to correspond to the new reality.

The worldview and everyday uncertainty turned to be the most frequent idea spreading among people nowadays. What are the new life guidelines, top values and attitudes we are going to share after the COVID-19 pandemic? Would the choice we make now affect our future or would it pass by like a storm? The answer is to be found in billions of media and the Internet texts conveying the concept COVID-19. The very idea of concept overwhelming quantity foregrounding captures the global significance of the phenomenon. The pandemic made the world to face new reality and provided a new axiological worldview that reported a number of linguistic manifestations. The new hierarchy of values require some special ways to adapt and cause changes in behaviour, that will soon turn into habits, into a lifestyle.

The anthropocentric shift of modern humanities knowledge allowed values – traditionally studied by axiology – to become a subject matter of different cross-subject disciplines. Axiological linguistics is one of such disciplines. It explores values based on linguistic data and refers them as being ideals and priorities of human activities, characterize the inner world of a personality and particular features of national and cultural world outlook fixed and reflected in the language (Zerkina et al., 2015). The paper considers the global values as opposed to the cultural or personal ones as far as they determine the behavior and the way of thinking all over the world. This makes us speculate on the sociology-based idea that values are derived from the conditions of existence of the community and the needs of the community in their own reproduction and stable development (Kotlyarova et al., 2015). This turns to be extremely significant in post-COVID-19 reality.

Taking into account a multidisciplinary character of phenomenon under investigation, the research, as linguocultural in fact is based on the ideas and principles of axiological linguistics. The preferential post-pandemic values are to be identified via the “language of value” (Kotlyarova et al., 2015), via their connection with new concepts (as stated in our previous paper: Evsyukova & Glukhova, 2020) the phenomena of mental sphere with value being core elements.

That comes closely to the notion of evaluation which is one of the fairest value recognition criteria. Evaluation in this paper regards to a linguistic reflection of an attitude to reality facts in human mind based on his interests and needs. The attitude could be expressed by means of language levels’ elements (lexis, grammar, phonetics, syntax, phraseology). Evaluation is a cognitive process of object positive or negative assessment that ties up verbal and non-verbal behaviour of a person or a society. The process is based on several invariants revealed by means of linguistic analysis: the object (something in the outer world being evaluated), the subject (a person or a society), the basis (the feature under assessment) and the character (valuable or invaluable, significant or insignificant).

Problem Statement

The problem of preferencial value set identification seems to be one of the most crucial in post-pandemic world uncertainty overcome. Value, aim, appraisal, significance – are the categories that are human in their nature and exist whether they are conscious or not. The paper considers the great axiological shift caused by COVID-19 pandemic that resulted in changes in hierarchy structure of values shared by global community. The process is witnessed by conceptual level of national languages revealed mainly with the help of lexis.

The commentary is based on the theory of concept studies (Maslova, 2001; Karaulov & Filippovich, 2009; Stepanov, 2004; Vezhbickaja, 2001; Vorkachev, 2002) and basic human values (Schwartz, 1992) followed by the personal value dictionary investigation by group of modern linguists and psychologists in order to find out value orientations in textual data (Ponizovskiy et al., 2020), which is used for Covid-19 related texts analysis in this paper. The question of values in post-pandemic world is discussed by sociologists (Wolf et al., 2020).

Research Questions

The study aims to consider the set of prior global values in a post-pandemic worldview based on values verbal expression study. The application of Schwartz’s model of values (Schwartz, 1992) to the process of COVID-related concept analysis poses the following questions:

  • which values of the stated model are represented in post-pandemic worldview;

  • which of the new concepts transmit values;

  • which of identified values are considered to be the global ones;

  • what language material foregrounds these values?

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to identify and interpret a number of emerging values that form a post-pandemic worldview and reveal the language data that references the corresponding values via conceptual and vocabulary analysis.

Research Methods

The study is based on humanitarian-heuristic methods: explanatory description, generalization, taxonomic method, the method of characterizing entities and conceptual analysis.

The process of value investigation comprises several stages.

The first stage deals with the list of pandemic-related concepts (Evsyukova & Glukhova, 2020) that are cross-referred to Schwartz basic values (Schwartz et al., 2012) in order to identify similar facets.

The second stage applies the Personal Value Dictionary (Ponizovskiy et al., 2020) data to examine COVID -19 related texts that result in a number of lexical materials maintaining the basic values links.

The final stage integrates the previous steps coverage and provides the set of post-pandemic values.

The research conveyed such COVID-related materials as articles on philosophy, sociology, economy, letters to editors (Castells, 2020; Tasende, 2020), the interviews etc.


Our study is based on the idea that text is a text is a behaviour performed by its author and that references to values in text are behavioural expressions of corresponding values (Ponizovskiy et al., 2020). Thus, the values of post-pandemic era should also be found in texts speculating on the topic. Such kind of texts exploit a number of words and utterances that invoke values under investigation. The modern theories (Boyd et al., 2019; Tausczik & Pennebaker, 2010) prove: “values that are held more important to the author are referred to more often”.

The post-pandemic concepts

As stated in our previous paper (Evsyukova & Glukhova, 2020) the pandemic gave birth to a number of concepts like COVID-19, lockdown, quarantine, WFH (work from home), social distancing. The concepts stated were outlined due to the concept analysis of COVID associations and reactions, the internal form of the concepts, metaphorical links, collocations and modernisms.

The concept is an axiological phenomenon in its nature i.e. the value is a concept structure core element. The purpose of this investigation stage is to cross-refer pandemic concepts to Schwartz’s basic values.

Schwartz (1992) originally worked out a set of 10 basic human values recognizable in all cultures and societies. Later, in 2012 (Schwartz et al., 2012) the set was revised and added by 9 more values as seen in Figure 01 .

Figure 1: Schwartz set of basic human values
Schwartz set of basic human values
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The study showed that the concept lockdown deals with the security and conformity values, as it is invoked by such verbal units as governmental authorities, restrictions, essential to public health and safety etc.

The concept WFH applies to personal-focus values and hovers the hedonism and achievement values in some way ( I’ve got much more to work now, need more time to prepare my work, 24 hours in front of the computer screen etc.)

Wolf et al. (2020) in the research state that shared values like responsibility (that is one of self-transcendence values in Schwartz set) and security (a conservation value) could contain the pandemic. In terms of our study responsibility correlates with social distancing concept and security – to lockdown.

It should also be mentioned that the concept social distancing being a global one still has some cultural differences. That can be illustrated by Figure 02 .

Figure 2: The differences in social distancing around the world
The differences in social distancing around the world
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Languages also change in post-pandemic reality. The Spanish language, for example, experiences the confusion of terms dealing with the concept. Thus, distanciamiento social refers to marginalization while distanciamiento físico refers to social distancing. But it is the first term that is used in pandemic social distancing context: Un estudio aconseja aumentar el distanciamiento social (instead of distanciamiento físic) o hacer deporte. The global concept social distancing influences the national languages that results in a vocabulary shift and new meaning appearance in the semantic structure of the phrase.

Personal Value Dictionary in post-pandemic values identification

The Personal Value Dictionary (PVD) is a tool for basic human values spotting in texts. The PVD, a project of Ponizovskiy et al. (2020) and his team, explores the idea of highlighting the values by means of value-related words. The project resulted in lists of words corresponding to each of 19 Schwartz basic human values. Despite the PVD is supposed to study a value worldview of a person the commentary admits, as soon as a person always shares the majority of values with the society, the general COVID attitude could be expressed via individual matter.

The concept-value investigation showed the most preferred post-pandemic values (security, conformity and self-transcendence values). The lists of words corresponding to the values can be seen in Table 01 .

Table 1 -
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The English COVID-related texts’ analysis by means of PVD showed a high frequency of the vocabulary above. Those that were mentioned at least twice are in bold in Table 01 . The research shows the significance of values outlined at previous stage need some explanation.

As far as the self-transcendence value is a general notion for such values as Universalism, Caring, Benevolence and Dependability it should be pointed out that the most essential and elaborated in post-pandemic reality is Benevolence. The value, according to the authors (Schwartz et al., 2012), suggests “three caring items (helpful/working for others welfare, honest/genuine, forgiving/willing to pardon)” of which the first item is largely presented in texts under consideration.

The conformity presents the bulk of words, which turn to be most frequent in texts. Conformity in terms of COVID reality suggests compliance and being obedient or meet obligations, do what is told, follow rules. The role of authorities that impose the rules, decrees and guidelines is extremely high.

All the values discussed above come close to the security, that in this context appeals much to a personal security (Schwartz et al., 2012; Schwartz, 2017). It is important to be healthy, not sick, to feel someone is caring about you, be vigilant against threats, avoid danger, diseases, threats. The value is highly health clustered nowadays. The Table 02 shows the frequency of vocabulary used by people in pandemic-related texts.

Table 2 -
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The figures above show the preference of security value in texts dealing with COVID-19 pandemic.

The axiological code of post-pandemic reality

The final part of our study supposes the integration of data gained into a post-pandemic value set. Such sets of values could be called axiological codes. The axiological code is a set of axiological attitudes associated with a particular object or phenomenon of objective reality (Evsyukova et al., 2018). Where the phenomenon of reality under investigation is pandemic and the set of attitudes is a set of values headed by the dominant ones that determine the global behavior.

One of the most efficient ways of value tracking is language. The PVD method used in the paper allows to register and count the vocabulary that refers to a value.

The dominant value is security, followed by conformity and benevolence (in this context meaning being helpful for the sake of others). The code gives a proper guideline for the humanity that should be complied for the future welfare. It deals with the cross-cultural agreement on their importance for tackling the crisis. Thus, the new axiological code is: security, conformity, benevolence.


The study held reveals the main attitudes of the community in post pandemic world of 2020. It represents a set of values as the attitudes and behavioral patterns that determine the worldview. This set consists of three preferential values like security, conformity, benevolence, with security being a dominant one. The paper deals with the three values as far as they cross-refer to the list of concepts outlined earlier (COVID-19, lockdown, quarantine, WFH (work from home), social distancing) that transmit values and to the values of Schwarz set. The same analysis could also be done based on some other value classifications.

We consider the outlined axiological code to be global and universal as the research deals mostly with English language material and English is a global language that dominates even in national languages causing semantic shifts (as it was discussed above). We sometimes referred to Russian and Spanish and it seems that deeper study of other languages could give a more profound view to the phenomenon. Unfortunately, the PVD exists only for English that makes impossible to use it for other languages. Still, that could be a good investigation prospect along with the value set comparison in national languages.


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Evsyukova, T., & Glukhova, O. (2020). The Post-Pandemic Values In Global Culture And Language. In O. D. Shipunova, & D. S. Bylieva (Eds.), Professional Culture of the Specialist of the Future & Communicative Strategies of Information Society, vol 98. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 692-700). European Publisher.