Conceptual Framework And Mentality As Postulates Of Cognitive Linguistics


The authors make an attempt to describe the nuclear and peripheral cognitive features of the interparticle lexical-semantic field of laughter. Despite the close relationship, the mentality and the conceptual framework are not identified, they are different substances and their analysis involves the use of different approaches and operation of different methods. The authors use psychological, cultural, and linguistic-cognitive methods to describe the conceptual framework. In the process of linguocognitive analysis, not only systemic, but also occasional and individual author's language tools are identified, since all of them form the nominative field of the concept and provide material for cognitive interpretation and structuring of the conceptual model. The article describes a structural method for organizing the interparticle lexical and semantic field of laughter, performed by the authors using a continuous sampling method, from the explanatory dictionary of the Russian language. It is noted that structure lexical-semantic field of laughter is complex because the core fields are key components of the core Lexic-semantic groups. It is emphasized that the nuclear and near-nuclear zones of the field include lexical units that are included in the active vocabulary of the language. The analysis shows that the concept of “laughter” is often used in the Russian linguistic view of the world. The study of the interparticle lexical and semantic field of laughter conducted by the authors confirms the great significance of everything related to laughter and its expression in the national language consciousness.

Keywords: Conceptual frameworkconcept "laughter"coreinterparticle lexical and semantic field of laughternational linguistic view of the worldperiphery


According to our opinion in cognitive linguistics, it is important to distinguish the concepts of mentality and conceptual sphere. We propose to interpret the first as a special way of the perception and comprehension of reality, characterized by a combination of cognitive stereotypes of consciousness that are characteristic of an individual person, social or ethnic group of people. In this perspective, we can talk about the mentality of an individual person, group or nation.

The first factor is explained by the second and third factors of a personal development – the level of education, culture, experience of interpreting the phenomena of reality, i.e., the group mentality fixes the specifics of its perception and comprehension by already defined associations of people – gender, age, professional, social, etc.It is known that the same events can be perceived differently and cause different reactions, for example, in men / women, children / adults, humanitarian / techies, rich / poor, etc., which explain the so-called mechanism of causal attribution, or cognitive stereotypes that dictate the attribution of certain causes to a particular event. In other words, the mentality of the group corresponds primarily with its attitudes, with the mechanisms of apperception acting in it.

Problem Statement

The national mentality broadcasts an appropriate way of perception and comprehension of reality, which is already determined by the totality of cognitive stereotypes of an ethnos. (Compare: the Americans think of a rich man as “rich means smart,” the Russians: “rich means thief.” The Americans perceive new as improved, the best, and the Russians consider it as untested). In addition, we note that the perception and comprehension of reality are similar, but not identical processes. Perception is the first stage of comprehension and its necessary condition.

The mentality of different peoples can “force” them to perceive the same subject situations differently, as if to “induce” the human senses to perceive one and ignore the other. (For example, subordination and discipline of Asian women are invariably fixed in the Russian mentality, and they do not notice the initiative of Russian women; on the contrary, Asian men primarily note the activity and even aggressiveness of Russian women, not noticing the passivity and humility of their ones).

The interpretation of the perception is also determined by the mentality (for example, a person with a European mentality interprets a caricature in a Chinese newspaper of a girl and a boy kissing on a bench as an image of depravity of youth, and the Chinese interpret it as a criticism of housing shortages).The mentality in the processes of thinking interacts with the conceptual sphere – the sphere of people's knowledge, which determines it to a certain extent, especially in the perception and comprehension of real world: mental entities that make up the ethnic conceptual sphere serve as the basis for the formation of cognitive stereotypes – conclusions about it.(For example, the concept of “avos” which means “maybe” in the Russian conceptual framework explains a mental stereotype of Russian consciousness, which allows improvidence in behavior). And vice versa, the stereotypes existing in the national mentality control the dynamics of the formation and development of concepts, dictate some assessments of phenomena and events fixed in them (Fatkullina, 2011).

Research Questions

However, despite such a close relation, the mentality and the conceptual sphere are different substances, and their analysis involves the use of different approaches and operation of different methods.Thus, the mentality of an ethnos, postponed in its character, manifested in its actions, behavior and formed under the influence of social conditions (economic, political, socio-political, natural, international, etc.) requires primarily ethno-cultural and ethno-psychological, rather than linguistic and similar receptions. The conceptual sphere as an information support of cognitive national and individual consciousness, which has the cognitive energy of a person (including its communicative practice) as the main source for structuring its concepts, requires psychological, cultural and linguo-cognitive methods (Fatkullina, 2020; Sakaeva et al., 2019).

As the basis of the cognitive view of the world, ensuring its systematicity, regulation, structure, the conceptual sphere of a person largely determines his comprehension of perceived reality, so its role in this sense can hardly be overestimated. However, it does not exhaust the entire cognitive view of the world: in addition to the totality of supporting mental signs, there are also mobile mechanisms of its cognition, perception stereotypes, etc.The concept is dispersed in the linguistic signs objectifying it. Therefore, the restoration of its structure requires the study of their entirety, where it is represented – vocabulary, phraseology, proverbs – in which reference images of a specific natural language are fixed (Pimenova, 2004).

Purpose of the Study

The whole linguistic continuum, objectifying / verbalizing / representing / shaping a concept in a given historical period is defined by us as its nominative field.In our opinion, it differs from the traditionally distinguished structural linguistic associations (lexico-semantic groups, lexical-semantic, lexico-phraseological, associative fields and synonymous groups) by its complexity.Including all of the above mentioned aspects and not acquiring the status of the next structural grouping in the language system, it is an interparticle aggregate of nominative units identified and ordered by the researcher. It is important to realize that the special linguistic tools that exist in the language system or formed in it for some period of time are intended for communicatively relevant concepts, that is, they are the subject of discussion, exchange of information, expression of attitude in society.

Research Methods

Concepts can have nominative fields of different volumes:some have an extensive, easily identifiable field that has many systematic means of designating and identifying attributes (for example, highly communicative relevant concepts such as man, woman, live, work, attitude, happiness etc.); others are distinguished by a limited nominative field, degrading synonymous series or their absence, hyperhyponymic nature: they are communicatively irrelevant for a wide range of people, usually reflect highly specialized, specific mental entities that are characteristic of a narrow circle of people ( little finger, earlobe, breed animals, etc .);the third lacks a systematically detectable nominative field: they possess only subjective, individually-authored, indirect, occasional nominations, descriptions of individual attributes, but not the whole concept (for example, there is the concept of newlyweds and its antonym, which means people who have been married for a long time;however, it communicatively irrelevant, although a number of occasional or situational nominations can be used for it – old-timers, spouses with experience, they have been married for more than a year, they are husband and wife with experience, spouses with extensive experience in family life, they have extensive family experience, etc. ).

The substantive conceptual field is characterized by fundamental heterogeneity, including both its direct nominations, forming the field core, and individual cognitive signs that reveal its content and attitude to it in different communicative situations that make up the periphery. (For example, the field core of the concept “ leader ” is formed by the substantives boss, chef , head, director, administrator, first person in power , etc.).The identification of nuclear and peripheral cognitive characteristics, as well as the analysis of the results of associative experiments for the same stimulus in groups of respondents of different nationalities who speak different languages, helps to identify the national, gender, social, age specificity of the corresponding concepts.

During the process of linguo-cognitive analysis, not only systemic, but also occasional and individually-authored language tools are identified, since they all form the nominative field of the concept and provide material for cognitive interpretation and structuring of the conceptual model.Here we use the distinction of three fundamentally different methods of linguistic objectification of the concept proposed by Karasik – designation, expression and description. The first method involves assigning a fragment of conceptualized reality a special sign, a name with a different degree of accuracy. Thus, if a native speaker wants to report that he has a toothache, he can specify his desire using the following notation for the subject: standard ( tooth ) – generalizing ( bone organ ) – qualifying ( fang ) – special qualifying ( lower left fang ).

Standard and qualifying notations belong to naive-language conceptualization, while generalizing and special qualifying notations determine a special circle of communication.In the field of non-object entities, designation consists in the determination of their qualities and processes and assignment of a nomination.For example, procrastination – is postponement to a later time, protraction (Karasik, 2004).The second way is expression. It includes the entire combination of verbal and non-verbal means that directly or indirectly illustrate, clarify and develop the content of the concept. The third way is description; it uses specific analytical procedures for interpreting the semantics of the name and the nearest family and is carried out by definition, etymological, contextual, paroemiological analysis, commenting, interviewing and questioning (Karasik, 2004).

All of these methods help to form a nominative field of the analyzed concept to the same extent. Concepts recorded by lexical and phraseological means are often called lexical or lexical-phraseological. However, in this case, it we should take into account that this name indicates only the method of verbalization of the concept, and not the fact that it is itself a word or phrase.


We turn to the structural organization of the interparticle lexico-semantic field of laughter (ILSFL). According to a continuous sample made from the dictionary of Ozhegov and Shvedova, it includes 461 lexical units, distributed in 35 lexical-semantic groups (LSG). The latter includes lexemes of different parts of speech: 21 groups of nouns, 7 groups of verbs, 5 groups of adjectives, 1 group of adverbs and 1 group of interjections. The materials of our card system contain 162 words, functioning in 1537 contexts selected from works of art of the XX–XXI centuries, newspaper and magazine periodicals for the period from 2001 to 2004.

The comparative analysis of the vocabulary and contextual lexical composition revealed a significant poverty of the latter in the number of nominative units, but superiority in the variety of their word forms, mainly due to derivational variants. For example, in the analyzed contexts there are verbs with the semantics of initiative that are not recorded in the lexicographic register: to gaggle, to neigh, to burst out laughing, to shake, to smile, to sneer, to giggle, to roar, to grunt etc. (Fefelova et al., 2018). The number of lexemes that are potentially included in ILSFL exceeds the given number by several times and probably cannot be accurately calculated due to their high word-formation initiative. Thus, almost all seventy adjectives of this field, combined into five LSGs, can serve as potential bases for the production of adverbs: simulated, sardonic, sarcastic, ironic etc.

The core of ILSFL is formed by the nominations of laughter, roar, to laugh, to roar, smile, grin, to smile, to grin, to sneer, nuclear seme in the meaning of which contains the concept of laugh, grammatically interpreted by different affiliation of parts of speech. These lexical units serve as the names of the corresponding lexical-semantic groups (ILSFL) in its composition. The nuclear and near-nuclear zones of the field contain lexical units included in the active vocabulary of the language that is, actively used by its modern speakers in real communication in all areas of social life. Their analysis confirms the high frequency of use, which indicates the high relevance of the concept of “laughter” in the Russian linguistic view of the world (Fefelova & Sagitova, 2019). In addition, their high relevance and linguistic and cultural significance is enhanced by high compatibility and derivational activity as well as the ability to generate numerous metaphorical formations.

The peripheral parts of these LSGs accordingly structure the periphery of the entire field. It includes vocabulary of the passive vocabulary of the language. This includes not only stylistically marked lexical units (gag, gagging, neigh, neighing, etc.), but also their whole grammar classes. For example, LSG are nominations of stage characters, in the image of which the comic component is actualized: harlequin, jester, clown, Punch, buffoon; LSG attributes that determine the nature of laughter, the strength of its manifestation – simulated, sardonic, sarcastic etc.

Most of ILSFL lexical units are differentiated by the nature of the sound made by the subject, facial expressions or personality characteristics. Therefore, this field structure reveals zones of intersection with other lexical-semantic fields of the Russian language. First of all, it closely interacts with LSG of emotions, LSG of sound designations and LSG of gestures; related relations were also identified with the LSG of intersubjective relations (grateful, flattering, obsequious, stinging laughter, etc.), LSG of the physical condition of a person. In the last case, for example, phrases with the meaning of a painful or close to this state of a subject are frequent.

Compare: healthy laughter – unhealthy, spasmodic, convulsive, nervous laughter; dye of laughter, sour of laughter etc.

The differentiation of distinguished lexical and semantic groups on the basis of various overlapping criteria in the composition of studied LSG, as well as its external relations with other fields of the Russian language, is possible due to the presence of differential semantic components in the value of its constituent units and their syntagmatic potential. During the analysis, we confirmed the assumption that the ethnic specificity of the members of ILSFL of the Russian language is especially intensively manifested at its paradigmatic level – “semiotic density”, expressed in a large number of LSG, synonymic groups (for example, one dominant to laugh includes 39 (!) units).

The research of the syntagmatic connections of the nuclear nomination of laughter allowed finding communicative phrases distributed according to the following criteria: 1) according to the characteristics of a subject according to social characteristics: a) by age (children's, old laughter), by gender (female, boyish laughter); b) by intersubjective relations (grateful, understanding, compelled, caustic, obsequious, flattering laughter); 2) according to linguistic-cultural specificity, for example, in marked artificiality of laughter and smile (forced, tortured, prepared, icy smile); an artificial smile is nominated by a special complex substance – a movie smile.

On the word-formation layer, it manifests itself in the presence of extensive derivational family of words (for example, in the word laughter it consists of 107 derivatives), which, of course, indicates the high pragmatic significance of the analyzed units for native speakers.Metaphorical phrases with the name-lexical unit of the concept of “ laughter ” reveal a figurative component with figurative meanings of a disease, military sphere, taste, liquid, material and living being.These conceptual features are common to some of language realizations of the concept of “laughter”.The figurative as well as significant components of the concept word “laughter” are marked by linguistic and ethnosemantic specifics. In the Russian linguistic view of the world, the linguistic-cultural concept “laughter” is correlated with such concept words as life, sin, tears, grief .


The study of the interparticular lexical-semantic field of laughter allowed proving the great importance of everything that is associated with laughter and its manifestations in modern Russian language consciousness.A significant amount of language tools that serve as “inputs” to the linguistic and cultural concept “Laughter”, high frequency in real speech practice, derivational and syntagmatic activity and the ability to metaphorically function form the evidence of the importance of linguistic and cultural concept “laughter” for the Russian national linguistic view.


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


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27 February 2021

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National interest, national identity, national security, public organizations, linguocultural identity, linguistic worldview

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Fefelova, G. G., Fatkullina, F. G., Sagitova, A. F., & Khairullina, R. K. (2021). Conceptual Framework And Mentality As Postulates Of Cognitive Linguistics. In & I. Savchenko (Ed.), National Interest, National Identity and National Security, vol 102. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 249-255). European Publisher.