Apperceptive Nomination In Literary Text


The text examines the functioning of apperceptive nomination as a cognitive-semantic generation of a literary text, which is actualized by extralinguistic and linguistic factors and reflects subjective reality. In a literary text, apperceptive nomination is motivated by such extralinguistic factors as memory and associative perception. The nominative function in a literary text reveals the dynamics of creative perception and, through apperception, reveals the inner world of the author’s worldview. The cognitive approach to the description of a literary text allows us to consider it as a form of representation of figurative cognition, a way of origin, development and improvement of one’s knowledge about the world and themselves. The triad of reality, memory and apperception form the generating topics of value-semantic registers of a literary text, since reality is recorded in memory not as a repeated reproduction, but a sensual transformation of one’s own acquired experience. Apperceptive nomination focuses the author’s experience of the lived reality preserved in the memory and activates the reader’s sensory perception, which allows using subjective experience and emerging associations not only to interpret, but also to perceive the semantic registers of a literary text. The central concept and generative stimulus for generating an apperceptive nomination is the author’s “I”, with the help of which the author’s experiences and feelings are depicted.

Keywords: Apperceptive nomination, literary text, semantic space


The idea of apperception was introduced in the scientific space by Leibnitz, who correlated this term with what “I” means. The author considers apperception as consciousness, including attention and memory, and the internal state of a person: “a distinction should be made between perception, which is the internal state of the monad, and apperception-consciousness, or reflective knowledge of this internal state ...” (Leibnitz, 1982, p. 406).

Apperception in philosophy and psychology

Another semantic content was put into the concept of apperception by Kant, who defined this term as “self-awareness”, a thought process that allows one to assert: “I think”.

The New Philosophical Encyclopedia contains the following definition – “a concept that expresses awareness of perception, as well as the dependence of perception on past spiritual experience and the stock of accumulated knowledge and impressions”.

Our inner “I”, according to Kant, «is the result of influence on the inner feeling of “things in itself”, therefore, apperception is the highest condition for the unity of all concepts of mind. Kant introduces the concept of synthesis of apperception, which helps to associate a new impression with newly developed concepts, observations in memory», forming a link between them necessary for linguistic thinking.

Subsequently, the concept of apperception began to be widely used in psychology in two directions.

1) Interpretation of new experience, according to Herbart, is carried out with the help of existing knowledge, that is, “apperceptive mass”, and forms a holistic view.

For Herbart, the dominant is the psychological content of this definition: apperception is the act of assimilation of ideas newly entering the field of consciousness, through the influence on them from the side of multiplex complexes, which have been formed in the past mental experience.

2) Mental activity of a person is based on the physiological synthesis of apperception volitional resources, according to Wundt, there are “apperception centres” in the brain, which are activated due to the associative connection.

Wundt, «who synthesized in his teaching the scientific arsenal of knowledge about apperception available at that time, came to the conclusion that apperception can function in two models: passive (without a preliminary emotional attitude) and active (perception is preceded by a feeling of expectation)».

Apperception in linguistics

In linguistics, apperception research is made by Potebnya. The scientist examines the functioning of this term on the example of the first part of the poem “Dead Souls” and comes to the conclusion: “one can distinguish two elements of apperception: on the one hand, perceived and explained, on the other, the totality of thoughts and feelings to which the first obeys and through which it is explained” (Potebnya, 1999, p. 106). It is in such a combination, according to Potebnya, the essence of apperception is revealed – the merging of two acts of thought in a word: “From its very birth, the word is a means for the speakers to understand themselves, to apperceive their perceptions” (Potebnya, 1999, p. 131) and “each separate word corresponds to art” (Potebnya, 1999, p. 165).

Studying the word as a means of apperception, Potebnya notes that “when a word is been creating, the received impression undergoes changes, that is, it is perceived for the second time – it is apperceived” (Potebnya, 1999, p. 99), therefore, promotes sensory perception based on past experience. Analyzing the research of Steintal, Katsnelson comes to the conclusion: “the word apperceives ... an external object” (Katsnelson, 2001, p. 39) and creates an image. In addition to the figurative and cognitive substantiation (Gibson, 2017), it seems significant that the apperceptive nomination enriches the Russian word with variable modes that focus the semantic space of a literary text.

Problem Statement

The model of the semantic space of a literary text is built on the principles:

  • apperceptive nomination;
  • apperceptive interpretation of a literary text.

The cognitive-semantic content of a literary text is represented by a multi-level structure, which is determined by a number of extralinguistic factors, variation and interpretation of meanings that make up the integral text structure. The semantic space of a literary text reflects subjective reality and is explicated in the course of its cognition due to the apperceptive nomination, denoting secondary perceived literary concepts (subjective everyday concepts and ideas, sensory impressions) – the basic semantic elements of the literary text content (Ozerova, 2012, p. 15).

Apperceptive nomination

A word in a literary text is subject to “apperceptive nomination, by which we mean the designation of the volume of secondary perceived subjective concepts and ideas, sensory impressions that contribute to cognition” (Ozerova, 2013, p. 73).

The reflection of apperceptive attitudes is explicated in a literary text, “where reality is reproduced not so much by the image of objective phenomena as by the image of subjective experiences caused by any phenomena of life” (Ozerova, 2013, p. 73).

Apperceptive interpretation of literary text

When a literary text is generated, apperceptive interpretation serves as a speech-thinking mechanism for verbalizing the results of personal-pragmatic experiences caused by subjective-sensory perception of reality (Kecskes, 2016).

Apperceptive interpretation of a literary text has a cognitive preamble, by which we mean the perception of reality depending on the life, spiritual experience of the writer, as well as on the mental state of the author at the time of subjective perception of reality.

Images-symbols, reflecting the psychological mood of the author, are explicated at the apperceptive level. The genre of literary text is also filled with cognitive meanings, which is realized in the system of cultural codes (associative meanings that reproduce ethnocultural images), and the internal character is predetermined by discursive reality (Ozerova, 2012, p. 75).

Research Questions

The research questions represent a complex cognitive-connotative system of apperceptive nomination, due to which sensory and associative value-semantic categories of perception of the experienced events of reality are imprinted in the literary text. Presumably, the apperceptive nomination is the “key to understanding the ethnoculture, the unique value-semantic topics of the people's living space, which determine the dominant principles of world perception” (Alefirenko et al., 2019, p. 670).

The study of the apperceptive nomination is due to the need to consider the sensory perception of the reality depicted by the author, which stimulates the associative-cognitive mechanisms of generating a literary text.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this article is to identify and analyze the functioning of apperceptive nomination in a literary text.

The stated goal involves the solution of the following tasks:

  • to explore the apperceptive nature of the literary text generating.
  • to analyze the factors that reveal the essence of apperceptive nomination.

Research Methods

The anthropocentric orientation of the linguo-cognitive methodology and the tasks set predetermined the nature of the research methods. The method of cognitive-hermeneutic analysis of a literary text developed by us includes the interpretation of the inner disclosure of sensory perception of the depicted reality. This method is designed to interpret the implicit content of a literary text. For cognitive-pragmatic research, two interrelated methods of literary analysis are used: linguo-stylistic one and linguopoetic one. The linguo-stylistic method of analyzing literary text is aimed at distinguishing the actual semantic content of linguistic units and emotionally coloured meanings. This method allows us to consider the analyzed word from the point of view of its communicative properties and communicative-pragmatic significance in the holistic-semantic content of the entire literary text (Ozerova, 2012, p. 12).

Apperceptive nomination reveals author’s figurative-sensual intentions, reveals the sensual subtext of the work.

The cognitive-hermeneutic method allows to explore a literary text in the following directions:

  • penetration into the origins of the author’s experience;
  • identification and understanding of the main idea of the studied text;
  • disclosure of sensory perception of reality.


The literary word, conditioned by the apperceptive nomination, demonstrates the figurative and aesthetic integrity of the entire work, meanwhile the semantic topics of the word predetermine the explicit or implicit fixity of such a nomination (Gallistel, 2017). For example, the Russian word “silence” in the thesaurus of Bunin accumulates signs of different vectors not only of the linguistic naming, but also of the addressee’s emotive intentions: “intense silence”, “enchanted silence”, “reverent silence”, “sacred silence”, “dead silence”, “deathly silence”. A different architectonics of the presentation of the apperceptive naming of silence is contained in Boris Vasiliev’s story “The Dawns Here Are Quiet ...” The implicit interpretation of “silence is enough here” is transformed into an explicit form: “dead, afterlife silence ...”, “grave silence stood, already ringing in the ears” – and becomes a text-forming stimulus that forms an emotive-evaluative dominant that generates a literary text (Barsalou, 2015).

Emotional perception and sensory experience of the phenomena of reality motivates the generation of a literary text and forms the semantic space of the work (Geeraerts, 2015).

For example, I.A. Bunin in the text of “Shrove Monday” opposes the silence to the creak of snow, the author refers to the acoustic association when the reader perceives the text: “Creak in silence in the snow ..”, sensory perception represents the phrase "special silence" when describing the state of the hero who is afraid to breathe while in empty church.

In the Old Testament, silence is identified with divine revelation; in the Third Book of Kings, the auditory image of silence is used: “the sound of absolute silence”.

In the National Corpus of the Russian language, merely within Bunin’s texts, the word “silence” represents apperceptive perception and is used 206 times. Exploring the philosophy of the Russian word, Kolesov comes to the conclusion that “mentality is a world perception in the categories and forms of the native language, combining the intellectual, volitional and spiritual qualities of a national character” (Kolesov, 2004, p. 260).

The semantic topics of apperceptive nomination integrate the connotative, figurative and expressive perception of the Russian word through subjective ideas and sensory impressions, conditioned by the associative-emotive experience of the author and the reader.

Apperceptive nomination as sensory perception

Apperceptive nomination in literary texts transforms the sensory perception of the author’s consciousness into images and symbols that are interpreted and perceived by the reader. Apperceptive nomination fills the literary word with value-semantic and connotative means of the language and “involves iconicity and indexicality as cognitive-semiotic processes” (Miller, 2016, p. 216). Apperceptive nomination actualized due to the individual author’s world perception, which contributes to the disclosure of “the cognitive resources of the author’s artistic activity” (Iriskhanova & Cienki, 2018, p. 25).

The sense, in contrast to the meaning, is generated by the subject, therefore, in the interpretation of a literary text, the apperceptive nomination is combined with emotionally significant associations explicated on the basis of the subject’s experience.

Sensory perception in a literary text is not only a background for the narrative, but also explicates multifaceted processes that reflect the inner world of a person. Our material shows that it is feelings that help a person to retain associative-emotional perception in memory. Interpretation of sensory perception is limited by the vocabulary and sociocultural intelligence of the subject, who nominates the shades of feelings. Heroes, in the context of their representation in a literary text, are capable of a variety of different feelings. The sensory impressions generated by representations remain in the mental and cultural memory of the subject and are subsequently reproduced by the author of the literary text.

A ‘feeling’, being a primordially Russian word, expresses the spiritual nature of the author’s thought. The figurative-expressive and pragmatic properties of words in a literary text turn them into mandatory elements of the language of culture, but at the same time, feelings are a specific form of reflection of reality. Sensory perception manifests itself, in our opinion, a subjective-individual understanding of reality, correlation with perceived reality through the creation of certain ego-meanings, ego-memories, ego-evaluations. ““I” is only the background of the field of apperception and as such lacks the experience of direct intuition that would make self-knowledge possible” (Kant, 1994, p. 104).

Apperception as associative perception

The semantic space of a literary text is revealed through the prism of associative perception, since associative experiences generate the lyrical architectonics of a literary text (Brandt, 2016).

  • Associative experiences are embodied in specific subject-sensory images, and subjective experiences are based on those events of reality that occurred much earlier than the author’s narration about them. The associative perception of the past is characteristic of a literary text and is motivated by a new experience caused by the associative perception of the past reality. “The author’s sense perception and emotional response are represented through dispersion of the meaning, semantic distribution in which emotional architectonics of the context influences the point made in the whole story” (Ozerova et al., 2019, p. 330).
  • Associative perception is actualized by complex semantic associative parallels: in sound, colour, feature, comparison – and represents the result of the author’s speech-thinking activity, reflecting the nominated reality.


In a literary text, apperceptive nomination is motivated by such extralinguistic factors as memory and associative perception. The nominative function in a literary text reveals the dynamics of creative perception and through apperception reveals the inner world of the author’s worldview. The cognitive approach to the description of a literary text allows talking about it as a form of representation of figurative cognition, a way of origin, development and improvement of a person’s knowledge about the world and themselves. The triad of reality, memory and apperception form the generating topics of the value-semantic registers of a literary text, since reality is recorded in memory not as repeated reproduction, but as a sensual transformation of one’s own acquired experience.

Consequently, the apperceptive nomination focuses the patterns of the addressee’s experienced reality preserved in the memory and actualizes the addressee’s sensory perception, which makes it possible, with the help of subjective experience and emerging associations, not only to interpret, but also to perceive the semantic topics of a literary text.

Apperceptive nomination is the result of a new experience formed in memory. Such a recollection actualizes the creative realization of the author’s generation of a literary text and, through apperceptive nomination, captures what seems to be significant for the semantic content of the text.

Thus, the cognitive mechanisms of apperceptive nomination form such a semantic space of a literary text, which contains extralinguistic and linguistic factors conditioned by experience and verbalized by the word. Such a synthesis focuses the semantic space and forms the integrity of the perception of a literary text through associative and sensory sources of interpretation, which makes it possible to combine perceived subjective representations into artistic images.

The dominant role of subjective factors of perception of reality and the formation of one’s own knowledge and impressions reveals the anthropocentric nature of the apperceptive nomination.

The central concept and generative stimulus for generating an apperceptive nomination is the author’s “I”, with the help of which the author’s experiences and feelings are depicted.

In the process of gaining experience, the author forms the creative and cognitive base of the apperceptive nomination, thanks to which a literary text is generated.

Psychological theorists note: each person is the architect of their own behaviour and life experience. This idea is confirmed by the analysis of literary texts, since the authors, using the acquired experience, in speech intentions create images in which the author’s personality is manifested.

So, the cognitive mechanisms of apperceptive nomination are the central creative constant of the entire architectonics of a literary text, the constantly updated dynamics of the author’s value-semantic representations, reflected in the synergistic space of real and imaginary events. Apperceptive nomination is not only a constructive mechanism for the formation of semantic content, but also the epicenter of the generation of the internal form of the text.


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The Russian language, methods of teaching, Russian language studies, Russian linguistic culture, Russian literature

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Ozerova, E. (2021). Apperceptive Nomination In Literary Text. In V. M. Shaklein (Ed.), The Russian Language in Modern Scientific and Educational Environment, vol 115. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 512-519). European Publisher.