Connotations Of Words With A Specific Subject Meaning Denoting Inanimate Nature


The paper touches upon the characteristic of connotation phenomenon of a word in the Russian language. The research relevance is justified by current trends in the development of the language. Today in modern information society the live Russian speech is actively developing. Ordinary words acquire meanings that are not included in explanatory dictionaries. However, they are important to percept speech by both a particular person and societies. In this context, it is possible to say that connotation actively penetrates into colloquial speech, which was peculiar before mainly because of fiction and publicism. At the same time, there is no doubt that of theoretical knowledge and minimal practical context of connotation promotes the perception level of fiction literature. It also contributes to speech development. In addition, many researchers in linguistics consider connotation as an obligatory structural component of the lexical meaning of a word. In this case the priority is in the subjective character of the meaning opposed to the objective that is the denotative element of the meaning. As a result, the clear contradiction between the objective necessitates the consideration of the issue of the specific features of connotation in the modern Russian language and its inadequate level of development in this context. This very contradiction justifies the relevance of the topic of this paper.

Keywords: Connotation, connotative meaning, language, denotative meaning, phenomena of inanimate nature, word


The history of the analysis of word connotation, as far as of many other linguistic phenomena, by their nature attributed to «diffuse semantic matter», is characterized by a cyclical change of periods of increased interest, that coincided with the emergence of significant works by authoritative authors, and periods of «lull», when the accumulation of empirical material or scientific paradigms change take place. It is essential that connotative elements do not merge with the main content of the lexical meaning, representing just the optional ones; where there are emotional, expressive, evaluative and stylistic elements in different combinations (Apresyan, 1995). One of the most significant components of connotation is evaluation. The questions of the axiological categorization of the world as well as the peculiarities of this process in the linguistic picture of the world, the reconstruction of the world’s values in their national variants relying on a language are regarded in the framework of the gnoseological approach. According to the conclusions of Lukyanova «linguistic signs materialize and fix the results of the objective reality cognition, while the human cognitive activity can be roughly divided into two parts: cognition and evaluation (Prokhorov, 1999). In fact, cognition builds the model of the world itself. The process of evaluation recognizes the value of existence for the human living».

Problem Statement

Taking into consideration the fact that connotation is widely spread in different spheres of scientific knowledge, we have supposed that connotations are typical of ordinary words with a specific meaning and connotations can be different (Burukina, 2020). Units of different levels of the language can include the connotative meaning. Nevertheless, it is mostly expressed in lexical and phraseological units. It can be associated with both semantics and stylistic coloring. There is a certain duality inherent in connotations. On the one hand, it is closely related to the meaning of a word or a phraseological unit; on the other hand, it is a kind of add-in with certain clarifications.

Research Questions

To show the variability of the connotative meaning of a word depending on the communicative conditions in which it is used, to compliment the objective connotation of a word with the associative and imaginative conception about the reality based on the knowledge of name inner form, i.e. the attributes connected to the literal meaning of a speech unit (Frege, 1997).

To describe the connotations of words denoting the phenomena of inanimate nature.

Purpose of the Study

To describe the variability of the connotative meaning of a word depending on the communicative conditions in which it is used.

Research Methods

For the study, there have been carried out: a component analysis of the lexical connotation including 40 units with the meteonym "wind": and a psycholinguistic experiment using the method of semantic differential in order to establish the presence and quality of the connotation in the selected collocations.


The key images of any linguistic culture include "the macroconcept of inanimate nature represented by a number of more specific concepts of various levels", one of these significant concepts for the Russian linguistic culture is the word «ветер» (wind). For example(Karaulov et al., 2002).

The representation of the word «wind» in the Russian phraseological units demonstrates the linguocultural consensus: their negative connotation is obvious (). Perhaps, there are still two exceptions:, which define positive metamorphoses which never come true. The negative connotation of the phraseological units under analysis can be explained by the fact that the Russian linguistic culture welcomes frugality, creativity, sagacity whereas profligacy, foolishness, carelessness are judged. The uncontrollable wind destroys and devastates everything made and earned by people (Ozhegov & Shvedova, 1993). And even the freedom the wind promises is doubtful (svoboden kak veter. kak vetrom sdulo). It is conjectured that not only in phraseological units, but also in literary and journalistic texts, the lexeme wind has a fixed negative connotation. When working with the word "wind" at the comparative stage (90 surveyed people), we found that the phrases with a negative connotation accounted for 61 %, with a positive connotation – 17 %, without connotation – 22 %. Thus, the carried out micro-research allows us to state that there is a certain set of negative (regularly) and positive (rarely) connotations in phraseological units, collocations and associations with the lexeme «wind» (Apresyan et al., 2012).

Analyzing explanatory dictionaries, we find that the word «sun», one of the "primary elements", is defined in its basic meaning as "a heavenly body – a red-hot, spherical plasma body around which the Earth and other planets move". The elements of expertise (a red-hot plasma body, a spherical shape, etc.), necessary for understanding the laws of astronomy, physics and other sciences, do not help to understand the linguistic meaning of this word at all, they don’t reveal what associations it evokes in the mind of an ordinary native speaker or what signs of an object are most important to the speaker. The associations of the given word differ in every language, although it would seem that the sun is unique for everyone. According to B.Y. Norman, in the associative dictionary of the Bulgarian language, among the most frequent reactions to the word «слънце» (‘sun’) we find not only the associations with warmth, sea, beach, life , air etc., but also with the unbearable heat. In the Russian language, the associations with strong, exhausting heat for objective reasons are not so frequent for the word «sun». The definition of the word sun applied to the Russian linguistic community should, apparently, reflect such features of an object as uniqueness, location, properties (), actions (), etc.


The carried-out research has confirmed the complexity and multidimensional nature of the phenomenon of connotation. Every meaning of the word is supplemented by an additional, contributary, associative meaning. But other than that, we shouldn’t forget about the national characteristics of society and of a concrete personality, emotiveness, evaluative component, expression, social status of a group or individual; all of them play an important role for connotation.


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23 December 2022

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Suntsova, M. V. (2022). Connotations Of Words With A Specific Subject Meaning Denoting Inanimate Nature. In D. K. Bataev, S. A. Gapurov, A. D. Osmaev, V. K. Akaev, L. M. Idigova, M. R. Ovhadov, A. R. Salgiriev, & M. M. Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Knowledge, Man and Civilization- ISCKMC 2022, vol 129. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1113-1116). European Publisher.