Social and ethnocultural components of a linguistic personality

In the article an overview of the theoretical concepts developed in the development of the concept of linguistic personality is provided in order to study the social and ethnic aspects of this concept. The authors discuss a number of empirical provisions that show the high theoretical and practical value of this concept for understanding the social characteristics of the linguistic personality. The given empirical data prove that the personality multi-faceted realizes its individuality in speech activity. Particular attention is paid to the ethnic characteristics of the linguistic personality, including representatives of minority cultures and bilinguals. The studies prove that language proficiency and its use, in turn, are a factor of socialization and determine the style of human interaction with their social environment.

The concept of «linguistic personality» is interdisciplinary, combining linguistic, psychological, sociological and philosophical ideas about the subject of speech activity and communication, considering it as a socially significant set of human properties. The most systematic substantiation of the concept of linguistic personality is presented in the works of Yu.N. Karaulov and representatives of his Scientific school «Russian language personality». Linguistic personality is understood here as «a set of abilities and characteristics of a person, causing the creation and perception of speech works (texts), which differ: a) degree of structural and linguistic complexity; b) the depth and accuracy of reflection of reality; с) a certain target orientation» [1]. Also Yu.N. Karaulov by a linguistic personality means «a basic ethnocultural prototype of a native speaker of the natural language, which is an integral and invariant structure of a speech personality, fixed mainly in the semantic system» [1]. The author notes that the linguistic personality is a carrier of national origin and culture. The same idea is emphasized by V.I. Karasik, believing that a linguistic personality always has a national affiliation and has universal human stereotypes, and a linguistic personality is inherent in the process of socialization [2].

It should also be noted that the content of the linguistic personality usually includes such components as:

  1. value, ideological component of the content of education, i.e. the system of values or life meanings. Language provides a deep view of the world, forms the linguistic image of the world and the hierarchy of spiritual values that underlie the creation of national character and are formed in the process of its communication;
  2. cultural component, i.e. the level of mastering culture as an effective way to increase interest in the language. Mobilization of the facts of the culture of the studied language, combined with the rules of speech and non-speech behavior, contribute to the creation of skills of adequate use and effective influence on the interlocutor of communication;
  3. the personal component, i.e. that individual, deep that is in each person.

Thus, the linguistic personality is a social phenomenon, but it also has an individual aspect. The individual in the linguistic personality is formed through the internal attitude to the language, through the formation of personal linguistic meanings; but we should not forget that the linguistic personality influences the formation of linguistic traditions. Each linguistic personality is formed on the basis of the assignment by a particular person of all linguistic wealth created by predecessors and existing in this society. The language of a particular linguistic personality consists more of a common language and less of individual linguistic features.

In modern concepts, speech communication is increasingly understood not only as the reception and transmission of messages, but as a social interaction, to the understanding of the individual not only the personal (subjective), but also the activity aspect are added. In psycholinguistics, thus, the characteristics of communicative personality are studied, which determine the choice of both verbal and non-verbal means of communication, as well as strategies of behavior in situations of interaction. For example, V.V. Krasnykh defines linguistic personality as a subject of speech activity, possessing a certain set of knowledge and ideas; speech personality is considered through the implementation of personality in communication, through thechoice of certain strategies and tactics of communication, linguistic and extralinguistic means. At the same time, the concept of «communicative personality» is also distinguished, by which the author understands a particular participant of a particular communicative act [3].

For psychology and sociology of communication it is an important problem of the relationship between the concepts of linguistic personality and personality as a member of different social groups, in particular, ethnic. Naturally, when assessing a personality as a subject of verbal communication, not only its individual characteristics are necessary, but also the norms of behavior in society, learned during socialization. In this regard, L.P. Krysin, following V.V. Vinogradov, contrasts the concepts of individual and collective linguistic personality, emphasizes that the individual as a member of a collective, small group.

This opposition, we believe, is very conditional, since the individual linguistic personality also has the product of society, and its characteristics are associated with signs of a national worldview, reflected in the national language. Here, rather, the points of view are opposed to a single phenomenon: both the linguistic personality and the invariant, the foundation laid by the native language and culture, or the visibility of its variable part, emerging during the individual scenario of socialization, as well as in accordance with the real communicative situation.

The appeal of scientists to the problem of linguistic personality, its inclusion in the linguistic paradigm in the last two decades is associated with the humanization of linguistics, with a turn to value-oriented areas of knowledge, with the return of the anthropocentric picture of the world. Language personality is one of the actual and perspective problems of modern cognitive and communicative linguistics. Recently, the problem of linguistic personality is actively considered in different aspects: psycholinguistic, sociolinguistic, cultural, linguodidactic, functional, emotive, pragmatic, etc.

Any of the existing languages, accumulating and at the same time representing the experience of the people's life in all its diversity and completeness, is also the basis for the realization of ethnic identity. «At different levels of analysis, more and more attention is paid to the undeniable fact that ethnic identity is associated not so much with the actual use of language by all members of the group, but with its symbolic role in the formation of a sense of kinship with the group and at the same time in the processes of intergroup differentiation. Adequate socio-psychological explanation of the ambiguity of the role of language in the formation and preservation of ethnic identity is possible only in the inter-group context. Ethnic groups are in continuous contact. In a multi-ethnic society there are different languages, and the ethnic identity of each of the active groups is largely due to the competence of its members in foreign languages and the degree of compliance of the real and desired use» [4].

Each representative of the ethnic group belonging to a new generation, mastering the language means, gets an idea of the collective socio-historical ethnic experience, social values, collective knowledge of reality. As a result of communication in ethnic society, he gets acquainted with the existing traditional assessments of reality, customs, traditions, norms of behavior. This makes it impossible for language to influence the experience, culture, lifestyle and behavior of a particular individual.

It is in language that social, aesthetic, ethical, moral norms, educational and artistic ideals are imprinted. The history of civilizational development of the people is stored by means of language and in language which reflects character of an ethnos, features of antipathy and sympathy in relationship with another ethnos, communication with the neighboring people and features of relationship with them. It is in the language that all the cognitive experience of the people, milestones of its development, changes in all spheres of life are imprinted. It reflects all the subtleties of perception and reflection of reality by the ethnic group, the nuances of evaluative attitude to it [1]. In the ethnic system, the language performs:

  1. the function of a means of implementation of any forms of communication, providing all kinds of interaction — political, cultural, social, etc.: the communicative function of the ethnic language — one of the main, without which it is impossible to communicate between the representatives of the ethnic group, exchange of information and education of the younger generation;
  2. the function of the means of obtaining, storing and broadcasting information (nomination of concep s, description, processing and storage of knowledge in individual and collective memory, ensuring the survival and self-preservation of the people): the entire array of information relating to the ethnic group is stored, analyzed and transmitted to subsequent generations in the ethnic language;
  3. the function of the means of self-identification of the ethnic community: in this case, the language acts as a means of belonging to it and as one of the indicators of this affiliation, in addition, in the languagemeans laid what one ethnic group is different from another — they describe the uniqueness of a particular ethnic group, its distinctive features, etc.;
  4. the function of the means of consolidation of the ethnic group: the possession of one language unites members of the ethnic group, provides intra-ethnic ties, represents all the cultural heritage, behind which there are many generations of ethnic group.

Recently, interest in the problems of ethno-cultural content and rationing in the language, traditions, norms of behavior, rituals of different ethnic groups has increased. This interest is of a scientific and interdisciplinary nature, being found in the works of linguists, ethnographers, historians, sociologists, psychologists, and representatives of many other scientific fields.

«Revealing both theoretical and experimental levels, the problem of ethno-cultural norms in most researchers is inextricably linked with the process of identifying the ethnic characteristics of rituals, psychology, language system of certain peoples». Study and analysis of literature devoted to the study of ethnic identity (A.G. Agayev, A.G. Ablaev, S.A. Arutyunov, L.L. Ayupova, V. Bloomfield, E.M. Vereshchagin, M.N. Have Guboglo, A.A. Leont'ev, T.N. Nikulin, D. Nikolskiy, Yu.A. Sorokin, L.V. Shcherba, A. Chomsky, P. Johnson et al.), allowed to come to the conclusion that the ethnic identity is understood as a fairly wide range of phenomena related to both the life of an individual and the actions of a group character within a certain ethnic group associated with the process of self-determination and selfidentification.

Ethnic self-identification is a complex psychosocial process, which is based on cognitive, emotional, value and behavioral mechanisms of awareness, identification and manifestation of a certain ethnic community, differentiating itself from others. Ethnic identity is a complex phenomenon associated with the interaction of personal meanings and space of life of the individual. Thus, language is an important factor in the formation of ethnic identity in a multi-ethnic environment. The level of competence in ethnic and «foreign» languages and the degree of its coincidence with speech behavior affect the content and manifestation of ethnic identity.

Speaking about the role of ethnic language with the use of competence-based approach, it should be emphasized the importance of the formation of ethno-linguistic communicative competence of the individual, which is a complex integrated system of interacting and interrelated knowledge, skills and subjective experience, allowing the subject of communication to extract and use information, learn to act and interact with others in an ethno-cultural and multicultural environment. This competence of the individual in its modern interpretation, which we take as a basis, includes the following types of competencies: ethno- linguistic, ethno-communicative and socio-cultural. If you strictly follow the competence approach, the person has other types of competence, but we are talking only about those that are of fundamental importance in the framework of our study.

Ethnolinguistic (language) competence is the presence of knowledge in the field of phonetics, vocabulary, grammar (lexical, phonetic and grammatical rules of functioning of language units in speech). The essence of this type of competence is knowledge about the system of ethnic language. This also includes the ability to use this system to understand other people's thoughts and express their own judgments in oral and written form, possession of aspects of ethnic language (phonetic, lexical, grammatical, etc.), which exist only in the language system.

Ethnic (native) language is known first at the level of perception, imitation and only then as a systemic phenomenon with rules, laws and subsystems. Forming and developing the personality is gradually moving from imitation of language proficiency to the system. The following competencies are ethnobotanical — ability means the ethnic language to carry out speech activity in accordance with the purposes and situation of communication within a particular sphere of activity. It is based on a set of skills that allow for speech communication, during which there is a transfer of experience, interaction with the world of culture, the representation of themselves in the world of culture, in fact, there is a socialization of the individual.

Social and cultural competence implies knowledge of national and cultural features of social and speech behavior of native speakers: their traditions, customs, etiquette, features of everyday life, social stereotypes, history, culture, as well as ways of using this knowledge in the process of communication. This competence is the possession of the layer of folk culture that distinguishes one ethnic group from another. The considered competencies interact in the personal sphere, and the level of their formation determines the ethno-cultural competence of a particular person [5].

Thus, language plays a major role in the modern cultural process, acting as a tool, element, part, form and content of culture. The linguistic picture of the world is characterized by the global nature, diversity and complexity of its components. Modern language is a dynamic phenomenon, descriptive and meaningful at the same time, ethnic language is a substantial part of ethnic culture and its tool at the same time. Performing its numerous functions (nominative, descriptive, informative, pragmatic, cognitive, communicative, etc.) and being a factor of general ethnic identity, the language reflects all the cultural features of a particular ethnic group. In this regard, it is necessary to pay special attention to the development and improvement of linguistic competence of the individual in his native language, as it affects the success of the individual and the entire ethnic group, of which he is a part. The formation of ethno-linguistic communicative competence of a person — a representative of a certain ethnic group — allows him feel part of the world social and cultural process.



  1. Karaulov, Yu.N. (2006). Russkii yazyk i yazykovaia lichnost [Russian language and linguistic personality]. (5d ed.) Moscow: KomKniha [in Russian].
  2. Karasik, V.I. (2002) Yazykovoi kruh: lichnost, koncepty, disskurs [The language circle: personality, concepts, discourse]. Volgograd: Peremena [in Russian].
  3. Krasnykh, V.V. (2003). «Svoi» sredi «chuzhikh»: mif ili realnost? [«Own» among «strangers»: myth or reality?]. Moscow: Hnosis [in Russian].
  4. Dontsov, A.I., Stefanenko, T.G., & Atalieva, J.T. (1997). Yazyk kak faktor etnicheskoi identichnosti [Language as a factor of ethnic identity]. Voprosy psikholohii – Questions of psychology, No. 4, 75–86 [in Russian].
  5. Afanas'eva, A.B. (2015). Etnokulturnoe obrazovanie v aspekte kosmicheskoho mirovozzreniia [Ethnocultural education in terms of space the world]. Obshchestvo. Sreda. Razvitie – Society. Environment. Development, No. 3, 112–116 [in Russian].
Year: 2019
City: Karaganda
Category: Philology