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Entrenchment of notional connections in a conceptual sphere


The given article is devoted to the problems of formation and consolidation of complex spatiotemporal notional connections and relations in the language of fiction by virtue of ordering of existing cognitive - semantic and Iinguostylistic markers reflecting to a certain degree the initially projected authorial intent and thus simplifying the process of the reader’s establishment of general categorical and logical - notional links contributing to a more complete mental reconstruction of the inner storyline of the work of fiction.


As a special kind of human communicative practice, literary text has its own peculiarities, some of which may be represented explicitly and unequivocally, whilst other specific features can only be brought to surface and explicated by virtue of text analysis - a complex and multifaceted procedure including a large number of operations that are aimed at a primary detailed description of the textual environment and its further holistic interpretation on a variety of levels.

The various types of information originally embedded into the literary text by the author through the application of numerous literary techniques and devices are considered to be conveyable to the reader and comprehended at any given stage of plot development in accordance with certain alterations within the inward structure of the literary work, or elicited from the linguistic environment of the text through the analysis of lexical and syntactic units that trigger correspondent mental images pertaining to a certain notion or scenario.

The author’s purport frequently cannot be comprehended and properly understood by the reader due to a number of reasons that are to be further discussed and clarified in terms of the given research on account of intrinsic complexity and interdependence of the mechanisms underlying comprehension of the literary text.

As has been said, the literary text possesses a large number of specific features, one of which is its denotative structure consisting of the notional categories of space and time. These categories were first introduced to the world of science a long time ago. On account of their overall scientific versatility and interdisciplinary nature, these notional constructs have traveled a long way from the field of physics to the modem realm of linguistics and text analysis. It is pertinent to note that said categories and their means of expression continue to attract scholarly attention to date.

In terms of text analysis, the categories comprise the unique space - time organization of any given literary work, being the overarching components of both the intrinsic fictitious reality of the story depicted in the work by the author and the actual reality in which the readers find themselves trying to grasp the author’s originally incorporated intentions. This means that the readers analyze the internal structure of the work building up their considerations upon their own picture of the real world.

Having been introduced to the state - of - the - art scientific notion, the cognitive paradigm, contemporary linguistics seeks to elucidate the peculiarities of the relationship between language and thought - the cornerstones of human communication. In this respect, literary text is considered to be one of the most evidently important means of expression of thought through language. It goes without saying that this complex correlation has long been the main focus of study for linguistics. The introduction of the cognitive paradigm and its innovative principles made it possible for scholars to delve into the depths of the research conducted with a view of redefining the traditionally established theoretical framework of meaning construction and its linguistic realization on the basis of previously unstudied cognitive mechanisms underlying the overall human capacity of forming thought patterns and expressing them with the help of the given linguistic environment.

It is in terms of the cognitive paradigm that the notions of space and time were first looked at from a different angle in linguistics. What is more, this breakthrough resulted in the development of a new branch Oflinguistics - cognitive linguistics. What this newly developed field is primarily focused upon is the categorization and systematization of the interrelated mental operations underlying the means of expression of thought through language. Of no small importance here are the cognitive categories of spatiality and temporality that serve as the bases for the construction of the picture of the world of any given individual. This means that both thought and language are formed in accordance with the individual perception of the external reality and its spatial and temporal nature.

Furthermore, in course of literary text analysis the readers build up an entire intrinsic picture of the literary work on the basis of their own entrenched patterns of perception of actual reality, i.e. fictitious reality is developed by virtue Oftransference of the actual reality phenomena onto the structure of the literary work and its scenarios originally incorporated by the author.

From the standpoint of literary theory these notions enable the reader not only to focus on a certain aspect of the work of fiction, but also to decipher the author’s individual worldview embedded in the external textual environment, which contributes to the reiteration of the importance of text as a means of human cognition and exchange of information.

From the perspective of the cognitive approach notional components of a text enable the readers to focus their attention on a certain aspect of the literary work as such, and reconstruct that aspect of the fictitiously represented reality through the application of their own actual experience in understanding of the phenomenon in question. The cognitive approach pinpoints mental representations that constitute the foundation for complex linguistic operations - concepts.

Concepts are regarded as units of knowledge applied only in scientific literature for the purpose of analyzing figures of speech. It is widely assumed that concepts have nothing to do with our everyday life, whereas, in actuality, they are so deeply entrenched in our daily routine that we sporadically fail to recognize them as the tools for the exchange of information. Contemporary approaches to defining the nature of concepts regard them as holistic phenomena based on the scientific principles of Iinguostylistics, Iinguoculturology, and cognitive linguistics. Concept requires deeper consideration inasmuch as its current theoretical framework tends to be inconsistent and contradictory.

The concept is a complex phenomenon that has always attracted the attention of language experts and learners due to the intangibility of its structural framework and the ambiguity of its meaningful content, which pinpoints the fact that a vast majority of mental representations still cannot be fully defined [1, c. 204 - 205]. The foundations for studying the phenomenon of the concept as a means of cognition and achievement of the human scale were laid long before the establishment of the cognitive science. The heuristic capacity of the concept has always attracted scholarly attention.

It is relevant to notice that the approaches to studying the concept have been dramatically changed at the turn of the previous century. This change occurred not only due to the increase of scientific interest and attention to the phenomenon, but also due to the paradigm shift - the object of investigation was gradually transferred from the anthropocentric paradigm to the novel cognitive paradigm, which granted the researchers an opportunity to rescrutinize the concept from a different perspective, regarding the phenomenon not only as a notion, but also as a product of human thought and reasoning.

The concept is now considered as a mental representation from the perspective of cognitive linguistics, which aims to study the complex nature of the phenomenon in an effort to determine the underpinnings for the mechanisms employed in the process of the language comprehension and enabling the mental representation to serve as a unit of knowledge exchange and to generate reality - based mental scenarios.

In terms of the cognitive paradigm, a deeper analysis of the concept conducted within the realms of psycholinguistics, cognitive linguistics and Iinguoculturology corroborated the fact that the concept was, is and will be an inherent element of language in that it represents the irreplaceable means of cognition of reality [2, c. 334 - 336]. Therefore, the concept is closely associated with the theoretical framework of meaning construction, being the basis for the establishment and development of conceptual elements. The cognitive approach accounts for the solution of the concept issues that were previously considered unsolvable due to the failure to take into consideration the mental processes that underlie the process of meaning creation.

The cognitive mechanisms grounding the concept are related to complex mental processes responsible for the perception and analysis of information. These processes also underlie the phenomena of thought formation and language comprehension [3, c. 143 - 144].

Thus, the relationship between language and thought can only be properly understood in terms of a holistic conceptual analysis of the given linguistic environment. In the course of the analysis, more complex fields are correlated with the simpler mental regions, thus making it possible for the human mind to comprehend notional content by means of generation of a certain mental map. Therefore, the cognitive potential and versatility of the concept are differently regarded by the researchers, depending on the aspect of the phenomenon which is taken into consideration in the course of analysis. The concept is treated as the cognition instrument incorporating the intended semantic content expressed by means of certain linguistic means.

Regardless of the fact that the first comprehensive studies of the phenomenon of the concept date back to the antique period, it is still impossible to claim that there is a complete and well - established system of views on the subject of investigation. Furthermore, the concept is still being scrutinized within the scope of multiple scientific fields, such as linguistics, Cognitology, psychology, psycholinguistics and philosophy. The increasing interest to the notion of concept serves as the acknowledgement of the progressive development of the contemporary science.

Any review of scientific works in the given aspect shows how big the variety of opinions is, and how divergent those opinions can be in regard to the fundamental theoretical framework of the phenomenon of the concept. It is pertinent to notice that the discrepancies existing amongst the contrary and contradictory investigative approaches cannot be regarded as the consequences of misconstruction or misinterpretation of the general essence of the phenomenon as such. The complexity of the term consequently causes the formation of different attitudes and divergent views concerning the concept. It should also be mentioned that the frequently occurring incompatibility of the researchers’ conceptions on the matter is generally associated with the diversion of their attention from the perspective regarding the concept in terms of the language - as - a - system principle to the perspective treating the whole phenomena Oflanguage and illocution as the media of meaning construction employed in the course of communication.

As has been said, if the concept is regarded from the perspective of such contemporary linguistic tendencies as the cognitive approach, it is considered as a basic mental operation for cognition, structurization and explication of the objective reality. It was within the branch of cognitive linguistics that all the linguistic and extralinguistic phenomena directly related to the concept or otherwise connected with it have been analyzed and organized into a sum total of procedures involved in the formation and comprehension of language. One of the most significant procedures of meaning formation and consolidation is called conceptualization. This procedure is aimed at the structurization of knowledge in accordance with a certain set of peculiarities of a given linguistic continuum - its syntactic and semantic features that are constantly overlapping in the course of dynamic language use process. Conceptualization performs a critically important function in any linguistic environment in that it contributes to formation, comprehension and consolidation of thought conveyed both through language and extralinguistic means of expression [4, c. 89]. Therefore, it is quite evident that some thoughts cannot be verbalized due to their complex nature. These thoughts are consolidated in the conceptual system of any given individual as mental images that are based on visual perception. It is hypothesized further in the paper that conceptual entrenchment occurs on all levels of perception - visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory and gustatory.

Regrettably, conceptualization has not yet been thoroughly studied from the perspective of literary text analysis. Spatiotemporal characteristics of the literary text still need to be scrutinized by means of application of contemporary cognitive linguistics instrumentation. However, there is still no complete algorithm for analysis and description of the spatiotemporal continuum of the literary text as such. The space - time continuum of the textual environment needs to be studied as a cognitive category and a sum total of spatial and temporal conceptual elements that constitute a complex phenomenon pertaining to both actual reality and fictitious reality of the literary work. Therefore, the reader’s comprehension of the literary space - time occurs as a result of projection of the conceptual elements related to real world upon those that are newly formed and appear to be surreal and fictitious in the course of cognitive analysis of the linguistic environment of the text and its overall plot structure originally embedded by the author.

As has been said, the spatiotemporal continuum is a holistic phenomenon that correlates meaning related to space and meaning related to time. Space and time are nonetheless separate semantic constructs that are simultaneously incorporated into linguistic worldview and conceptual worldview of an individual. They are separated from each other as distinct cognitive categories with the purpose of simplification of the process of primary semantic analysis of physically perceivable entities and abstract phenomena pertaining to external reality.

Conceptualization of the spatiotemporal continuum is an even more complex procedure that employs a number of cognitive operations that first separate the spatial component from its temporal counterpart, and then contribute to the simplification of the process of conceptual structurization and categorization of the linguistic (compositional) environment of the text.

Therefore, the choice of the article topic is conditioned by the necessity of a more in - depth investigation of cognitive and linguistic parameters of conceptual categories of space and time in terms of their textual surroundings. The problems of formation and consolidation of complex spatiotemporal notional connections and relations in the language of fiction are studied by virtue of sequencing of the present Iinguostylistic markers that to a certain extent reflect the originally projected author’s intentions, thus simplifying the process of the reader’s identification of general categorical and logical - notional links that contribute to a more complete mental reconstruction of the intrinsic compositional picture of the literary work.

It is relevant to note that the research focuses not only upon the topicality of the theoretical findings, but also upon the possibility of integration of the basic mechanisms pertaining to the studied phenomena into the foreign language instruction process conducted within the premises of higher education institutions inasmuch as the spatiotemporal continuum is, by its own nature, an interdisciplinary phenomenon that touches upon the issues of the purposeful educational process.


The practical application of the data and results of the research can be possible in the course of the teaching process of a number of linguistic disciplines, such as Iinguostylistics and text analysis, psycholinguistics, semantics, and syntax of the English language. The results of the research may also prove useful for foreign language teachers of general education institutions insomuch as the understanding of the complex mechanisms of formation and transference of meaning is critically important in foreign language teaching and learning.



  1. Richards J.C., Schmidt R.Longman Dictionary' OfLanguage Teacliing and Applied Linguistics, 4th edition. - Pearson Education Limited, 2010. - 648 pp.
  2. Brown K.Miller J., The Cambridge Dictionary' OfLinguistics. - Cambridge University Press 2013 - 482 pp.
  3. Бабенко, Л. Г. Филологический анализ текста. Основы теории, принципы и аспекты анализа: учебник для вузов [Текст] /Л.Г. Бабенко. - M., 2004. - 464 с.
  4. Новиков, Л.А., Ярославцева Е.И. Семантические расстояния в языке и тексте[Текст] / Л.А Новиков, Е.И. Ярославцева. - M., 1990. -112 с.

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