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Лекция 4


Concept and language meaning.

The essence of conceptualization and categorization as the main cognitive processes.

Cognitive semantics as one of the central parts of Cognitive linguistics


Cognitive semantics

Лекция 3

1) Cognitive linguistics (from Lat. cognitio – knowledge, process of acquaintance), a direction in language science which studies the problems of relation between language and conscience, the role of language in conceptualization and categorization of world, in cognitive processes and in summing up human experience, connection of separate cognitive abilities of a man with his language and the forms of their interaction. It appeared in the beginning of the 80-s of the XXth century (Big Russian Encyclopedia Dictionary)

2) Conceptualization – this is the definition of the notions, relations and the mechanisms of coordination necessary for the description of the tasks solution description in the chosen sphere.

Categorization – (from Greek kategoria – saying, feature) – the psychic process of reference of the unique object, event, feeling to some class which could be presented by verbal and non-verbal meanings, symbols, sensor and perceptive clichés, social stereotypes, behavioral stereotypes and so on. The process of Categorization is included directly into the processes of perception, thinking, imagination, the object of which is accepted and thought of as not a unique and immediate reality but as a representative of some general class, and this objects accepts the peculiarities and characteristic features of a given class of events.

Being the means of world acknowledgement, the categorical structures of individual consciousness could not be acknowledged by a person as suchlike structures. The forms of categorization have complete hierarchical organization, the form and functioning of which is studied by genetic and general psychology.

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3) Concept in Philosophy and Linguistics – this is the content of notion, sense meaning of a name (sign). It differs from the sign and its subject meaning (denotate). It is identical to notion and significate.

Notion - this is a form of thinking which reflects the essential features, connections and relations of the objects and events I their contradictions and development; thought or the system of thoughts combining, underlining the objects of some class according to definite common and if taken together, their specific features. Notion does not only underlines something common, but also separates objects, their features and relations by means of classifying the last in accordance with their differences. For example, the notion “man” reflects essentially common (that belong to all people) and the difference between a man and everything around.

Due to its origin the notion is a result of long process of development of acknowledgement. Creation of a notion – is a long dialectical process which is done with the help of such methods as comparison, analysis, synthesis, abstraction, idealization, generalization, experiment and other. Notion – this is reflection of reality in a word. It acquires its real thought-speech existence only in development of definitions, in statements in definite theories.

Sense — this is a supposed (putative мнимое) or real intended purpose (intent- предназначение) of any objects, words, notions, or actions from the point of view of a concrete man or a group of people. Sense – this is a notion which is implied (подразумеваемое) and it depends directly on the knowledge about a subject/object. Any unknown thing might seem meaningless if someone does not know how to use it and which profit could be extracted from it. And vice verse, due to lack of knowledge any meaningless thing could be given false useful properties and possess a sense from somebody’s point of view. The bright example of senseless for the ones and full of meaning for the other subjects could serve any superstitions: some people believe that superstitions could help to foresee the future events and thus they see a lot of sense in them; while the other do not believe in superstitions and do not see any sense in them. The same could be said about any unknown language: those people who do not understand it perceive the phrases as senseless at the same time those who speak this language understand the phrases of very clearly.

Language in this respect is a unique phenomenon as it is a holder of the senses of some nation and as soon as every word in a language has its own sense, its intended purpose for transference of any information. Language helps people understand each other and exchange useful knowledge about different events and objects. If it had not been than the sense of objects which had been clear for one person, would be hidden from other people and following from that they could not be able to extract any use from these things. The words with sense change everything.

Meaning – the association connection between sign and thought. It is studied by semantics.

There is no general or complete scheme of types of lexical meaning as linguistic literature abounds in various terms reflecting various points of view. The following terms may be found with different authors: the meaning is direct or nominative when it nominates the object without the help of context, in isolation, i.e. in one–word sentences. The meaning is figurative when the object is named and at the same time characterized through its similarity with another object. Other oppositions are abstract: concrete, main or primary:: secondary, central:: peripheric, narrow:: extended, general:: particular and so on. The main meaning is that which possesses the highest frequency at the present stage of development.

All these terms reflect relationships existing between different meanings of a word at the same period, so the classification may be called synchronic and paradigmatic(See more in Chapter 7 of the textbook by Antrushina).

4) Frame. Frames, scenarios and situational models.

Frame — from English - каркас, остов, рамка, структура) — 1) in cognitive psychology this is a notion which describes a structurally formed unit of some concrete knowledge, picture, scenario, scheme, and so on, with the help of which a perceive situation can be identified; 2) in psycho semantics – this is a structurally formed unit of knowledge, organized around some notion and containing the data about essential, typical and possible for this notion The word “frame” was initially used in 1970s by American scientist Marvin Minsky who dealt with problems of artificial intellect. He was one of the first scientists who created the theoretical model of (called “the theory of frames”) knowledge structures which lie in the basis of everyday cognitive activity of the people. Minsky proposed an idea that our knowledge is coded in the blocks called “frames”(he used the metaphor from photography). These blocks of knowledge simplify understanding of many aspects of everyday life thus allowing easy and fast access to the information, stored in memory and relevant reaction. The notion “frame” became generic notion for the following notions: “Scheme” in cognitive psychology (F. Bartlett, 1932), scene, scenario cognitive model, module (Ch.J. Fillmore, 1975), association ties (G.H. Bower, 1972 ), and semantic field.

Frames organize our understanding of a world as a whole thus making everyday behavior clear for us. Being fixed in memory as the “labels” for the whole scenes, they may perform as the typical classifiers. Several types of information are connected with every frame: (1) about its usage, (2) what to expect; (3) what to do if the expectations fail. As a form the frames usually are shown as a structure of knots and relations among them. Besides the internal relations within the frames, there can be the interframe relations.

So, in short, frame – this is a cognitive structure in the phenomenological field of a man.

Frame consists of the topic (the top) and the slots or terminals which are filled with propositions. This cognitive structure is organized around some concept, but contrary to trivial set of associations these units contain only the most essential, typical and potentially possible information which is associated with this concept.

Besides, it is not excluded, that frames have more or less conventional nature and that is why they are able to determine and describe things which are typical or characteristic for the given socium or society with its etnic and socio-cultural peculiarities. Let say a frame “family” is differently organized in the conscience of inhabitants of South Korea village, German town, Dagestan aul or Indian village. The slots are also different in this case, their number varies and content has different filling (for instance the roles and status of the family members will be different as well as their rights and obligations, attitudes to the female and male relatives and so on).

Scenario, or scenario- frame contains standard sequence of events, conditioned by some recurrent situation [Schank, Abelson 1977; Bower e. a. 1979]. Scenarios organize behavior and its interpretation. The characteristic features of the scenarios are: situational attachments and conventionality [Гончаренко, Шингарева 1984: 14; Минский 1979; Шенк 1980; Романов 1988: 30; ван Дейк 1989; Кубрякова и др. 1996: 181—182]. Scenarios describe sequence of scenes, events or actions, which have completely or partially ritualized nature, for example, of higher society (secular), religious and military ceremonies [см.: Schank, Abelson 1977: 63].

Scenario can be used either for behavioral purposes or for the cognitive ones: in the first case a man really plays it by constructing his behavior in accordance with the concrete scenario in the second case a man plays it mentally [Lehnert 1980: 87], for example, by interpreting a text. The topic of scenario is a kind of activity which refers an aim to the way of its reaching. The slots are the models of separate actions, their sequence and order. So, frame can be viewed a as a net consisting of the knots and connections between them. The “upper levels” of the frames are clearly determined as soon as they are formed by the notions which are always fair for the supposed situation. The lower levels have many special tops- terminal, which must be filled with the characteristic examples or data.


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Subject, aims and connection of lexicology with other sciences. | 

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