The article is devoted to the correlation between concepts of mentality and language worldview in modern linguistics. Further in the article we put definitions of language worldview and give our own definition of the term. The part of the article dedicated to the mentality also provides definitions of the concept, indicates the relative novelty of studying the mentality of a nation within language sciences, it also provides a comparison of the given concepts.
Keywords: mentality, language worldview, expansionism, hypothesis of linguistic relativity, conceptualization.
Статья посвящена соотношению понятий «менталитет» и «языковая картина мира» в современной лингвистике. В работе освещаются основные подходы к вопросу о языковой картине мира, приводятся определения языковой картины мира и дается собственная дефиниция этого понятия. В части статьи, посвященной менталитету, также даются определения понятия, указывается относительная новизна изучения менталитета народа при изучении языковых явлений и проводится сравнение интересующих нас понятий.
Ключевые слова: менталитет, языковая картина мира, экспансионизм, гипотеза лингвистической относительности, концептуализация.
The principle of expansionism the most relevant for this work, that is, the removal of boundaries between scientific fields. With the rapid development of modern science, the latest achievements in the field of information technology and technology, scientists cannot limit themselves to one particular area of knowledge, so as not to lose the opportunity to compile the most complete picture of the phenomenon under study. To obtain the most objective and accurate data, the linguist must take into account the work of psychologists, neuropsychologists, anthropologists, physiologists, culturologists and other specialists. That is why we consider it necessary to consider the concept of «mentality» in conjunction with the concept of «language worldview» within the framework of linguistics.
The concept of «language worldview», introduced by L. Weissgerber, but illuminated even earlier in the works of W. Humboldt, has been studied by linguists for more than a dozen years. However, a clear understanding of how it is formed, how it affects the world perception of a person, as long as there is not even a single glance at the definition of this concept. Below we briefly give the main approaches to this problem and give our definition. The founder of the study of the language worldview is rightly considered the great German scientist W. Humboldt, who paid much attention to the concept of «the spirit of the people», his peculiarities for each nation, the role of language in the formation of the nation. The philosopher urged to take into account those individual ways in which each language influences thoughts and feelings, because «in the language we always find an alloy of a primordially linguistic character with what is perceived by the language from the nature of the nation» [1, p.450].
Trying to establish the relationship between the language and the spirit of the people, Humboldt comes to the conclusion that they arise simultaneously and together constitute a single activity of the intellectual power of the people. And their connection is so strong that one can be derived from another. It seems that we could replace the combination of «the spirit of the people» with the word «mentality». In this case, we get a surprisingly modern view of cognitivistics — language is the main means of access to human consciousness.
Continuing to develop the thought of W. Humboldt, another prominent German scholar L.Weissgerber in his article «The Connection Between the Native Language, Thinking and Action» (1930) writes the following: «The vocabulary of a particular language includes, in general, a set of linguistic signs, means available to the language community; and as each native speaker studies this vocabulary, all members of the language community acquire these thinking tools; in this sense it can be said that the possibility of a native language is that it contains in its concepts but a certain worldview that is passed on to all members of the language community " [2, p.232].
Without denying the influence of the language worldview on our thinking, we must at the same time point to the priority of the non-linguistic (nonverbal) way of cognizing before linguistic, in which not language, but the object itself sets our direction. The primary role in the modern view of the problem of the language worldview was played by the hypothesis of the linguistic relativity of Sapir-Whorf, but not in its original version. Originally, the views of scientists were formulated as follows: language is a guiding factor in the cognitive activity of its bearers. It is language that determines how a person divides the world, how human thinking categorizes reality. The proof was now given to textbook examples of the empty inscription on a gasoline tank, the snow symbols of the Eskimos, and the temporary categories in the Hopi language.
However, this approach turned out to be too radical and was softened to the so-called «weak» form of the hypothesis that language is only one factor that influences how we share reality. As the distinguished scientist E. S. Kubryakova in the work «Language and knowledge», «the speaker has a relative freedom of choice. After all, different language forms are chosen or created by the speaker, first, in a certain type of discourse, they are correlated; secondly, with a certain social activity of a person; thirdly, they are conditioned by a certain mental state of the person himself and by what type of language personality he is and what duties he has. But no less significant factor in this choice is the resources that are actually presented in his native language, and they lead to the obligatory transfer of certain grammatical categories adopted in the system of his native language, the ways of the existing methods of modeling secondary nomination units, etc. " [3, p.560].
So, we examined the main views on the language worldview, and then we are interested in how modern researchers define this phenomenon. Definitions of the concept of «language worldview» can be found in a great many, we give only some of them:
– according to A. K. Brutyanu, the language worldview — this is all information about the external and internal world, fixed by means of living, spoken languages, the main thing in it is knowledge fixed in words and phrases of specific spoken languages [4, p.107–114];
– Y. N. Karaulov gives a definition of the language worldview: " language worldview is taken in all the totality of the entire conceptual content of a given language» [5, p.356];
– according to Y. D. Apresyan, the language worldview «represents ways of perception and conceptualization of the world reflected in natural language» [6, p.256]. That is, the tools that a specific language offers the speaker for describing reality and which can vary depending on the language.
This enumeration can be continued indefinitely. We also adhere to the following definition, proposed by the professor of Moscow State University A. A. Dzhioeva: «The language worldview is a historically formed system of ideas about the world, a certain way of conceptualizing reality in the minds of a given language community which is reflected in the language» [7, p.45–56]. We have chosen this definition, because, in our opinion, it most clearly reflects the essence of the language worldview, its historical nature and the fact that each folk has its own ideas about the world.
Arguing about the language worldview, one cannot fail to mention such a notion as «mentality». At first glance, these concepts may seem synonymous, but this is not entirely true. We will give a number of definitions of the mentality and try to see the common in them all, and then compare the results with the definition of the language worldview we use. With all the diversity of definitions of mentality in science, we are most attracted by such definitions that bring it closer to the concept of the picture of the world. Such definitions include the following:
– «mentality is a complex image of the internal picture of the world reflecting the culture of society»;
– «mentality is a model of the world inherent in the ordinary consciousness of people belonging to the same ethnic group»;
– according to the Great Encyclopedic Dictionary, «mentality is a way of thinking, a set of mental skills and spiritual attitudes inherent in an individual or a social group»;
– as stated in the Great Explanatory Dictionary of Cultural Studies, «the mentality is a worldview, the worldview formed at a deep mental level of individual or collective consciousness. It arises in the depths of culture, traditions, social institutions, human habitat and is a set of psychological, behavioral attitudes of the individual or social group.
Mentality forms an appropriate cultural picture of the world and largely determines the way of life, human behavior and the form of relations between people ";
G.Gachev defines mentality as a national image of the world. The latter he defines in his turn as follows: «We are not interested in the national character, but in the national view of the world...; what kind of «grid of coordinates» does this people catch the world and accordingly what Cosmos (in the ancient sense of the word: as the order of the world, the world order) is built before its eyes and realized in its style of existence, reflected in art creations and theories of science. This special «turn», in which the being appears to a given people, constitutes the national image of the world. "
The above definitions of mentality can be reduced, in our opinion, to the following definition: «Mentality is a special way of perceiving reality, the result of which is a model of the world reflecting the national characteristics of an ethnos and often determined by its culture and history».
It turns out that the mentality is a culturally and historically conditioned view of the world. Returning to the relationship between the concepts of «mentality» and «language picture of the world» and the definition we have given, we can say that in fact the language picture of the world is the mentality of the people reflected in the language. That is, there can be no equality between these concepts; they work with different aspects of the perception of the world, place different emphases: the mentality with the cultural aspect, and the linguistic picture of the world with the linguistic and cultural aspect.
At the same time, they have a huge intersection area. As you can see from the above definitions, scientists call the mentality of the inner picture of the world or a picture of the world in the mind of a person, which means that we can say that the mentality operates with concepts, both in general and the language picture of the world.
However, these concepts will differ to some extent, although all of them are culturally specific: not all concepts can be expressed in a language, and therefore only a part of them can be linguocultural and form a linguistic picture of the world.
Interestingly, attention to the peculiarities of the mentality in the study of language began to be given not so long ago, in fact and only with the arrival of the paradigm of anthropocentrism. However, despite the general assurances that the role of the mentality in the study of language has become one of the main recently, and that linguoculturology is a young science, it seems to us that this is not quite so. After all, thinking about the mentality cannot help nudging the idea of the famous «spirit of the people» of W. Humboldt, under which, as we have already said, the scientist implies a certain spiritual identity of the nation, that is, its values, traditions, culture, worldview in general. As a result, we see two very close definitions, which means a fairly long history of the work of linguistics with mentality.
At this stage, the study of the relationship between mentality and language is one of the main directions of the development of linguistics. A large number of studies were conducted by A.Vezhbitskaya, who asserts that it is possible to define and study the features of the national character through the language, starting from it, that is, the information about the national character is the result of linguistic analysis, and not its initial premise. As well as W. Humboldt, the researcher believes that language is the key to understanding the mentality of the people, their way of thinking.
Accounting for the peculiarities of the mentality is very important in the selection of adequate language tools. For example, in agitation campaigns, slogans, commercials, because in each specific case it is necessary to achieve the most profound perception of the text, to read all possible connotations. Equally important is the choice of words in teaching the language, explaining the difference in the meanings of the words-correlates, in negotiations, when ignoring the characteristics of the mentality can lead to undesirable consequences.
- Gumbol'dt W. Language and culture philosophy [Iazyk i filosofiia kul'tury] M.: Progress, 1985. p. 450.
- Vajsgerber L. Mother tongue and spirit formation [Rodnoi iazyk i formirovanie dukha] Moscow, Editorial URSS, 2004. p. 232. (Istorija lingvofilosofskoj mysli)
- Kubrjakova E. S. Language and knowledge [Iazyk i znanie] // Ros. akademija nauk. In-t jazykoznanija. Moscow, Jazyki slavjanskoj kul'tury, 2004. p. 560.
- Brutjan G. A. Language and worldview [Iazyk i kartina mira] // NDVSh. Filos. nauki. 1973. № 1. S. 107–114.
- Karaulov Ju.N. General and Russian ideography [Obshchaia i russkaia ideografiia], Moscow, Nauka, 1976. p. 356.
- Maslova V. A. Cognitive linguistics [Kognitivnaia lingvistika] // V. A. Maslova. Moscow, TetraSistems, 2004. p. 256.
- Dzhioeva A. A. English mentality through key words: Understatement [Angliiskii mentalitet skvoz' prizmu kliuchevykh slov: Understatement] // Vestnik MGU. Ser. 19. Lingvistika i mezhkul'turnaja kommunikacija. № 3. 2006. p. 45–56.