The nature and essence of language is usually viewed from the perspective of functional, systemic-structural, comparative-historical linguistics, linguosemiotics, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics and pragmalinguistics. However, none of these sciences important for linguistics is able to reveal the essence of implicit links between language and culture. For this, a linguoculturological theory is needed that would clarify the nature of linguistic phenomena associated with the mechanisms that ensure the action of the human factor in the language. In this regard, the concepts of culture that are constructed not so much as empirical, systemic, anthropological or epistemological theories of culture, but as informational-activity ones deserve special attention. The special role of language in several other semiotic systems serving the culture is determined by the fact that it serves as a prerequisite for its emergence, the main mode of existence, awareness and development. Since culture and language relate to the mentality of the people, it becomes necessary to comprehend the problem of the relationship between culture and language with mental categories.
The problem of the correlation of linguistic and ethnocultural consciousness has long attracted the attention of linguists, psychologists, and social scientists. The complexity of the solution to this problem is explained by serious disagreements of scientists in the interpretation of the concepts of “language” and “culture” themselves. At the same time, we mean not only and not so much the external conditions for the existence of the language, but rather the linguistic ways and means of expressing everything that is connected with the activity of a certain ethnic-language collective that are internally determined by the nature of a person. Information — activity specifics of human society consists in the presence of special systems for the accumulation, storage and transmission of collective information, the most important of which is language. Moreover, language serves as a prerequisite for the emergence of culture, the main way of its existence, awareness and development. It is the language that is the main condition and means of fulfillment by the culture of its basic functions.
A system of reasoned interpretation of the language-culture relationship can only be built if the missing element is recreated — consciousness. The fact is that the main components of the content of culture — the accumulation and processing of information obtained in the process of human activity, are functions of public consciousness. It creates images of everyday consciousness, and the secondary transformation of mental content serves as a source of creative worldview, developing forms of primary development of the world. Images of ordinary consciousness are formed by both verbal and non-verbal means. Creative transformation of experimental data is carried out mainly through linguo-creative thinking. In this regard, it is necessary to distinguish between the concepts of “cognitive consciousness” and “linguistic consciousness”. The first includes the results of cognition, and the second — in addition to the mental, integrates other forms of reflection of the world around us — emotional, aesthetic, expressive-evaluative, etc.
Are all elements of consciousness a product of cultural activity? Yes, consciousness and culture form a monolithic unity. However, there are still very controversial issues in this regard. Consider in this connection two main points of view.
The first is verbal. According to the long prevailing concept in linguistics, cognitive structures and language categories are in direct identity relations. In other words, everything that is verbalized by the signs of the natural language (since it is filtered by speech and selected by consciousness) turns out to be culturally significant. This allows us to consider language, thinking, consciousness and culture as different hypostases of a single linguistic entity.
The second is averbalistic, according to which it is considered that thought is present in the speaker’s mind before the process of verbalization begins, and it is embodied in a special symbolic material, different from the verbal sign. They argue that there is a special universal “language” of thought, a kind of mediators of thought, called by them a universal subject code or innate cognitive primitives.
The linguoculturological value of the discussion between verbalists and averbalists is that they interpret the mechanisms of categorization and conceptualization of the world in different ways. This is manifested in an understanding of the relationship between language and worldview. According to the verbalist concept, there is a single picture of the world, and there is no point in talking about the presence of a linguistic picture of the world. From the point of view of averbalists, the concept of “linguistic picture of the world” is basic for linguoculturology, since it divides and structures it in a special way, thus correcting the conceptualization and categorization of reality. Meanwhile, it should be noted that the theory of the linguistic picture of the world is based on the postulates about the invariance of cognitive and variability of the linguistic categories involved in the formation of the linguistic picture of the world. With the verbalist approach, language is deprived of one of its most important functions — interpretive. It remains only a means of fixing, storing and transmitting information, and the mechanisms of interaction of linguistic and cultural semiotics are beyond the scope of research attention. We should not forget that language is one of the iconic interpreters and a mediator between the subject of knowledge and the world around it. Differences in the worldview of different ethnic communities are more or less related to differences in their cultures and languages. In addition, this should be taken as a proven fact. One can only discuss the importance of one and the other in the process of cognition of the world, their role and mechanisms in the categorization and conceptualization of reality.
Since both culture and language are connected with the mentality of the people, it becomes necessary to comprehend the problem of the relationship between culture and language with mental categories.
Of particular cultural significance in linguosemiotics is the basic substantial unit of generalization, storage and transmission of social experience — meaning in its broad, philosophical understanding. Cognitive units can be stored in our minds outside its verbalization. This is the unconscious that is outside the «bright zone” of consciousness, i.e. cognitive consciousness. It can be explicated if it becomes linguistic. In this case, we are dealing with linguistic consciousness, which is not identical to cognitive. Both types of substantive units participate in the formation and representation of the semantic space of ethnic culture. At the same time, language also participates in the formation and fixation of public consciousness, otherwise it could not have performed a cognitive-discursive function. Language does not know the world, it reflects the whole diversity of man’s creative activity, the results of which are fixed in language, it expresses an infinite variety of conditions in which a person acquired knowledge about the world — the natural characteristics of a people, its social structure, historical fate, life practice. Cognitive and linguistic consciousness are two components of social consciousness. The first integrates encyclopedic knowledge, the second uses verbalized knowledge. As a result of transmutation from encyclopedic knowledge through linguistic presuppositions to linguistic consciousness, artifacts specific to each national culture are formed — linguistic images, symbols, signs, embodying the results of the heuristic activity of the entire ethnocultural community.
Image as a product of perception and understanding of the world is a category of consciousness. Being included in the speech-cognitive process, it turns into a linguistic image — a category of linguistic consciousness, in the context of which it enters into new associative relations necessary for linguistic modeling of a phenomenon of national culture, for the formation of a linguistic picture of the world in the form of figurative representations. In this regard, the concepts of “figurative field” and “image” may prove valuable for linguoculturological comprehension of signs of secondary nomination. The figurative field is structured by the relations of linguistic figurative means, which in the discourse are:
1) syntagmatic relations of stylistic units of different levels of text,
2) paradigmatic associative relations of figurative means of micro- and macro context,
3) inter-level relations of figurative means of text and their stylistic actualization. A figurative field is a collection of figurative means denoting the same denotation. A linguistic image is a combination of figurative means of a language denoting a single sign. If the figurative field is manifested by signs of the secondary nomination, then the language image is created by the signs of the indirectly derived nomination. The linguistic means of its representation are idioms, trails and stable stylistic figures.
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