THE RUSSIAN LANGUAGE THROUGH THE CODES OF CULTURAL LINGUISTICS

Abstract


At present humanities can be characterized by transition from explicit to implicit knowledge, or to the depth of knowledge. One of these implicit categories is meaning. A combination of sign and meaning builds up the basis on which a basic unit of knowledge is created. Scholars use a variety of terms for naming these units of knowledge. We admit the term code as the most appropriate for us. The author presents her own definition of the term. Linguistic cultural codes set the world picture and occupy the central place in the national cultural space, at the same time being a means of structuring cultural knowledge.

At present humanities can be characterized by transition from explicit to implicit knowledge, or to the depth of knowledge, approaches to which began to be looked for with regard to the connection of scientific, philosophical, artistic and religious approaches (see Yu.S. Stepanov’s works). One of these implicit categories is meaning. It has been found out that a combination of a sign and meaning builds up the basis on which a basic unit of knowledge is created. These units build up linguistic awareness. Scholars use a variety of terms for naming these units of knowledge: lingvokulturema (V.V. Vorob’jov), kulturema (V.G. Gak), logoepistema (V.G. Kostomarov, E.M. Vereshchagin), informema(V.V. Morkovkin), concept (Yu.S. Stepanov), etc. We admit the term code as the most appropriate for us as it is widely used in a number of study fields which are both humanities and sciences. Ex.: in Computer Science, Cybernetics, Mathematics, Biology, Genetics, Cultural Studies, Folklore, Semiotics, Cultural Linguistics, Psycholinguistics, etc. Despite the fact that the term code is so widespread, it does not have a clear and unambiguous definition.In terms of modern dictionaries the code is something which organizes, regulates and unifies our life. Therefore, R. Barthes said “…man feels the world’s reassuring orderliness thanks to the code...” [4. P. 7].Traditionally, in linguistics, the term code is equivalent to the terms system of signs, language. The concept of code in semiotics, where linguistics borrowed it from, is based on the relevance of the signified to the signifier. In some fields the term code is treated as synonymous with the terms cipher, for example, in Genetics. Coding is understood as encryption and decoding as decryption.Taking the fact that our common language does not tolerate absolute synonyms, the terminological meaning of synonymous use is even less appropriate.We come to recognize the code from the standpoint of Cultural Linguistics. At present in Cultural Linguistics the term cultural code is also defined differently. For example,V.N. Telija, M.L. Kovshova, D.B. Gudkov identify cultural codes as secondary signsystems, and culture is understood as a space of cultural codes which are secondary sign systems [6. P. 61].M.V. Pimenova believes that “cultural code is a macro system of characteristics ascribed to world picture objects, united by a common categorical feature” [13. P. 41].Most linguists emphasize the matrix nature of coding. R. Barthes identifies codes as a cell network, which is by throwing in a text can reveal information of different coding levels [3. P. 20]. V.V. Krasnykh also identifies the culture code as “grid” that culture “throws over the world, categorizes, structures and evaluates it” [7. P. 232].Following V.N. Telija, we understand culture as a space of cultural codes. Since the space, according to cognitologists, is not recognized through the coordinate system, but through the relationships that exist between objects in space, we determine the cultural code as a deep cultural space, “container” in which different linguistic entities receive different cultural meanings by filling and thus forming the code [11. P. 30].The container image schema was first introduced by M. Johnson to illustrate the structuring of human experience. It is based on the juxtaposition of what is inside of something (IN) with what is outside or out of something (OUT) [9. P. 271]. The container metaphor is of universal character with the help of which not only man is represented as a living organism but also the world in which he lives, or the sphere that is included in the scope of the universe, and language as a container (receptacle) of information about the culture and mentality of the language community. This kind of metaphor is re- presented by units of different levels: the word and its parts, separate parts of speech (prepositions, adverbs), syntactic constructions, etc.In Russian linguistics the major contribution to the study of container metaphor was made by the representatives of the cognitive fields of study, e.g. E.S. Kubrjakova,E.E. Golubkova, E.V. Rakhilina and others. According to E.S. Kubrjakova, “the idea of the container is schematized and extremely simplified diagrammatic representation of the universe..., the idea of ‘empty space’, which contains all the objects selected by man - both material and ideal” [8. P. 482]. This conceptual metaphor can be used to interpret the world (universe) and language, man and society. So one of the most characteristic features of linguistic and philosophic reflection about language is the appeal to the spatial image where language is understood as mental, real, communicative, spiritual dimensions.So, the code makes it possible to create a holistic view of man, language and culture. We believe that any language can be described through codes, and this is another way of describing a language which has the right to exist along with its systemic and structural description or its description through a set of concepts [12]. The entire repertoire of values, norms of behaviors, actions and states of a person can be described in a specific linguistic culture with any code. For example, the zoomorphic code: glukhoj kak teterev ‘deaf as a black grouse’ (completely deaf); gol kak sokol ‘poor as a falcon’ (poor); doshlo kak do zhirafa ‘it comes up as if one’s were a giraffe’ (a slow thinker); kozhel otpushchenija ‘scapegoat’ (a person who is made to bear blame for others); polzti kak ulitka ‘crawl like a snail’ (to move slowly); kotu pod khvost ‘down the cat’s tail’ (to or into the condition of being wasted); medvezh’ja usluga ‘bear’s service’ (service the result of which has the opposite effect), etc.Cultural linguistics of the XXI century is acquiring a new vector of its development [14]. Cultural codes from the perspective of Cultural linguistics are a set of social practicemethods specific to each culture, a set of values and rules of the collective existence, a system of regulatory and evaluative criteria worked out by people, through which a person perceives the world. This is a set of realities which express specific cultural meanings and values. The codes may include units which are not signs of culture but they can become cultural signs when incorporated into the mental space of the code. For example, a stone lying on the road is just a natural object (the first being, according to Aristotle), but if it is transferred to the grave it becomes a sign of culture, namely a monument. Consequently, the objects in the physical world, apart from their direct functions, acquire a sign function in the culture, i.e. they store additional information.Different scholars have put forward various reasons for the classification of codes and distinguish different numbers of them. Thus, R. Barthes identifies the following codes: connotative, natural, artificial, historical, cultural, mixed or pseudoreal, vestimentarny, iconic, verbal [4].N.I. Zhinkin in his research “The Speech as information conductor” mentions the oral code, the inner speech code, the alphabetic code, the universal particular code which requires the transfer of information about any object, its quality combined with many sounds, and the text (denotational) code. According the N.I. Zhinkin, the latter one is the fundamental code [15].When classifying linguistic and cultural codes we assume the idea that any set of sensually perceived objects of reality can be considered as a basis for classification, e.g. flora, fauna the elements of nature, weapons, tools, household utensils, clothes, food, buildings and other artifacts as well as cultural scenarios (labour activities, holiday-making, games, competitions and contests, shows, trading and other social phenomena). Taking into account the mentioned above as well as the investigations made by other researchers, we distinguish the following cultural codes: cosmogonic (byt’ na sed’mom nebe ‘be in the seventh heaven’), somatic (golova kolonna ‘a head of the column’, tretij glaz ‘the third eye’), spatial (shir’ dushi ‘width of the soul’), time (posle vojny ‘after the war’), material (gvozd’ programmy ‘the spike/nail of the show’), floral (anjutiny glazki ‘pansy’), zoomorphic (lions, eagles in heraldry), natural landscape (les ruk ‘a forest of hands’, more obid ‘a sea full of offenses’), architectural (mosty druzhby ‘bridges of friendship’), gastronomic (meod ‘honey’, sol’ zemli ‘salt of the earth’), spiritual (meloserdie ‘mercy’) and others. Thus, the objects of the physical world, apart from their direct functions, acquire the sign function in the culture, i.e. they store and express additional information. The codes are applied to the material of secondary nomination which has been formed by reconsidering the units which have been in existence in the language. For example, the artery as a blood vessel carrying blood, the artery of the country as a symbol of important routes.The spiritual code is of particular interest and complexity at the same time which is the main path to the depth of knowledge. It is an internal subjective code that is displayed in a language as a system of spiritual laws and spiritual values, as well as moral values and standards which have been developed by a nation in the process of its formation. The spirit of the nation (in the terms of V. Humboldt) can be represented through the spiritual code. The space of spiritual cultural codes reflects spiritual and moral needs. Besides, it generates a certain type of ideal man and society of a particular historical period. Speakingabout the spiritual code, the religious code is referred as well, as religion is one of the dominant traits of the Russian national character. Furthermore, the integrity of the nation is determined by religion. Religion is not just how to believe in God, but also a special way of thinking about a nation’s existence, its place in the world.The study of the spiritual code is successfully conducted by A.A. Buevich. The space of the spiritual cultural code is presented as a field structure, in the center of which there are representations of the Absolute God (the Most High, the Almighty, etc.). The periphery closer to the centre includes the key names that can represent spiritual and religious concepts (soul, salvation, wines, etc.). The far periphery is made up of two levels. At the first level there are national values (love, kindness, mercy, etc.), spiritual and moral principles, laws, regulations (do not kill, do not commit adultery and others), ethical norms of behavior which are displayed in a language (repentance, prayer, charity and others). At the second level of the periphery there found a collection of sacred, religious and philosophical texts (Bible, Gospel, Psalter, catechism and others); a big layer of religious vocabulary (altar, chalice, unleavened bread, bell, church, the clergy and others) [5].A system of cultural codes is open to change. The norms of behavior in society change over time, the cultural code also changes. It is possible to confirm the change by observing the relationship of man to the family and family values at the turn of the millennium. The mentioned above means that the development of the cultural code is always followed by the process of values reconsidering.Studying language codes, it is important to understand the mechanism of how real objects of the physical world (bridge, axe, nail, eagle, etc.) and under.), apart from their direct functions, acquire the sign function in the culture, i.e. express additional information. How is this phenomenon to be explained from the pragmatic point of view? Why does man need it? It seems a person experiences a kind of ontological need for a continuous game with the signifier and the signified. And this is due not to pragmatics, but rather because of aesthetic necessity. Using linguistic cultural codes is a special ability ascribed to a human being.The linguistic cultural code is associated with a number of other entities, e.g. concept, value, basic metaphor. Let’s try to differentiate them.If the code is associated with the trope, then may it be a basic metaphor in terms ofG. Lakoff? The term has been well known for a long time. It has been in a long use in Cognitive Linguistics, and thus the term cultural code simply duplicates it in another system of terms (Cultural linguistics)?The metaphor in the book by J. Lakoff and M. Johnson “Metaphors We Live by” is regarded as a universal. By developing their theory of metaphor, they stated: “The metaphor permeates our daily lives, and not only a language, but also a thought and an action. Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we think and act, is metaphorical in nature” [10]. According to their theory, man looks for a metaphor to implement more accurately an “abstract” concept in their mind which exists and which does not exist. Therefore, many modern scholars suggest the metaphor as a means of presenting reality [2]. And in this respect the code is similar to the metaphor. As a lot can be expressed through codes, it should be admitted that a lot can be expressed with the help of themetaphor, e.g. the orientation metaphors in many cultures can express physical, emotional states of a person, as well as one’s social and official position [10].The tendency towards the modelling of social phenomena on the of biological basis; the expression of mental states through natural phenomena, and the moral qualities of man are displayed through an appeal to the animal world, e.g. zakat zhizni ‘the sunset of life’, utro zhizni ‘the morning of life’, serdce rodiny ‘the heart of the homeland’, arterii strany ‘the arteries of the country’, khitraja lisa ‘a cunning fox’; a shepherd is the leader, and the herd are his subjects. In this case, the metaphor is the epitome of sophisticated linguistic thinking patterns. And this is also similar to the code.As noted by F. Nietzsche, language consists exclusively of metaphors, the permanent creation of which is a basic human instinct. Spatial and spherical metaphors are the most important in science: biosphere and noosphere by V.I. Vernadskij, fonologosfera byP. Florenskij, semiosphere by Yu.M. Lotman, concept sphere by D.S. Likhachev, space by Yu.S. Stepanov. These metaphors represent a generative model for many disciplines. Hence, the metaphor is a model of the output knowledge, model of hypotheses. It seems the code does not posess this property.The metaphor bears the transition from latent, unobservable entities to observable ones (human emotions are compared with water or fire, e.g. lubov’ vspykhnula ‘be burnt with love’). Such basic metaphors are not numorous. For example, according toE.S. Kubrjakova, there are only 6 of them; on the contrary one can count a few dozen codes.According to N.D. Arutjunova, if an image and meaning merge in a metaphor, an appeal to the imagination is observed but not to knowledge [1. P. 5-32]. E.g. sumasshedshaja stonet siren’ ‘the crazy lilac is moaning’, more pojet ‘the sea is singing’, more - dirizher ‘the sea is a conductor’ (Zabolockij).Therefore, it must be stated that the cultural code is not identical to the concept of metaphor or another trope. It is filled with special meaning and it is related to the archetypal representations of the Russian culture. Many tropes, like metaphor, metonymy, personification and others can be explained with the help of cultural codes. These codes are universal. Their reconstruction based on a language will help to recreate the peculiarities of perception and understanding of the natural phenomena by man.Thus, the ratio of code and metaphor has a dialectical character. Formally the code can coincide with the metaphor, or it can broader or narrower than the metaphor. But whatever form the code develops, it tends to preserve its metaphorical nature.The linguistic cultural code overlaps with cultural concepts and cultural values that make up the core of culture. Values comprise the central category of culture (P.A. Sorokin), and the uniqueness of value systems is a determining factor in cultural differences(E.S. Markarjan, Yu.V. Bromlej, Yu.M. Lotman); they perform the basic categories in the formation of the world picture (Yu.N. Karaulov) and the conceptual sphere as a set of concepts.Consequently, a number of terms are intersected with codes, like metaphors, values, concepts. For example, values form the basis of both concepts and codes.Thus, linguistic cultural codes set the world picture and occupy the central place in the national cultural space, at the same time being a means of structuring culturalknowledge. They are of ontological nature. Codes permeate our whole being and language, generate our mentality, determine behavior and activities. Linguistic cultural codes possess cultural identity. Every carrier of national culture and language from an early age learns the codes along with their native language, so language can be studied through the prism of codes.

V A Maslova

P.M. Masherov’s Vitebsk State University

Moskovskiy Av., 33, Vitebsk, 210038

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