Autochthonous synergy of Russian literary discourse

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The paper is aimed at describing the convergent effect of the interaction of several linguistic consciousness sense-forming channels, when their joint nonlinear impact significantly exceeds the total potential of individual elements of discursive activity. The texts of Russian Chernozem region writers are studied. The novelty of the research is that the role of the conjugate work of creative and receptive minds forming the two levels of autochthonous text-generating discourse (immanent and representative) is revealed and evaluated. It is proved that the efficient mechanism of autochthonous text generation is the synergy of the discursive-modus concept - the phenomenon of nonlinear discursive activity. The idea is substantiated that immersion in the synergistic architectonics of the discursive-modus concept opens the way to understanding the playful origin of the author's linguistic consciousness: his abilities through the system of content (aesthetic, modal, expressive, etc.) and formal linguistic means to embody the strategic vision in a unique, non-trivial and creative way. The paper proposes a compromise solution to distinguish between the synergy of averbal (naive, trivial, folk concepts that have not yet undergone the processes of linguocreative semiosis) and verbal (linguistic) concepts. This served as the platform for applying a linguo-epistemic approach to regional literary concept which allows to implement the convergent synergy of two types of concepts, thereby contributing to understanding the literary discourse as the cognitive basis of text generation process.

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Literary discourse (hereinafter – LD) is an integral product of the verbal-thinking activity of two minds (creative and receptive), a virtual model of the generated text. The first one belongs to the author of a Russian literary text (RLT), providing his multifaceted activity to translate thought into a text; the second – to the perceiving subject (reader, listener or learner). The choice of the anthropocentrism principle as the methodological framework of the study is due to the essence of discursive consciousness (Alefirenko, 2019: 14; Alefirenko, Shakhputova, 2020). The embodiment of thought in the text is carried out by discursive consciousness with the help of a certain pre-textual modeling mechanism.

In the center of verbal and literary space of discursive thinking is a person: the recipient himself (listener or reader), the author and characters in a particular subject environment. In other words, verbal and literary space is anthropocentric and objective. This principle presupposes the actualization of such an important category for verbal and literary creativity as autochthonous creative discursive consciousness. The consciousness of a text-generating subject is based on ethno-linguistic autochthonousness, spontaneously built into the episteme (Alefirenko, 2019), cultural and cognitive a priori, which sets the conditions for forming the linguo-ethno-cultural architectonics of text.

Receptive consciousness is based on heuristic properties of the autochthonous episteme in interpreting the perceived text. The heuristic power of an episteme comes from its “transfinite” (transfinit; from the Latin trans – ‘change’ and finis – ‘end’) nature of the text’s perception. In other words, the transfinite perception of text is boundless and endless, due to changes in linguistic consciousness (Ludwig, 2003: 14–37; Miller, 2000; Filips, Iorgensen, 2004; Chrzanowska-Kluczewska, 2017; McCarthy, Goldman, 2019; Hirsch, 2005), for example, under the influence of the affective background of the text’s perception.

Thus, the creative (author’s) and receptive (reader’s) consciousness contains a heuristic mechanism for RLT generation and semantic perception. This kind of synergistic mechanism, which consists of heterogeneous (verbal and non-verbal) systems, forms heuristic and receptive linguistic epistemes that generate a single (integral) model of a communicative event (CE). The “building material” of such a text-generating model is (a) the autochthonous system of native Russian language and (b) the speculative construction of a communicative event.

The synergy of regional literary discourse is the result of convergence of several text-generating mechanisms surpassing the entire set of individual discourse sources. The original synergy determines the uniqueness of ethno-cultural conditionality of literary picture of the world. Due to its synergy, the regional discourse constructs the figurative embodiment of a communicative event in RLT in a relief and original way. As a result, such features of synergistic discourse, the figurative canvas of the discursively generated RLT explicates the idiostylistic portrait of the author. The content of synergetic discourse includes everything that forms the value-semantic core of any ethnically marked text. The synergy of regional discourse synthesizes the “personal thesaurus” of individual regional writers into a single cognitive-pragmatic module. It contributes to verbal and figurative realization of ethnic virtuality (inclinations, abilities, possibilities of vital representations), features of literary embodiment of regional picture of the world).

The purpose of the article is to substantiate the status of autochthonous discourse as a synergistic mechanism for generating a literary text.

Methods and materials

A method of discursive-synergistic analysis of regional RLT has been developed, which includes an analysis of the external (historical and cultural) and internal context (techniques of micro-contextual analysis) on the example of structure and stages of forming the regional concepts, as well as methods of their linguistic representation. Within the framework of the two types of context, the historical-cultural and intra-text channels of synergistic formation and interpretation the semantic content of LD are revealed. A discursive-contextual technique designed to identify the synergy of autochthonous discourse, the elements of which make up the semantic structure of a communicative event in RLT, is used. The material of the study is the digest combining the texts of the writers of the ‘russkoe Chernozem’e region’ (Black Earth Region) (I.A. Bunin, the famous poet-hieromonk Roman, S.S. Bekhteev, V. Kalutsky, V. Fedorov and others)1. This method explicates the pre-textual speech-thinking in discursive consciousness of the immanent and representative type.


The scientific significance of the research is predetermined by converging discursive-synergistic and narrative epistemology in relation to the constructive mechanism of discursive-pragmatic text generation as a complex speech-thinking category. First of all, these are such epistemological phenomena as knowledge of the real picture of world described in RLT, the author’s judgments and assumptions, value-evaluative installations determining the fundamental way of discursive generation of RLT, the nature of virtual existence of event realities when interpreting the semantic content of the generated and perceived narrative. It can be argued that the cognitive basis of LD is the communicative event itself, and its constructive elements are the underpinnings of the experienced situation: the subjects of discursive activity and illocatively realized performativity (the pragmatic component of the semantic content of RLT).

This component reflects the author’s intentions which in the context of verbalized events create a semantic and pragmatic situation for generating a text of social, interpersonal and communicative nature. In addition to event elements, the LD includes non-eventual components. These are (a) the circumstances that accompany the events; (b) the cultural and historical panorama in which this event is described; (c) the axiological judgments of the characters who embody the author’s intentions in the event scenario, etc. As a result of the combined work of creative and receptive consciousness, two levels of text-generating discourse are formed: immanent and representative.

The main stimulus for autochthonous text generation is the discursive-modus concept, the uniqueness of which is determined by its secondary formation. We distinguish between (a) concepts of pre-verbal origin and (b) concepts of a discursively derived type. This understanding of discourse allows to consider it as a cognitive substrate of RLT.


  1. Discursive panorama of communicative-pragmatic activity

In the light of the implemented approach, RLT is a holistic utterance (language in action) or a speech work, which is a product of the speech-thinking activity of two minds: creative (belonging to the author of RLT who realizes his multifaceted activity to translate his thoughts into text) and receptive (that belongs to the perceiving subject). The linguocreative consciousness transmits the thought into the text with a certain modeling mechanism. R. Langacker (Langacker, 1990; Van Hoek et al., 1999; Fairclough, 2009; Duranti, 1997; Foley, 1997; Muddiman, Stroud, 2017) mentioned that the linguocreative consciousness of text-generating subject was based on ethno-linguistic autochthonousness spontaneously built into the episteme as cultural-cognitive a priori, which sets the conditions for forming the linguo-ethno-cultural architectonics of text (Van Hoek et al., 1999; Fairclough, 2009).

The fundamental basis for receptive consciousness is the autochthonous episteme since it is connected with the nature of text perception. This perception is quite infinite due to changes in language consciousness, as A. Ludwig states (Ludwig, 2003: 14–37). This statement is based on V.F. Petrenko’s experiment (Petrenko, 2005) described in the book “Fundamentals of Psychosemantics” (Petrenko, 2005). According to the experiment results, the semantics of a word, as a rule, reflects relations in the language system and through these relations reveals its discursive essence. In this regard, the experiences of CE and the associative connections transform the mental lexicon of the author’s consciousness (Petrenko, 2005: 55).

Involving itself into the communicative consciousness of the author of the text, the synergy of autochthonous system of the native language and the speculative construction of the CE forms a pretext structure. In this structure, the units of the autochthonous linguistic consciousness are undergone to pragmatic changes under the influence of mental scheme of CE subjects. This confirms the idea that the lexicon, forming a discursive consciousness, modifies connections and relationships in the conceptual sphere of the generated text (Luriya, 1982; Piters, 2017; Miall, Kuiken, 1994; Genovesi, 2020; Gee, 2005).

This kind of mental model of CE in modern cognitive linguopoetics is usually called immanent discourse. It is characterized by the fact that it articulates meaning within consciousness. Texts generated by immanent discourse have an internal semantic connection. A high level of representativeness is inherent in immanent (internal) discourse. As a result, at verbalization stage internal discourse is transformed into external one. If the inner discourse is built by linguistic epistemes stored in linguistic memory, then the outer one is constructed in the process of text generation. A representative discourse is by its nature a verbalized fragment of a real event. This actualizes all the elements of a communicatively significant event in the communicative consciousness, and as a result language signs for text generation are selected (Levitsky, Savchuk, 2007: 173). Consequently, a text-generating discourse is formed.

  1. Russian literary text in the light of discursive consciousness

With the help of discursive consciousness, speech-thinking (pre-textual) work of discursive consciousness of immanent and representative type is carried out. N.I. Zhinkin introduced into the text generation theory the units of the object-pictorial code with help of which the immanent stage of discursive activity is implemented (Ludwig, 2003; Miller, 2000). At the representative stage, discursive consciousness operates with units of thought code (Kolesov, 2007). It is worth noting that at the representative level the author’s ideas about the corresponding fragments of the real picture of world are objectified and transmitted to the reader. The forms of this representation are sequentially located statements connected by a common theme, main idea and semantic completeness. RLT should be investigated and studied from the point of view of (a) the author’s logic and (b) the logic of the reader’s perception. This two-sided approach immerses oneself in the intellectual and emotional context and interprets the main mechanisms of discursive consciousness (Bakhtin, 1979).

The presented understanding of regional CD synergy opens the way to comprehending (a) the work of discursive consciousness forming structural dominant of the generated RLT; (b) interpersonal dialogue – CE displayed in the semantic structure of the text, in which, as M.M. Bakhtin argued, the living energy of the Russian text and its true essential characteristic are concentrated (Bakhtin, 1979). This is explained by the fact that the discourse modeling CE objectifies the synergy of two minds embodied in the RLT (Askoldov, 1997; Likhachev, 1997; Kneepkens, Zwaan, 1994; Salzmann, 1993).

Mental modeling of verbal and literary discourse is one of the main phenomena of linguistic creative reality. A person certainly encounters it when, being involved in the world of RLT, he begins to interpret the world image created by the writer and to compare it with the “context” of the subjectively perceived picture of the world. Furthermore, the human world picture is expanded by the picture of the world of linguistic cultures related to ethnogenesis. For that result, the verbal and literary discourse is formed in the process of converging the autochthonous (from ancient Greek αὐτός “oneself” + χθών “earth”) – indigenous, local – ethnogenetic-related linguistic-cultural – synergy of folk spirituality.

Understanding the meaning-generating springs of autochthonous worldview shows the origins of traditional linguistic culture and explication of its most linguo-creative spiritual (religious and secular) life meanings, which form the foundation for our spiritual and moral identity (religious and folk-poetic nature). The discursively interpreted thought fixed in RLT in the form of a conjugated chain of ethno-cultural symbols forms the mental framework of RLT based on a regional concept.

It should be noted that the regional concept is a point of intersection of linguistic cognition with the experience of extra-linguistic development of the world, when discursive activity contributes to the realization of the speech-thinking pre-text work of the discursive consciousness, of immanent and representative type.

The basic doctrine for studying the synergy of autochthonous discourse of RLT is the cognitive-communicative postulates of Teun van Dijck (Van Dijk, Kintsch, 1983; Van Dijk, 1998) according to which discourse is considered as a complex speech-thinking category synthesizing constructive mechanisms of text generation. Thus, concepts of preverbal origin, in fact, became the initial object of particular attention (Askoldov, 1997; Likhachev, 1997; Muddiman, Stroud, 2017; Uberman, 2016, etc.). The concepts of pre-verbal nature were presented mainly metaphorically as a “foggy cloud”, a “germ” of thought, etc. Then came the period of understanding the mechanisms of their verbalization (Kolesov, 2007). Even statements that all concepts are verbal appeared (Petrenko, 2005; Stepanov, 1995, 1997). Soon a compromise solution was suggested to distinguish between averbal (naive, everyday concepts that have not yet undergone the processes of linguocreative semiosis) and verbal concepts (Alefirenko et al., 2020; Golovanova, Pankratova, 2015; Miall, Kuiken, 1994; Kabakova, 1993).

The cognitive mechanism that forms regional concepts as an immanent discourse is projected by the types of the subject-pictorial code, and the elements of the thought code are constructed by types of representative discourse (Alefirenko, 2019; Kolesov, 2007). These include inner speech, operating with concepts, inner words, and predicates.

According to V.V. Kolesov, the concept is the “grain of the first meaning”, which serves as the semantic “germ” of a verbal sign (Kolesov, 2007). The inner word is a microcosm of consciousness, the embodiment of reason, the operator of the first meaning, the logoepisteme – representation of the object of thought in the discursive consciousness in the form of an image. The inner word is a kind of two-faced Janus: on the one hand, with the help of thought, it brings it gets closer to the image, and on the other hand, it is connected with the speech sign (outer word). In a generalized form, the cognitive mechanism of conceptualization that forms regional concepts is presented in Figure.

Consequently, the choice of a certain method and perspective of seeing the world in the analysis of regional concepts presupposes the possibility of evaluating facts through the prism of the realization of the inner word with the help of the outer word. For instance, in the story “Night” by I.A. Bunin, the “seed of primal meaning” (“zerno pervosmysla”) is described: “What am I thinking about? I decided to try with my mind everything that is done under the sun; but God gave this difficult task to the sons of men to torment themselves. God created people rationally, but, alas, people started to get very fancy.” And the ecclesiast advises fatherly: ‘Do not be too truthful and do not be too philosophical.’ But I am ‘clever’. I am ‘too truthful’.2

Arguing (so far without speech signs) about a particular fragment of the CE, the communicant internalizes (embodies in a verbal sign) only the basic elements of thought that are especially significant for a given CE. Since, as we know, the predicate serves as the main element of thought, it performs the function of linguosemiosis in inner speech. The inner word here acquires a personal, purely subjective meaning, reflecting the life experience of the communicant. Moreover, the inner word includes both elements of thought that receive a verbal signage, and those that create its implicit potential.

The essential characteristic of discursive consciousness

Texts of the second – representative – type reflect an objective view of the corresponding fragments of the real picture of the world. In the novel “The Life of Arseniev”, I.A. Bunin writes: “I am lowering the window. The solar wind blows warmly, steam locomotive smoke smells of coal in the south. She covers her eyes, the sun in hot stripes walks over her face, over the dark young hair playing near her forehead, over a simple chintz dress, dazzlingly illuminating and heating it. In the valleys near Belgorod, sweet modesty of festively blooming cherry orchards, chalk whitewashed huts. At the train station in Belgorod, there is an affectionate patter of hohlushki (Ukrainian women) selling bagels. She buys and bargains, content with her economy, with the use of Little Russian words. In the evening, in Kharkov, we change the road again.”3

The units that structure the autochthonous module of the verbal and literary discourse are literary ethno-concepts capable of representing the linguistic-cultural image of the world. Extracted from ethno-linguistic memory, such concepts are able to act as a building material for new literary meanings (Miller, 2000). This is facilitated by the ontological properties of literary ethno-concepts represented by linguistic means containing regional verbal markers. Such autochthonous properties of ethnoconcepts, causing the categorization of CE elements, on the one hand, determine the regionally marked idiostylistic features of a particular writer, on the other – the specifics of the figurative aura of the ethno-linguistic picture of the world. N. Alefirenko & Z. Shakhputova highlight that “retrospective reproduction of synergistic channels for generating verbal and literary discourse allows us to identify (a) discursive models of the writer’s subjective experience, (b) the internal form of verbal markers of his world outlook, (c) idiostylistic preferences and communicative behavior of an author” (Alefirenko, Shakhputova, 2020: 4–5).

Hence, ethnocultural discourse is a complex communicative-cognitive formation that contains not only poetic texts of regional authors, but also various extralinguistic semantic modules reflected in the texts: ethno-labeled knowledge, socially significant opinions and value attitudes.

The connection of ethno-linguistic consciousness and imaginative thinking is carried out, first of all, through a cognitive metaphor with its meaning determined by the discursive-modus background in the works of regional authors. The background conditions the nature of narrative activity. A verbal metaphor, as our previous studies of RLT (Alefirenko, Nurtazina, 2018) show, being a speech-thinking formation, embodies the meaning of a cognitive metaphor (Tolstoi, 1995; Abdel-Raheem, 2000). The metaphor representing certain associative-semantic images make up the core of ethno-cultural connotation. Primarily, metaphorical formations in the texts of writers of a particular region perform the function of a semantic dominant of the metaphor lexical meaning.

Ethno-cultural connotation is a product of discursive-modus interpretation of the figuratively motivated meaning of a metaphor in the ethno-cultural consciousness. The mechanism of converting the forms of object-sensory reflection into elementary meanings (semes) of metaphorical meaning consists in transforming optional and background features of the primary meaning of the lexeme. These features in the autochthonous discursive consciousness of the author form intentional schemes in which the mental features of the regional concept are focused.

The ethnocultural specifics of regional concepts is reflected in the semantics of linguistic units at all structural levels of the language. A special role, of course, is played by the writer’s lexicon, reflecting his belonging to an autochthonous culture. In LD of the Russian Chernozem’e region writers, the dominant megaconcept is the naive concept of “chernozem”. Cf.: “Belgorod chernozem – butter Christmas cake” (‘sdobnyi rozhdestvenskii pirog’)4. The semantic core of this verbal metaphor is the seme “chernozem”. Autochthonous discursive consciousness generates latent semes (micro-meanings): ‘crumbly’, ‘airy’, ‘rich’ [pie]. The individual author’s combination of metaphorical words in the text of V.U. Kaluzky is the result of emerging a stable network of associative-figurative and expressive evaluative relations in the writer’s autochthonous discursive consciousness caused, on the one hand, by the regional realities (“chernozem is a sweet Christmas pie”), and on the other – by the socio-cultural context of this discursive-modus concept.

The presented connotative and ethnocultural features of stable cognitive epithets characterize the megaconcept “Belgorod land” (richness, friability, fatness), generated by the subject-sensory image “Belgorod chernozem” and transform it into a poetic concept. In the texts of the works of Russian Chernozem region writers, the associative-figurative layer of metaphor is activated with the help of those cognitive epithets that allow the author to express an additional ethno-cultural meaning. A striking example of this is the comparison of chernozem with lard in V. Fedorov’s story “Mars over Kozachy Bor”. This comparison is due to the discursive structure of the description of the the Slobozhansky village life, where lard serves as a symbol of family prosperity. Cf.: “In unknown Belogorsk, the chalk mountains are sugar, and the fatty chernozem is lard”5. This comparison is by no means accidental. The black earth, glossy with fertile components, resembles lard in the writer’s artistic imagination. This, in turn, motivates the epithet “fat chernozem” – a symbol of the fertility of the Slobozhansky land. This kind of ethno-cultural meaning is generated and conditioned by the author’s discursive-modus interpretation of the CE.

  1. Linguo-semiological mechanism of text generation

Discursive consciousness forms a certain gestalt (integral image), consisting of two tiers: (a) existential, fixing the living dynamics of discourse and its subject-sensory images; (b) reflexive that reflects the communicants’ own experiences, transforming conventional meanings into individual authorial (occasional) meanings.

The linguistic-semiological approach to the text is also caused by the urgent need to investigate the mechanisms of verbalizing the cognitive metaphor in the literary texts of regional writers. Despite the fact that the metaphor has long been one of the most popular rhetorical methods of figurative literary speech of the authors, it has long been perceived only as a bright visual and expressive means. For the linguistic-semiological aspect of the autochthonous discursive space, the metaphor is important as a capacious cognitive phenomenon (Kolesov, 2007; Filips, Iorgensen, 2004; Levitsky, Savchuk, 2007; Ricoeur, 1971; Schiffrin, 1990). The metaphorization (a) defines deep categorical changes in the system of representing the regionally marked picture of the world; (b) serves as a means of adapting national models of the worldview to the regional linguistic culture.

Since in modern linguopragmatics speech action is a symbolic model of reality objectified in the text, a double necessity has ripened, firstly, in the linguoculturological interpretation of pragmatic relations between linguistic signs and subjects of speech-thinking activity (the author and readers); secondly, in comprehending the specifics of the cognitive-pragmatic metaphor (Lakoff, 2004; Widdowson, 2004; Alefirenko, Nurtazina, 2018) in the regionally marked RLT. Cognitive-discursive mechanisms of secondary semiosis defining the essence of a discursive-pragmatic approach to the study of signs of indirect nomination based on a cognitive metaphor, are manifested in a peculiar way in the cognitive metaphor of ethnolinguoculture. The synergy of linguocognitive and linguopragmatic resources of the RLT is provided by its anthropocentric essence. The cognitive-pragmatic interpretation of CE is based on the trichotomous unity of the main discursive substances: language – speech – person.

The connection between ethno-linguistic consciousness and figurative thinking is provided by, first of all, a verbal metaphor, whose meaning in RLT is inseparable from the pragmatic attitude of the generated utterance which determines the strategic vectors of narrative activity (Tolstaya, 1996; Genovesi, 2020; Stamou, 2018; Gee, 2005; Torfing, 2005; Muddiman, Stroud, 2017; Kneepkens, Zwaan, 1994).

A promising task in the synergistic modeling of verbal and literary discourse is to determine the role of the so-called autochthonous concepts which are especially significant when verbalized with words-markers of the ethnic borderline type. A vivid example of this is the autochthonous concept ‘Slobozhanshchina’. This concept in such a lexical representation is one of the magical phenomena of East Slavic linguistic culture, objectified in both Russian and Ukrainian linguistic consciousness. In it, using A.S. Pushkin’s paraphrase, “so much has merged for the Russian heart, so much has echoed in it!” Since this expression is intertextual and adapted to the local concept ‘Slobozhanshchina’, the adjective ‘Russian’ in A.S. Pushkin’s poem in the regional context is associated with its original base ‘Russia’ as the land of the fathers with motivating, symbolic and paternalistic features of the Russian linguistic culture.

Even for a person who does not possess etymological knowledge, the word ‘Slobozhanshchina’ evokes a feeling of cognitive-pragmatic coherence of the regional fragment of the world. In the linguistic memory, this regional concept produces cognitive images of a frame nature: “settlements are small towns inhabited by free people”, and slobodians are “residents of a settlement”. Since the concept of ‘Slobozhanshchina’ directly appeared on the basis of Russian consciousness original concepts – “freedom” and “will” with their special autochthonous semantic depth, close relation to Russian socio-cultural conditions of life, its semantic aura in the everyday ethno-linguistic consciousness is perceived as a “country of settlements”, a territory of freedom, a land of free people.

This example shows that the study of the ethnocultural specificity of the regional code covers a wide range of issues of the language functional interaction, ethno-linguistic consciousness, regional culture and verbal and literary creativity. Ethnocultural markers of linguistic consciousness objectify regional images relevant for folk poetic discourse. Their study will recreate a speech portrait of an ethno-linguistic personality with a certain set of ethno-cultural markers of linguistic consciousness. It is necessary to identify the markers in the text in order to understand the ethnocultural originality of the linguistic personality, such as the linguistic personality of the famous poet-hieromonk Roman represents:

White Churches float into infinity,
Oh, Infants of not earthly Purity!
Unconquered Citizens of Eternity,
White Churches, Holy Crosses.
Perishable odors do not touch you.
White Churches – Strongholds of the Universes,
Do not resist – the world will fall apart.6

The author has a synergistic vision of the world picture in its spiritual and moral embodiment. He uses the concept word ‘kladentsy’ in a moral and ethical context. Initially, the concept of ‘kladentsy’ is known from folk Russian poetry – a sword in the treasure. It belonged to the heroes of Russian folklore. According to legends, in ancient times, the ‘kladenets’ was a powerful weapon, a sword capable of overthrowing even the most formidable enemy with one blow. In Russian folk poetry, the sword-kladenets is an attribute of the Russian hero. We cannot imagine Ilya Muromets, Dobrynya Nikitich or the giant knight (vityaz-velikan) Svyatogor without kladenets.

However, in the Old Russian discourse, the object meaning began acquiring the features of a concept – the semantic core of metaphorical discourse: ‘the spiritual guarding buried treasure’. In the discourse of the poet-hieromonk, the ‘kladentsy’ are not a lethal weapon, but a symbol of unearthly Purity and holiness (the saints are the unconquered citizens of Eternity). The poet also calls ‘kladentsy’ symbols of Orthodoxy as White Churches and holy crosses. The church (from the Greek kyriakon) is the house of the Lord. Christ’s Kingdom, into which “He brings those who He has chosen as His children and who have chosen Him as their Father.” The epithet ‘white’ is not accidental: the overwhelming majority of the churches in the pre-Mongol Vladimir land were built of white stone. White stone construction in Russia was adopted in the XII century under Yurii Dolgorukii. In Vladimir, Suzdal and Moscow, cult buildings of white stone were built for more than three hundred years. White color symbolized all kinds of blessings, joy, purity, health, multiplication of offspring, peace and harmony. It was called luminous and pure, serene. However, in the pre-Christian era, whiteness symbolized good spirits and gods, while black was an attribute of evil demons. White clothes and ornaments were cleansed and introduced to goodness.

Therefore, the author compares the “white churches” in their endless existence with the concept of ‘kladentsy’. The spiritual Strongholds of the Universes are associated with them: White churches, holy crosses, eternity which had an impact on the idiostyle of the poet-hieromonk. The author’s patriotic tuning fork attuned his idiostyle to the conjugation of folk poetry and religious markers which led to the de-objectification of realities. So, the word ‘stronghold’ means for the author not a fortress, but a spiritual stronghold and support. The poet calls the fundamentals of spirituality ‘the Strongholds of the Universes’ (“Do not resist – the world will fall apart”).

As the above fragment shows, it seems important and promising to further study the regional concept as a system providing a multidimensional approach to this phenomenon, especially from the point of view of identifying the most significant components and thereby schematizing all the experience. As V.G. Kulikov believes (Kulikov, 2005), the concepts under consideration are very peculiar from the point of view of the cognitive structure and therefore differ from sensory images, figurative schemes and frames, since the originality of regional concepts lies in their interrelation in terms of reflecting the connection of linguistic and extralinguistic knowledge. We agree with the opinion that “the cognitive mechanism underlying the process of forming regional concepts reflects the general properties of human consciousness to choose a reference point in time and space” (Kulikov, 2005: 14).

The means of such a connection of the autochthonous concept with the broad context of regional culture is the structure of the cognitive matrix, which allows “to choose a certain perspective or way of seeing the surrounding world, compare and contrast incoming information, filter it and focus on its most significant components” (Kulikov, 2005: 14) from the ‘sword-kladenets’, White Churches and Holy Crosses – to the Strongholds of the Universes and Eternity. The milestones of regional linguistic culture are regionally marked cultural units (‘kul'turemy’) which, unlike words, contain not only linguistic meanings, but also extra-linguistic (subject-cultural) meanings expressed by the corresponding word or phraseological unit (Slobozhanshchina, holy Belogor’e). Actually, the aggregate of regionally marked linguistic culture is a regional culture. Thus, the culture ‘Holy Belogor’e’ consists of the linguistic sign itself in the bilateral amalgam of its sound form and concept. In any culture, a linguistic sign as a whole is the designator, and its designatum is called realities, i.e. everything that has a value-semantic content: objects, functions, customs, facts of behavior, etc.

So, for example, the kul’turema ‘Holy Belogor’e’ denote a wide panorama of Orthodox churches, monasteries, chapels, healing springs, miraculous icons and other shrines. But, perhaps, the core of this kul’turema should be called the image of holiness and the generalized image of the Saint. The poet S.S. Bekhteyev writes:

The Saints take a different path
Towards a lofty unearthly goal.
And, conquering evil with love,
Like God’s warriors, fighters,
Native martyrs by blood
Glorious crowns are being won.7

A distinctive feature of local concepts is their cognitive-matrix structure consisting of several domains (conceptual areas). The concept of the cognitive matrix, introduced by R. Langacker, was intended to represent semantic configurations that serve as a cognitive substrate of the semantics of regionally marked words and phraseological units (Langacker, 1990), their meaning-forming base. The cognitive matrix provides the link between the local concept and the corresponding domains. The domains represent mental experience in the form of conceptual complexes (Langacker, 1990: 147) (remember: “As God’s warriors-fighters, Native martyrs by blood Acquire glorious crowns”8).

The point is that regional concepts are not atomic, certain isolated units of the thought language. The range and depth of the semantic content of regional concepts depends on the background knowledge in the ethnocultural consciousness. In cognitive cultural linguistics, they are called domains (Duranti, 1997; Foley, 1997; Salzmann, 1993). Their counterparts in linguistics are contextual presuppositions. They can be accessed through lexical (or phraseological) meanings in their interaction with the speech context. Consequently, the identification of regional linguistic culture markers occurs in the opposite direction: from the semantics of words (phraseological units) to their cognitive substrates: domains (context) – local concepts and cognitive matrix. The cognitive matrix shows in our consciousness those associative-semantic connections that, through the mental experience of the nation, show the importance of regional concepts in the formation of an autochthonous linguistic picture of the world.


Thus, the autochthonous picture of the LD world objectifies various types of epistemes. This is not only knowledge about the “mother” realities, but also virtual representations of adjacent regions, the relationship of autochthonous epistemes to world spiritual values. An important component of the linguistic picture of the world of the province is the actual discursive model created by the writers of the CE. The cognitive basis of the discourse space is the regional conceptual sphere.

The prospects for this study include the identification of the discursive and pragmatic specifics of the autochthonous thought code. In this perspective, the substantiation of the following issues is essential: (1) the concept of “regional thought code” as a mechanism for forming the ethno-linguistic consciousness of the representatives of the Russian linguistic culture; (2) ethnocultural interpretation of the means of expressing the genetic thought code in narrative-discursive constructions. The implementation of these tasks is necessary to understand the “seed logos” of the provincial springs of the all-Russian linguistic culture. The study of autochthonous concepts opens the way to a deeper understanding and comprehension of the variable nature of language and its cognitive mechanisms.

The research results can be used for the autochthonous substantiation of the spiritual and moral potential of the regional anthropocentric origins of the Russian linguistic mentality. The prospect of the conducted research should be recognized as the need to study in the structure of LD ways of representing concepts of a complex synergistic essence that combine verbal and non-verbal communication experience in their semantic configuration. To verbalize the synergistic nature of such concepts, the Russian language has quite flexible resources of discursive linguosemiosis – signs that can perform the functions of an indirectly derived designation of a discursive situation.

The indirect nominative essence of such signs is determined by their ability to associatively evoke a secondary discursive situation in the discursive consciousness which is explained by the linguocreativity of the Russian discursive consciousness. Cognitive thinking – the basis of discursive-modus modeling of RLT – allows the author to build new associative-figurative configurations due to the stable correlation of the products of linguosemiosis with the denotative-autochthonous structures of the primary communicative event.


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4 Kalutsky, V.U. (2003). And we drank honey there (Return to the past). Belgorod: Krestyanskoe Delo Publ. (In Russ.)

5 Fedorov, V.A. (1978). A bag full of hearts. Voronezh: Tsentral'no-Chernozemnoe knizhnoe izdatel'stvo Publ. (In Russ.)

6 Belgorod region: History and modernity. (2007). Moscow: Image-Kontakt Consulting Group. (In Russ.)

7 Belgorod region: History and modernity. (2007). Moscow: Image-Kontakt Consulting Group. (In Russ.)

8 Ibid.


About the authors

Nikolay F. Alefirenko

Belgorod State National Research University

Author for correspondence.

Honored Scientist of the Russian Federation, Doctor of Philology, Professor

85 Pobedy St, Belgorod, 308015, Russian Federation

Maral B. Nurtazina

L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University


Honorary Worker of Education of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Doctor of Philology, Professor

2 Satpaieva St, Nur-Sultan, 010008, Republic of Kazakhstan

Zukhra Kh. Shakhputova

L.N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University


PhD student of the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, senior teacher at the Foreign Languages Department

2 Satpaieva St, Nur-Sultan, 010008, Republic of Kazakhstan


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