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Associative-verbal network of thymological assessment in the Russian language

Pervukhina Valeriya Alekseevna

ORCID: 0000-0001-8998-6483

Assistant, Department of Philological Education and Journalism, Surgut State Pedagogical University

628417, Russia, Khanty-Mansiiskii avtonomnyi okrug, g. Surgut, ul. 50 Let Vlksm, 10/2










Abstract: The article is devoted to the analysis of reactions to the important in three associative dictionaries: "SEABASS Russian regional associative database (Siberia and the Far East)", "Russian regional associative dictionary-thesaurus EVRAS" and "Russian associative Dictionary". The research material is valid, since the associative experiment is one of the reliable methods of psycholinguistics. Reactions explicitly expressing the idea of a person are excluded from consideration in connection with their consideration in the author's previous work. The relevance of the research is connected with insufficient development of scientific ideas about the category of important in modern Russian linguistics. The description is based on the semantic gestalt method. The author identifies and describes the semantic groups formed by the reactions under consideration. Their analysis demonstrates the structure of the world, which is built by the category of importance. This world is not elementary and simple, it is multicomponent and complex. In it, a person is a subject with the ability to actively think and create abstract objects and names for them. A thinking subject uses an evaluation scale and can choose what is important to him (T-rank) and what is not (t-rank). This is one of the tools that a person uses to control their activities. Based on these conclusions, the author comes to the conclusion about the "human dimension" of the category "important" in the Russian language.


associative field, associative-verbal network, associative dictionary, associative gestalt, rating category, category of importance, thymological assessment, semantic gestalt, semantic zone, anthropocentricity

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Psycholinguistics widely uses the method of associative experiment, which is considered "one of the most reliable and effective methods providing access to the study of the structures of knowledge and consciousness" [1, p. 25]. In addition, it has been established in Russian psycholinguistics that the associative field formed from the verbal reactions of the subjects indicates "the content included in the national mental image of a specific cultural object" [2, p. 142]. The associative experiment allows us to look at the word as a carrier of social and personal meanings that form a semantic field.

Russian Russian Regional Associative Database (Siberia and the Far East), "Russian Regional Associative Dictionarythesaurus EVRAS" and "Russian Associative Dictionary" serve as the material for observations in this article. The reactions to the stimulus are important, presented in three associative dictionaries: "SEABASS - Russian regional associative database (Siberia and the Far East)", "Russian Regional Associative Dictionary-thesaurus EVRAS" and "Russian Associative Dictionary". The description of the associative field structure is based on the semantic gestalt method proposed by Y. N. Karaulov [3]. Gestalts are structures that organize "the diversity of individual phenomena in consciousness" [4, p. 161]. N. S. Sergieva notes that "associative "gestalt" is found when associates semantically gravitate to certain characteristics, grouping naturally around several <...> reactions that denote (name) a certain set of mental images concepts" [4, pp. 161 162].

When describing the structure of the associative field important, we purposefully excluded from consideration reactions that explicitly reflect the connection of important with the human world, namely general (person, person) and figurative (goose, turkey) designations of a person, his naming by social role (boss, official), nominations of interpersonal relationships (friend, enemy) and the names of specific persons (me, Putin). The idea of anthropocentrism of the category important was justified by us earlier in a study conducted using the same methodology [5]. It proved that the semantic zone "Man" is the largest and that it somehow borders on the rest of the allocated semantic zones.

This article sets and solves the problem of structuring and describing semantic zones formed by reactions that do not explicitly express the idea of a person.

The analysis of the reactions given in three associative dictionaries made it possible to identify and describe seven semantic zones. The order of the zones is determined by the total frequency of their constituent words-concepts, and the order of the reactions, firstly, by the representation in each of the dictionaries (first, the reactions available in three dictionaries are shown, then in two and in one), and secondly, by the decrease in the total frequency. Here we also note that there are no absolute boundaries between the selected semantic zones: gestalt as a unit of knowledge about the world is characterized by both an integral structure and variable flexibility.

The inclusion of some reactions in semantic zones is justified by the definitional analysis of the articles of the "Great Explanatory Dictionary of the Russian Language" edited by S. A. Kuznetsov (hereinafter BTSRYA). The reaction was included in the semantic zone if the definition of a word in the explanatory dictionary contained a certain seme.

The attempt to build a semantic gestalt IMPORTANT is due to the practical lack of research on this type of assessment. A. B. Penkovsky noted its special status, building a horizontal scale of values and assessments based on the opposition "important unimportant". The scientist said that at the new upper level of such a ranking is "everything that is important, significant, serious" (T-rank), and at the bottom "everything that is unimportant, insignificant, not serious" (t-rank) [6, p. 28]. A. B. Penkovsky calls such estimates thymological.

Let's describe the selected semantic zones.

1. Event (165 reactions here and below is the total number of reactions according to the data of the three analyzed dictionaries.)

The semantic zone of the Event is formed by the following reactions: conversation (10, 20, 19) (hereafter, the first number indicates the number of reactions in SEABASS, the second in EURAS, the third in RAS. Zero in any of the places means the absence of the given reaction in the corresponding dictionary), case (2, 7, 9), subject (5, 7, 4), case (3, 4, 6), lesson (6, 5, 2), call (7, 4, 1), exam (2, 4, 2), event (2, 3, 0), meeting (1, 2, 0), hike (1, 1, 0), visit (0, 1, 3), congress (0, 1, 1) and a number of unique for a particular dictionary reactions. For example, match (2), win (1), meeting (1) in SIBAS, offset (3), occasion (1), reception (1) in EVRAS, conference (1), opening (1) in RAS.

Let us explain a number of reactions included in the semantic zone under consideration.

One of the meanings of the word "case" in BTSRYA sounds is "incident, event, fact". One of the meanings of the word "object" is "a phenomenon of reality, a fact." The word "reason" in the BTSR is defined as "a case, a circumstance, a fact that can be the basis for something, the reason for something, a preposition." The word "case", in turn, is interpreted as "what happened, happened; an unforeseen event, an incident; the presence of some fact, phenomenon."

Without delving into philosophical reasoning, let's turn to how the word event itself defines the event: "what happened, happened, a significant phenomenon, a fact of public or private life." In other words, what happened is determined through a person: his social or private life. This is confirmed by the reactions forming the semantic zone of the Event under consideration: among them there are none that would call natural phenomena, but each of them calls a fact from a person's social life.

2. A problem requiring a solution (129 reactions)

The semantic zone of the problem requiring a solution is formed by the following reactions: question (27, 32, 31), step (2, 7, 11), solution (1, 2, 1), act (3, 7, 0), move (1, 1, 0), as well as task (1) to SEA BASS, the path (1) to EVRAS and the course (1) to RAS.

Note that part of these reactions directly denotes the task / problem that needs to be solved (question, task), the other part the general direction of solving the problem (solution, course, path,), and the third specific steps to solve it (step, act, move).

We justify the inclusion of a number of reactions in the semantic zone under consideration by referring to the BTSRYA.

Question "situation, case, task, etc., requiring discussion, resolution; problem"; solution "deliberate intention to do something, conclusion, conclusion from what-L."; course, path "direction, some kind of activity; setting for some kind of goal in activity"; step "action, deed"; deed "intentional action of a person"; move "a thought-out action or deed pursuing some goal; maneuver".

The difference in the definitions of the words deed, move and step seems interesting. If the first two have this awareness of action in their meanings (there is more in the word "move" than in the word "deed"), then the latter is deprived of this sema. Probably, here we can talk about the element of randomness in solving problems.

The reactions forming the semantic zone of a task requiring a solution do not directly name a person, but nevertheless turn out to be related to him: the thinking subject determines the task to be solved, chooses the general direction of activity for its solution and performs specific actions to achieve the goal.

In addition to the already indicated reactions, it is possible to include reactions from other semantic zones in the semantic zone of the Task requiring a solution: the case (semantic zone Event) as "practical activity, action, as opposed to thoughts, words; deed" and process (semantic Time zone) as "a set of sequential actions aimed at achieving a certain result." This fact indicates the existence of links between semantic zones, their non-autonomy.

3. Time (127 reactions)

The semantic Time zone is formed by the following reactions: day (29, 19, 7), moment (14, 18, 13), stage (1, 1, 5), process (1, 1, 1), urgent (1, 2, 0), urgent (2, 0, 1), plan (0, 1, 1), as well as year (1), urgent (1) in SEABASS, life (2), time (1), long-awaited (1), mig (1), start (1) in EVRAS, not always (1) in RAS.

The inclusion of these reactions in the semantic zone under consideration is justified by the presence of a temporal component of meaning in their definitions.

Stage "a separate moment, a stage of some process, some activity"; process - "a sequential change of states in the development of something; course, development of some phenomenon"; plan - "a preplanned system of measures providing for the order, sequence and timing of work, operations, etc., united by a common goal"; life "time, the period of existence from birth to death"; start "the initial, after a certain signal, the moment of a sports competition (in running, swimming, etc.). <...> The beginning, the starting point at the countdown of some events".

Reactions included in the semantic Time zone can be divided into three groups:

  • having this specific time interval: day, moment, stage, life, time, year, long-awaited, moment, not always, start;
  • having this sequential change in time of something: a process, a plan;having this immediate mandatory execution (which connects them with the semantic zone of Necessity):
  • urgent, urgent, urgent.The possibility of distinguishing these semantic groups indicates a complex relationship between the category important and the category time'.

Note that the longawaited reaction fixes the starting point in the past, and urgent, urgent, urgent - in the present, at the moment of speech (time indices in the terminology of M. A. Krongauz [7]).

4. Preference/choice, comparison/comparison (124 reactions)

The semantic zone of Preference /choice, comparison /comparison is formed by the following reactions: main (11, 8, 5), significant (11, 1, 3), very (3, 5, 7), choice (3, 4, 1), main (3, 1, 1), serious (6, 7, 0), useless (3, 2, 0), unimportant (1, 2, 0), special (1, 1, 0), not very (0, 1, 2), valuable (0, 2, 1), special (0, 1, 1), as well as a number of unique reactions for each of the associative dictionaries. For example, the best (1), very special (1), first (1), priority (1), standing (1) in SEABASS, significant (2), paramount (2), the only (1), side (1) in EVRAS, not serious (1), the most (1), be able to make a choice (1) in races.

The operations of preference, choice, comparison and comparison involve the actions of a thinking subject, mental operations with information. To realize how important it is means to highlight, correlate, recognize as meeting certain requirements, and draw a conclusion. In other words, to place this or that phenomenon on the evaluation scale, where one pole is important and the other is unimportant: the main, significant, main, serious, special, valuable, special, best, first, priority, worthwhile, significant, paramount, the only useless, unimportant, side, not serious. The words very ("very, to a high degree"), not very, the most ("indicates the limit of the manifestation of a sign, quality or quantity <...> upotr. for the formation of a superlative degree") allow you to expand this scale, make graduation more accurate. Thus, the semantic zone of Preference/choice, comparison/comparison constructs a non-elementary world, which becomes such under the influence of a thinking subject.

5. Documents (55 reactions)

The semantic zone of Documents is formed by the following reactions: document (7, 14, 13), contract (4, 2, 0), law (0, 3, 3), as well as reactions unique for each dictionary: laws (1), program (1) in SEABASS, letter (2), paper (1), report (1), report (1) in EURAS, communication (1), decree (1) in RAS.

The reactions forming the semantic zone under consideration do not name a person directly, but imply his thought and activity. The objects denoted by these reactions are artifacts, that is, they are made (or "processed", as indicated by the BTSRYA) by a person. In other words, this semantic zone also constructs a "human-dimensional" world.

Note that the semantic zone of Documents is qualitatively different from all the other selected semantic zones (both those already described and those discussed below). The reactions that make up it can be attributed to specific names, while the reactions of the other zones are rather abstract names (case, subject, question, step, moment, stage, choice, necessity, element, factor, etc.). They name the products of "cognitive-mental activity, which in reality have no direct correspondences in the form of substances and discrete visual-sensory objects (things, bodies, persons, etc.)" [8, p. 5]. Abstract names are generalizations, "largely free from bodily properties" [9, p. 5] and are a means of categorizing the world, which ultimately forms the basis for the formation of concepts. This observation once again proves the idea of an actively thinking subject, around which the category of important' is built. This subject feels and perceives the world around him, generalizes the observed phenomena and creates generalizations of a high degree of abstraction.

6. Necessity (45 reactions)

The semantic zone of Necessity is formed by the following reactions: necessary (12, 9, 5), necessary (3, 9, 1), necessary (2, 1, 0), as well as the reactions necessary (1) in SEABASS and mandatory (1), mandatory (1) in EVRAS.

Necessity is a special kind of subjective (installation, evaluation) modality, which is understood as the psychological (mental) attitude of the speaker in relation to what he reports [14]. The reactions forming the semantic zone under consideration are indicators of a deontic necessity expressing an obligation: "An agent is obliged to perform some action if there is a person or institution whose authority he recognizes; or if there are moral principles or social attitudes that compel him to do so" [10]. In other words, the semantic zone of Necessity presupposes the existence of a thinking subject, which gives its actions or the actions of other people a sign of obligation.

In addition to these reactions, a number of reactions from the semantic zone Preference / choice, comparison / comparison can be attributed to this semantic zone: very necessary, unnecessary and very necessary. Such inclusion allows us to talk about the idea of graduation: the existence of a scale by which a person evaluates the need for one or another of his actions: very necessary necessary unnecessary.

It has already been noted above that the semantic zone of Time borders on the semantic zone of Necessity through the reactions urgent, urgent, urgent, which denote something immediate for execution, not allowing delay, mandatory. In other words, the idea of the relevance of a particular human action is expressed here.

7. Partwhole, causeeffect relationships (17 reactions)

The semantic zone of the partwhole, causeeffect Relationship is formed by the following reactions: element (3, 2, 0), factor (1, 0, 2), aspect (1, 0, 1), result (1, 0, 1), as well as point (1) in SEABASS, episode (1) in EURAS, conclusion (1), summary (1), section (1) in RAS.

By itself, the establishment of such relations between any phenomena is the result of mental operations of a person with information: it is the thinking subject that identifies individual elements, aspects, sections, paragraphs in a whole entity or whole process, calls something the result or outcome of activity, draws conclusions. Therefore, the semantic zone of the partwhole, causeeffect relationship, which includes many abstract concepts, implies the existence of a person, is "human-dimensional". Moreover, the world represented by this semantic zone is not integral it is multicomponent.

In addition to these reactions, the semantic zone of the partwhole, causeeffect relationship can include the reactions stage (semantic zone Time) and step (semantic zone Task requiring a solution). This is possible due to the presence of the seme part in the definition of these words: stage "1. A separate moment, a stage of some kind of process, some kind of activity. <> 2. A separate part of the path, a segment of the distance in sports competitions"; step "a step, a stage in the development of something; progressive progress in some area". The possibility of including these reactions in the semantic zone under consideration confirms the idea of the non-elementarity of the part of the world constructed by it.

Russian Russian Regional Associative Database (Siberia and the Far East), the Russian Regional Associative DictionaryThesaurus EVRAS and the Russian Associative Dictionary allow us to draw the following conclusions from the analysis of reactions to the stimulus of the important one.

1. The exclusion from consideration of reactions to an important stimulus that explicitly express a person's idea allowed us to focus on its implicit expression. Important appears as a fact of a person's social or personal life (event), as a product of his activity (document), as a result of the impact of social or personal attitudes (necessity), etc.

2. The category important constructs the world around a person, and in this world a person is an actively thinking subject. With his intellect, he creates objects that are not within the scope of his direct perception, but which interpret the world around him and allow him to comprehend it. This is reflected in the array of abstract names that form the associative-verbal field important.

3. The world created by the category important' is not elementary and homogeneous. On the contrary, it is multicomponent and complex. The thinking subject chooses what is the main, primary, necessary (T-rank) for him in this world, and what is useless, secondary, unnecessary (trank), thus building an evaluation scale and applying it in his activities.

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2. Ufimceva, N.V. (2000). Ethnic character, Russian self-image and language consciousness. Language Consciousness: Formation and Functioning. Moscow: Institute of Linguistics of the Russian Academy of Sciences. 135170.
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4. Sergieva, N. S. (2006). Semantic Gestalt and the Core of Russian Language Consciousness. Bulletin of the South Ural State University. Series: Social Sciences and the Humanities. 2 (57). 160165.
5. Pervukhina, V. A. (2021). Anthropocentricity of the Importnant Category (According to the Associative Dictionary). Modern Regionalism: Traditional Approaches and New Directions. Surgut: RIO SurGPU. 171179.
6. Penkovskii, A. B. (2004). Essays on Russian Semantics. Moscow: Languages of Slavic culture. 610 p.
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8. Kuzikevich, G.P. (2008). Categorial Organization of Abstract Nouns (Based on Qualitative Nouns). Issues of Cognitive Linguistics. 2 (015). 518.
9. Kubryakova, E.S. (2006). In Genesis of Language, or Reflection on Nomina Abstracta. Issues of Cognitive Linguistics. 3 (009). 514.
10. Paducheva, E. V. (2016) Modality. Moscow. Retrieved from http://rusgram.ru/

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The article "Associative-verbal network of thymological assessment in the Russian language" submitted for consideration, proposed for publication in the journal "Litera", is undoubtedly relevant. This article sets and solves the problem of structuring and describing semantic zones formed by reactions that do not explicitly express the idea of a person. It should be noted that in the study the author considers both the theoretical basis of the problem field concerned and the practical problems. The research was carried out in line with modern scientific approaches, the work consists of an introduction containing the formulation of the problem, the main part, traditionally beginning with a review of theoretical sources and scientific directions, a research and a final one, which presents the conclusions obtained by the author. Structurally, the article consists of several semantic parts, namely: introduction, literature review, methodology, research progress, conclusions. The article presents a research methodology, the choice of which is quite adequate to the goals and objectives of the work. The author turns, among other things, to various methods to confirm the hypothesis put forward. This work was done professionally, in compliance with the basic canons of scientific research. We note the scrupulous work of the author on the selection of material and its analysis. Russian Russian Regional Associative database (Siberia and the Far East), "Russian regional associative dictionarythesaurus EVRAS" and "Russian associative Dictionary" serve as the material for observations in this article. The reactions to the stimulus are important, presented in three associative dictionaries: "SIBAS - Russian regional associative database (Siberia and the Far East)", "Russian regional associative dictionary-thesaurus EVRAS" and "Russian associative Dictionary". The description of the structure of the associative field is constructed by the author using the method of semantic gestalt proposed by Y. N. Karaulov. The bibliography of the article contains 10 sources, among which exclusively domestic works are presented. However, like any major work, this article is not without drawbacks. First, let's pay attention to the quality of the bibliographic list. Thus, the article does not contain references to fundamental works such as monographs, PhD and doctoral dissertations. A greater number of references to authoritative works, such as monographs, doctoral and/or PhD dissertations on related topics, which could strengthen the theoretical component of the work in line with the national scientific school. Secondly, it is unclear why the author neglects the generally accepted arrangement of the bibliographic list in alphabetical order. Thirdly: there are no references to works in foreign languages, however, these remarks are not essential and do not relate to the scientific content of the reviewed work. In general, it should be noted that the article was written in a simple, understandable language for the reader, typos, spelling and syntactic errors, inaccuracies in the text of the work were not found. The work is practice-oriented, representing the author's vision of solving the issue under consideration. The article will undoubtedly be useful to a wide range of people, philologists, undergraduates and graduate students of specialized universities. The article "Associative-verbal network of thymological assessment in the Russian language" is recommended for publication in the journal from the list of the Higher Attestation Commission.
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