' : ' - 'Litera' - NotaBene.ru
Journal Menu
> Issues > Rubrics > About journal > Authors > About the Journal > Requirements for publication > Editorial collegium > Editorial board > Peer-review process > Policy of publication. Aims & Scope. > Article retraction > Ethics > Online First Pre-Publication > Copyright & Licensing Policy > Digital archiving policy > Open Access Policy > Article Processing Charge > Article Identification Policy > Plagiarism check policy
Journals in science databases
About the Journal

MAIN PAGE > Back to contents
Litera
Reference:

The conceptual pair Life and Death in the Chinese linguistic picture of the world: an explanation of the meanings of precedent texts for representatives of Russian linguistic culture

Lyui Sytsi

ORCID: 0009-0006-1082-745X

Postgraduate student, Department of Russian language and methods of its teaching, RUDN University

117198, Russia, g. Moscow, ul. Miklukho-Maklaya, 6

lvsiqi@mail.ru
Other publications by this author
 

 

DOI:

10.25136/2409-8698.2023.10.48476

EDN:

ZNTHWY

Received:

01-10-2023


Published:

08-10-2023


Abstract: This article is devoted to the analysis of the conceptual pair Life and Death in the Chinese linguistic picture of the world. The relevance of this study is due to the growing need for successful intercultural cooperation between Chinese and Russian cultures. Due to objective extralinguistic factors, there is an intensive exchange of knowledge between China and Russia. The flow of Chinese students to Russia is increasing; In the learning process, they are interested not so much in mastering the functioning of the Russian language system, but in understanding the Russian world. This process can be difficult due to the discrepancy between the original and the target cultures. The purpose of this work is to study the conceptual complex Life Death, implemented in the Chinese linguistic picture of the world, on the basis of precedent texts widely known to recipients. The subject of the study is the differential characteristics of the conceptual dyad, identified in the process of analysis. The material for the work is precedent texts, in particular, poetic and paremiological units containing the lexical component Life and Death in the Chinese language. Research methods: descriptive method, conceptual analysis, linguocultural commentary method, contextual analysis, questionnaire. The analysis showed that in the system of social relations the role of each person is determined from birth. Death in the Chinese linguistic picture of the world is the other side of life; It becomes grief and loss only if the individual fails to realize his best qualities. In a certain sense, life for speakers of Chinese language consciousness is a moral achievement. The parameters of the Chinese linguistic picture of the world that we have considered constitute the fund of knowledge that will allow us to begin to comprehend the Russian linguistic picture of the world either by comparing mental spaces or by eliminating gaps.


Keywords:

linguoculturology, linguistic picture of the world, concept, conceptual pair, Chinese linguistic culture, precedent text, association experiment, values, model, explanation

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

Introduction

The basic unit of linguoculturology is the cultural concept the "cell of mentality", the "quantum of meaning", which forms the basis of our internal thesaurus. The concept is both an individual and a supraindividual phenomenon. Unlike the concept, it is sensually "labeled", emotive, archetypal. The analysis of certain concepts is a reconstruction of the essential meanings necessary for familiarization with a certain culture. Thus, concepts are a kind of keys to culture.

Linguistic consciousness in the aggregate of all its specific features is an "immeasurable" phenomenon. In contrast to linguistic consciousness, the cognitive base is the obligatory fund of knowledge that is formed in the process of inculturation of the individual (that is, the entry of the individual into the native culture), and therefore is common for speakers of linguoculture. Precedent texts of various levels are mandatory formants of the conitive base. These are elements of a "reduced" nature, the general meaning of which, according to Y.N. Karaulov [1], unfolds in a certain context. Precedent texts include those linguistic units that the linguistic personality perceives as already known (these are individual texts, names, and situations). In this study, we have focused on poetic texts and paroemias. Both types of PT are characterized by aphorism, capacity, concentration of meaning and the potential for retransmission, which allows us to differentiate on their basis the stable signs of the studied concepts.

Some of the precedent-level units we have chosen cannot be attributed to widely relayed ones; their illustrative potential and research value lie for us in the conceptualization of the studied phenomena in the individual linguistic consciousness. Thus, we come to two levels of concept analysis: individual and collective. Each of these levels is able to provide us with an additional set of differential features involved in the formation of the "Life-Death" construct. We also note that at the level of the description of the concept the mental entity that constitutes the basic element of consciousness we tend to use the term "construct" as verbalized conceptual knowledge, a model of description, appealing to the theory of the concept developed by A.A. Zalevskaya [2].

Our basic attitude in choosing the analyzed material boils down to a broad approach to understanding the phenomenon of precedent. If, according to Y.N. Karaulov, a precedent text is a statement that is actively present in the constitution of the YAL itself, then we would like to clarify that any phenomenon present in the metatext of the linguoculture itself is precedent. Such a text may have a reduced potential for retransmitability, however, in the context of certain speech situations, it can be extracted from the corpus of texts and adapted to the specific needs of the speaker. Thus, PT is already included in a certain global intertext as a paradigm, and its actualization is intentionally conditioned. From the point of view of this approach, it is legitimate to attribute poetic texts recorded in the corpus of the language and paremiological units to PT. We can consider the former as individual representations of the concepts under study, the latter as a basis for explication of the usual meanings.

Results and discussion

The XXI century was marked by a change of scientific paradigms in science (T. Kuhn): the "tectonic shift" affected all areas of scientific knowledge, including philology. The immanent approach to language, in which it was studied as a "causa sui", was replaced by an anthropocentric vector, where the starting point was Man as a complex phenomenon with its biological, cognitive, behavioral, social, cultural settings. As E.S. Kubryakova notes [3], modern philology (note that the "death of pure linguistics" was proclaimed at the end of the XX century) is characterized by such trends as interdisciplinarity, explanationism and neofunctionalism.

We emphasize interdisciplinarity. The synergetic fusion of the conceptual fields of several disciplines exploring a common object gave impetus to the emergence and development of a number of sciences of "related type": psycholinguistics, linguoculturology, political linguistics, translingual literary studies and many others.

In the diachronic aspect, such sciences as linguoculturology are still only at the beginning of their development. Their conceptual field is being actively developed; a terminological thesaurus is being formed that can serve a new field of knowledge; various research methods are being tested.

The formation of linguoculturology (as well as other sciences that "grow" from several conceptual fields) is due to the installation of the anthropocentric paradigm on holism the principle of unity, which contributes to the constellation of various (often heterogeneous) fields of scientific knowledge. Under the influence of this trend (which emerged in the second half of the XX century), many researchers overcome the monodisciplinarity approach to the object under study.

It should be recognized that the isolation of each humanitarian discipline within "itself" does not give us the results that would be relevant to the needs of modern society. According to U.M. Bakhtikireeva [4:11], a subject inscribed in the "new architecture of the world" has fundamentally different epistemological grounds that require the production of new knowledge. It is noteworthy that the holistic principle applies not only to "homogeneous" sciences (for example, the humanities cycle), but also to the unification of humanitarian and natural science knowledge.

Among the definitions proposed by researchers to identify linguistic phenomena with a pronounced cultural component ("linguoculturema", "logoepisteme", "cultural concept"), we will focus on the cultural concept. We will tell you more about the prerequisites of our methodological guidelines in the course of our work. Now it is important for us to outline the conceptual field within which this research is being conducted, taking into account its epistemological complexity. Where does this complexity come from?

First of all, it is due to the fact that language and culture two basic phenomena that are at the center of the epistemological search for linguoculturology invariably require the involvement of other approaches and an additional fund of knowledge. These are the data of cognitive linguistics, since we are dealing with the propositions of linguistic consciousness, which are explained by the means of language; this is philosophy and hermeneutics, because each concept needs explication of the implicatures embedded in it, as well as the creation of an adequate "field of meaning", a vertical context, thanks to which the deciphering of meanings becomes possible; this is the theory of intercultural communication, the principles of which are able to promote cooperation between representatives of various linguistic and cultural communities.

Within the framework of the linguoculturological approach, linguists, as a rule, analyze the phenomena of language that have national and cultural specifics. The works of A. Vezhbitskaya [5], A.S. Gerd [6], Yu.A. Sorokin and I.Yu. Markovina [7], S.G. Ter-Minasova [8] are based on this principle.

Each ethnic group throughout its history forms a system of fundamental images of the world, which depend on the peculiarities of existence, the specifics of culture and ethnopsychology. These images are ambivalent: they are the property of both the individual and the whole collective, they are, on the one hand, conscious, on the other unconscious.

The concepts that have existed in culture for a "long" historical time are called constants these are the fundamental units of the linguistic and cultural field of the ethnos, the basic phenomena of the YAKM. Naturally, the concept of antinomy "LIFE-DEATH" also applies to constants. This is natural: the concepts of "life" and "death", their analysis and study, have been and remain a subject of interest for humanity throughout its existence, and recently the interpretation of these concepts has acquired obvious relevance. The themes of birth and death have always required special attention: from time immemorial, people have sought to penetrate the mystery of these phenomena, to realize their meaning, to understand their significance for man and society, to determine their place on the evaluation scale of culture. Knowing who we are in essence and what will happen to us after death is closely related to such important concepts as the meaning of life, the end or eternity of existence. Traditional Chinese culture has not developed any ideas of the immortality of the soul comparable to Christian ones. At the same time, life and its longevity, even immortality, have always been among the most important values of Chinese culture.

Now we will try to immerse ourselves in the unique worldview of the Chinese people, who comprehend the categories of life and death in a special way, different from the European mode of perception. Chinese culture is anthropocentric. At its center is a person but not as a separate individual, isolated from society, but as an element of a harmonized world order, having a direct connection with everything that exists.

A person's life is a gradual "gathering", settling in and mastering space. In a certain sense, the Chinese are guided by a naive picture of the world. They believe that nonexistence is the name of the beginning of heaven and earth, and being is the name of the mother of "ten thousand things". Among these "ten thousand things", a special place belongs to a person literally a "human being" who has Reason and therefore stands above the rest of the object world. Space, according to the mythological views of the Chinese, was "put together": this is told by the myth of Pangu and Nyuva.

Life is being in time. In Chinese culture, time is inseparable from the category of space; it is like a path to the past, which is trodden by the entire human race, and in this respect is retrospectively and relativized by the movement of a person on the path of life. Those who go ahead go into the past, the observer in the moment of here-being is facing the past. One generation succeeds another, the next after it. This process is objectified by the expression "the wave behind pushes the wave ahead." "The historical time model of the Chinese is turned in a different direction. In front is the traversed path of the ancestors, to which the gaze of the Chinese is turned. The future, therefore, lies beyond his field of vision. The Chinese are rational in their thinking, thanks to the amorphousness and discreteness of the sign system in terms of both form and sound. Therefore, their semantic system is characterized by a high degree of pragmatism, expressed in the selectivity of labeling [9].

Man in Chinese culture is the only being with an active principle: he can occupy any position in space at his discretion. Everything else exists "by itself" or as defined by man.

Human life is invariably regulated by a system of ethical norms: "Da xue", "Zhongyong", "Lunyu", "Mengzi". These are the principles of life dating back to the Fourth Book. They determine people's behavior, their responsibilities, and are determined by two signs: age and subordination. Life, according to the Fourth Book, is an endless path of self-improvement. Any member of society must go through all the stages of becoming a "noble husband", including

- ge wu (understanding the architectonics of the universe and the ability to classify objects of reality);

- zhi zhi (striving for knowledge and self-knowledge);

- cheng xin (cultivating the highest moral qualities, "sincerity of the heart");

- xiu shen (self-improvement leading to unity in the family, order in the state and pacification).

Junzi the noble husband is an ethical hero in the Chinese national picture of the world. His direct antipode is xiao ren (literally "small soul"), a person who violates the principles of morality and ethics.

A noble husband is endowed with virtues, he goes "the way of the golden mean", ensuring harmony in society and nature. The "small soul" follows the path of "profit".

Junzi does not abuse his position: he believes that he should appreciate the gifts of life, which should be perceived through "middle and harmony". Xiao ren is audacious by nature, is not content with little, does not perceive prohibitions and violates the order of things. The model of the ethical ideal of the Chinese sheng ren, the "perfect sage" - is embodied in the personality of Confucius. The corpus of precedent texts served as the material for the analysis. To identify the usual meanings of the concept, it is advisable to use the paremiological foundation of the language. However, no less significant results can be provided by individual author definitions of nuclear lexemes, in particular, poetic texts. The explication of conceptual semantics based on the corpus of texts is an actual field of interdisciplinary research; they mark the level of the actual pragmaticon of the linguistic personality that participates in the formation of the integral YAKM of the ethnos [10; 11; 12].

Elements of precedent texts, due to their steady entry into the cognitive base of the speakers of linguistic consciousness and the "solid form", are closest to paremiological units.

The author of the study conducted an associative experiment with a reference group of Hainan University. The incentive words were the lexemes "life" and "death", to which the students were asked to give an appropriate precedent text as a reaction. The most frequent texts were the following:

- "Life and death are predestined, and wealth is bestowed by heaven."

- It is better to die standing than to live on your knees.

- -- "the Dead are really dead, if they are buried in the hearts of the living."

- --- "If a man can die a happy man overcomes death."

- ? - "Death is not the loss of life, and the output from the realm of time."

- "Death heavy and clean the fruit that we eat to heal too many ills of life."

- The living are like passersby who come and go in a hurry, and the dead are like those who go to their destination and never return."

"Life is like flowing water, she is beautiful and has meaning only when it flows and runs forward."

As we noted above, language is not a shell of thought, but an activity of the spirit. According to the idea, Language should be studied both as a force "in action" that transforms reality, and as a sign system that stores archetypal rudiments in the modern picture of the world. Language interprets thought, but at the same time generates its sensory and associative primary meanings, enriching the value space of culture itself.

Note that the concept of "life" in the Chinese YAKM is following the middle path, which is based on the following scripts (prescriptions):

- the harmony of the Celestial Empire should not be disturbed, therefore, it is necessary to restrain the manifestations of strong emotions;

- it is necessary to know your place so as not to violate the established order of things;

- you need to avoid imposing on others what you don't like yourself;

- taking a low position in the social hierarchy, you should not seek the location of those who are "at the top";

- you need to treat life as a constant self-improvement, not complaining about fate and not blaming others for your own failures;

- life should be considered as a process of cognition, while repeating what has been passed (empirically and epistemologically);

- one should wait for one's hour with calmness and dignity, without "getting involved in adventures";

- you can express your ideas only in times of peace for the state; in times of troubles, you should remain silent;

- you should not openly demonstrate your own merits: everything hidden becomes obvious;

- non-action should be perceived as a "higher action".

"Life" in the Chinese YAKM is following the middle path, which is based on the following scripts (prescriptions): avoid strong emotions, as they violate the harmony of the world order; know your place in the established social hierarchy; avoid imposing on others what is unacceptable to you; improve yourself without complaining about fate; be in constant knowledge of this world; do not demonstrate virtues; humbly wait in the wings.

Life in Chinese linguoculture is closely connected with the ideas of fate. The analysis of the precedent units of the Chinese language allowed us to differentiate a number of semantic components of this concept. These are the basic elements of the concept "heaven", "path", "life", "person", "justice", "event", "follow", "obey", "live", "die", "good", "evil", "retribution", "justice". On the one hand, the semantics of the concept of "fate" appeals to the idea of predestination, on the other movement and change.

The semantic components of the conceptual field of fate allow us to reconstruct a threepart scheme, which includes the causator the sky, the object of causation the person (collectively, the "body" and "deeds"), the state - fate. Fate is understood as a set of components, including the length of human life; the social status of a person; events occurring with an individual; the state of affairs as a result of the influence of the tao path of higher forces.

Conclusions

The concept dyad "Life-Death" occupies a special place in the Chinese language picture of the world. This is a concept axiologeme located at the highest level of the value scale. The semantic field of the concept is diverse; at its core is a person in a system of relationships with the Higher ("Heaven") and the intrasocial ("Society"). Human life is a great middle way (tao), subject to the law of harmonious progress. It is not advisable to deviate from this path; its purpose is to cultivate the traits and characteristics of a "noble husband" who is guided by the principles of humanity, reverence, readiness for infinite knowledge. The "noble man" is the standard of the axiological system of the Chinese YAKM, as is the "perfect sage".

Human life is movement (note that movement, as we have established in the process of analyzing idiomatic expressions, must be progressive). However, it is also subject to the laws of the highest order the laws of fate. A person in the aspect of providence is quite passive: unlike the Russian YAKM, he should not act as a "blacksmith of his happiness", going against the predestined. In the system of social relations, the role of each person is defined to him from birth. Life must be lived with dignity; in this case, the memory of a person's noble deeds will allow him to avoid "social death". Death in the Chinese YAKM is the reverse side of life; it becomes grief and loss only if the individual failed to realize his best qualities. At the level of somatic codification, human life correlates with the concept of "heart", which acts as a localizer of the human soul.

In a certain sense, life for native speakers of Chinese language consciousness is a moral feat that requires selfeducation.

The parameters of the Chinese YAKM we have considered have formed the knowledge fund that allowed us to begin to comprehend the Russian YAKM either by "comparing" mental spaces or by eliminating gaps.

References
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
12.

Peer Review

Peer reviewers' evaluations remain confidential and are not disclosed to the public. Only external reviews, authorized for publication by the article's author(s), are made public. Typically, these final reviews are conducted after the manuscript's revision. Adhering to our double-blind review policy, the reviewer's identity is kept confidential.
The list of publisher reviewers can be found here.

The subject of the research of the reviewed article is the conceptual pair "LIFE" and "DEATH" in the Chinese language. As the author notes, "The basic unit of linguoculturology is a cultural concept a "cell of mentality", a "quantum of meaning", which forms the basis of our internal thesaurus. The concept is both an individual and a supraindividual phenomenon. Unlike the concept, it is sensually "labeled", emotive, archetypal. The analysis of certain concepts is a reconstruction of the essential meanings necessary for familiarization with a certain culture. Thus, concepts are a kind of keys to culture." Indeed, this is the case, therefore, research within the framework of this methodology can be quite productive and interesting. The work is well-structured, the text is informative, the author's point of view is objective. The article successfully combines practical and theoretical levels: "some of the precedent-level units we have chosen cannot be attributed to widely relayed; their illustrative potential and research value lie for us in the conceptualization of the studied phenomena in the individual linguistic consciousness. Thus, we come to two levels of concept analysis: individual and collective. Each of these levels is able to provide us with an additional set of differential features involved in the formation of the "Life-Death" construct. Some of the precedent-level units we have chosen cannot be attributed to widely relayed ones; their illustrative potential and research value lie for us in the conceptualization of the studied phenomena in the individual linguistic consciousness. Thus, we come to two levels of concept analysis: individual and collective. Each of these levels is able to provide us with an additional set of differential features involved in the formation of the "Life-Death" construct. References to reputable names of researchers speak about high-quality information processing: "our basic attitude in choosing the analyzed material is to take a broad approach to understanding the phenomenon of precedent. If, according to Y.N. Karaulov, a precedent text is a statement that is actively present in the constitution of the YAL itself, then we would like to clarify that any phenomenon present in the metatext of the linguoculture itself is precedent." The text is successfully divided into so-called semantic parts, this makes it easier to perceive information, follow the logic of the development of thoughts. The main requirements of the publication are taken into account, the topic correlates with one of the journal's highways, thus, the parameters are kept within the acceptable limits. The style of the essay correlates with the scientific type itself: for example, this is manifested in the following fragments: "The XXI century was marked by a change of scientific paradigms in science (T. Kuhn): the "tectonic shift" affected all areas of scientific knowledge, including philology. The immanent approach to language, in which it was studied as a "causa sui", was replaced by an anthropocentric vector, where the starting point was Man as a complex phenomenon with its own biological, cognitive, behavioral, social, and cultural settings. As E.S. Kubryakova notes, modern philology (note that the "death of pure linguistics" was proclaimed at the end of the 20th century) is characterized by such trends as interdisciplinarity, explanationism and neofunctionalism," or "in the diachronic aspect, sciences such as linguoculturology are only at the beginning of their formation. Their conceptual field is being actively developed; a terminological thesaurus is being formed that can serve a new field of knowledge; various research methods are being tested. The formation of linguoculturology (as well as other sciences that "grow" from several conceptual fields) is due to the installation of an anthropocentric paradigm on holism the principle of unity, which contributes to the constellation of various (often heterogeneous) fields of scientific knowledge. Under the influence of this trend (which emerged in the second half of the 20th century), many researchers overcome a monodisciplinarity approach to the object under study," etc. The analysis of the issue was done quite similarly, no serious discrepancies were revealed, actual inaccuracies were leveled. Evaluative reasoning in the course of work does not cause complaints: "human life is a gradual "gathering", settling in and mastering space. In a certain sense, the Chinese are guided by a naive picture of the world. They believe that nonexistence is the name of the beginning of heaven and earth, and being is the name of the mother of "ten thousand things." Among these "ten thousand things", a special place belongs to a person literally a "human being", possessing Intelligence and therefore standing above the rest of the object world. Space, according to the mythological views of the Chinese, was "put together": this is what the myth of Pangu and Nuwa tells us." The comparative principle of analysis is extended to the whole work: "human life is invariably regulated by a system of ethical norms: "Da Xue", "Zhongyong", "Lunyu", "Mengzi". These are the principles of life dating back to the Fourth Book. They determine people's behavior, their responsibilities, and are determined by two characteristics: age and subordination. Life, according to the Fourth Book, is an endless path of self-improvement. Any member of society must go through all the stages of becoming a "noble man", including: - ge wu (understanding the architectonics of the universe and the ability to classify objects of reality); - zhi zhi (striving for knowledge and self-knowledge); - cheng xin (nurturing the highest moral qualities, "sincerity of the heart");- xiu shen (self-improvement leading to unity in the family, order in the state and pacification). Junzi, the noble husband, is an ethical hero in the Chinese national worldview. His direct antipode is xiao ren (literally "small soul"), a person who violates the principles of morality and ethics...", etc. The illustrative background is extensive: "the author of the study conducted an associative experiment with a reference group of Hainan University. The incentive words were the lexemes "life" and "death", to which the students were asked to give an appropriate precedent text as a reaction. The most frequent texts were the following: - "Life and death are predetermined, and wealth is bestowed by heaven." - It is better to die standing than to live on your knees. - ? ?????? ????,????????--??????????? "the Dead are really dead, if they are buried in the hearts of the living." - ???????? ?,? ??????,?????????? --??????????,?????- "If a man can die a happy man overcomes death." - ?????? ? ?,?????????????????- "Death is not the loss of life, and the output from the realm of time." - ? ????????????,?????,?????????????????????????? "Death heavy and clean the fruit that we eat to heal too many ills of life," etc. of the Target component is in fact achieved; in the final block noted that "the concept of the dyad "Life-Death" is in the Chinese language picture of the world a special place. This is an axiological concept located at the highest level of the value scale. The semantic field of the concept is diverse; at its core is a person in a system of relationships with the Higher ("Heaven") and the intrasocial ("Society"). Human life is a great middle way (tao), subject to the law of harmonious progress. It is impractical to deviate from this path; its purpose is to cultivate the traits and characteristics of a "noble husband" who is guided by the principles of humanity, reverence, and readiness for endless knowledge. The "noble man" is the standard of the axiological system of the Chinese YAKM, as well as the "perfect sage". I believe that the work may be of interest to a wide audience, even an unprepared but interested reader will be able to receive an informative impulse. I recommend the article "The conceptual pair "Life" and "Death" in the Chinese language picture of the world: explanation of the meanings of precedent texts for representatives of Russian linguistic culture" for open publication in the journal "Litera".
Link to this article

You can simply select and copy link from below text field.


Other our sites:
Official Website of NOTA BENE / Aurora Group s.r.o.