Slovo.ru: the Baltic accent

2018 Vol. 9 № 2

Image, eidos, figura, pattern. How words help to recognize patterns and understand their reference and sense?

Abstract

The article explores the process of image recognition. The author analyses everyday language to identify correlattions between cognitive patterns of the image and a set of alternative etymons and cognitive patterns in Russian and other languages — Greek, Latin, English, German. Links between them form a vast conceptual space associated with image recognition. The author proposes a pattern of image recognition, which is, in its simplified form, unfolding from a quantum automaton, to its "saturation" due to the complexity of image recognition procedures. The author traces a transition from the processing of external objective signals through the construal of image configurations to the assignment of senses and meaning.

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The Image of the World Revealed In Words: Ludwig Wittgenstein and The Iсonic Semiotics

Abstract

The article discusses an alternative version of semiotics in which the process of semiosis is based not on metonymic symbolization (substitution), when one entity stands for another, but on the metaphorical (iconic) representation. The author suggests considering iconicity as a basis for relating the signifier and the signified. This relation is understood as a construed one rather than something determined by physical similarity. The basis for such a revision of iconicity can be found in Lessing's treatise “Laoсoon”, and the conception of iconicity is described in Wittgenstein's “Tractatus”. In the picture theory of language, iconicity is understood as a logical isomorphism between structures. This allows the author to expand the concept of iconicity — due to the use of verbal means, an image can denote both actual, possible and even non-existent entities. This makes it possible to consider a sign as not only a discrete and symbolic phenomenon based on an arbitrary connection between the signified and the signifier. Alternative semiotics can be based on Wittgenstein’s understanding of a sign as a picture, a holistic structure of non-discrete components and a system, which is not construed from given components. It is a system, which forms intra- and intertextual structures. In this way, it will be possible to describe texts that are signs but do not consist of signs (movies, paintings) and create signs in the process of functioning. Accordingly, one can speak about the semiotics of text, in which such phenomena will be considered as primary ones. This will be a non-discrete and/or iconic semiotics, based not on the dogma of the artibrary connection between the signified and the signifier, but on various types of isomorphism between them.

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On the Semiotic Model of Image

Abstract

The article is devoted to the development of a fundamental semiotic model of images that is based on the categorical apparatus of Ch. S. Peirce (on the concepts of Firstness, icon, hypoicon and metaphor). The image is proposed to be defined as a complex sign (two-level hypoicon- metaphor), which has a certain “primary” sign as its sign vehicle that represents the object constituted by all the facts (cases of semiosis) that are similar to that primary sign. Three key functions of the image are defined: a) the memory function (the accumulation of semiotic experience inherent in a certain discourse), b) the transfer function (transmission (synchronic and diachronic) of semiotic experience from one discourse to another), c) logonomic function (prescription and enabling of the future of acts of semiosis, similar to a certain exemplary act). The author explores the relationship between the category of image and a number of similar concepts. In particular, the definitions of the category of symbol (by S. S. Averintsev and Yu. M. Lotman), the category of myth (in the interpretation of R. Barthes) and the concept of meme (by R. Dawkins) are analysed and juxtaposed with the notion of image.

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Imagology as a Part of Compartive Literary Studies

Abstract

The author explores the genesis and evolution of imagology as a field of comparative literary studies abroad, considering ideas of G. M. Carré, M. F. Guyard, A. Dima, D. H. Pageaux, H. Dyserinck and paying particular attention to the modern approach presented by J. Leerssen, a well-known representative of Western imagological school. The author analyzes the main ideas of Leerssen's updated conception “Imagology: on using ethnicity to make sense of the world” published in 2016: the thesis about interdisciplinary nature of images, the threefold procedure of an ethnotype's analysis, "frame/trigger" approach, irony and meta-images. The author describes some aspects of imagological studies in Russia. The author analyzes interpretations of the term “imagology” of such Russian researchers as A. R. Oshchepkov, V. A. Khorev, N. P. Mikhalskaia, E. V. Papilova, V. B. Zemskov, O.Iu. and O. A. Poliakovy. It is underlined that for Russian researches the main dilemma of imagology can be formulated in the following way — should imagology exclusively analyze the images of the "other" or selfimages as well. Consequently, in the Russian studies there is still no generally accepted definition of the term imagology. The article describes recent tendencies in the imagological studies in Russia. The author holds that imagology has a significant potential for development and the subject of this field of science can be extended due to intensifying interactions between different national cultures and literatures.

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Images of Paradise in the Russian Poetry of the End of the 20th Century

Abstract

The article deals with the concept of Paradise and its figurative representations inherent in the poetic generation of the 1980-2000s. The study is based on the material of the poetry of Russian meta-realists — A. Parshchikov, I. Zhdanov, A. Eremenko, A. Dragomoschenko, V. Aristov, S. Soloviev, Ye. Danin, and N. Iskrenko, a member of the Moscow "Poetry" club. The author reveals the specific character of the metaphorization of the mythologeme and the realization of its symbolic meanings in poetic representations of the Garden of Eden, the earthly and heavenly Paradise in the image of the city and the mountain, the boundaries of Paradise, the light as a marker of heavenly elements and energies. The study shows that both the Old and New Testaments determine poetic interpretations of Paradise, and the Paradise itself looks apocalyptic. The author analyzes the images of the Forbidden fruit and the Tree of knowledge, and reinterprets the expulsion from Paradise into exile in Paradise. It is emphasized that the poetry of the period under consideration is characterized by philosophical reflections on Paradise as a Purgatory; it shows the traumatism of paradise freedom, which is determined by the experience of this poetic generation of moving from the literary underground to the centre of the literary process and by changing the reality reflected in poetry, the appearance in this reality of signs of "paradise life" and new, sometimes surpassing the creative personality, opportunities for self-expression. There is also a connection between the new "paradise" poetry and the literary tradition that comes from Dante, Mandelstam, and Tsvetaeva.

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Semiotic Hybridisation as the Basis of Internet Meme Semantics

Abstract

The authors study the process of semiotic hybridisation in internet memes, which are a popular internet communication phenomenon. The relevance of the topic is conditioned by the lack of academic research into multimodal features of internet memes. The aim of the research work is to analyse the process of semiotic hybridisation in internet memes. The authors hold that semiotic hybridisation in internet memes construes the semantics of these units, while their verbal and non-verbal components interact on the conceptual level. The theory of conceptual integration elaborated by J. Fauconnier and M. Turner can provide a theoretical foundation for the analysis of semiotic hybridization. English internet memes are used as examples to illustrate the main research findings.

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Lingvocultural Transfer: a Myth as a Meme

Abstract

This author considers the intergenerational transmission of the idea of myth in the framework of the cultural-historical dichotomy "communication-transfer", examining it from the point of views of the unit of cultural inheritance (meme). The author notes that for an individual, the most interesting memes are capable of transmitting information from a tradition to a tradition, from a generation to a generation, whereas the least attractive myths exist at the moment of communication and are unlikely to be replicate by other generations. The authors hold that a linguocultural transfer of information in time and space is never ideal, and replicators create deviational variants of myths that somehow differ from each other. Such an imperfect process of intergenerational information transfer contributed to the emergence of a large number of variative religious trends, astrological forecasts and so on. The author describes the semiotic system of myth, the main feature of which is its targeted orientation. Such a system of myth promotes the description of the impact of external phenomena on the inner world of man through far-fetched pseudo-historical legends. It is noteworthy that the idea of unconditional belief in supernatural forces remains relevant in the modern world, despite the evolutionary development of society. The vitality of myths, as shown in the work, results from the linguocultural transfer of information from one generation to another, due to the attractiveness of the memes of this or that myth for the human psyche.

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RUSSIAN STUDIES ABROAD

The Image of Contemporary Russia n Language and Culture: the Thematic Issue of «Russian Review»

Abstract

The article is an overview of the thematic issue of the Polish research journal "Russian Review" dedicated to the image of modern Russia in political, media, poetic, marketing and didactic types of discourse. Both national and international research works are taken into consideration. Nowadays researchers become increasingly interested in the category of image. A noticeably stronger position of anthropological, communicative and pragmalinguistic approaches to the analysis of linguistic phenomena and discursive practices has led to an intensive study of the image of state, as well as head of state in various spheres of communication. The image of the country is an intangible resource, which is extremely important not only for the formation of national identity, but also for the position and role of the country in the world and its international policy. The aim of the reviewed issue is to promote exchange ideas among scientists whose research in various scientific disciplines contributes to a deeper understanding of Russia and the formation of its image in national and intercultural communication. The issue provides a multidimensional coverage of various theoretical and practical aspects of the image-making from the perspective of the theory of communication, linguistics, social psychology, discourse studies, cognitive poetics, linguistics and culture studies.

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FIRST ARTICLE

The Name of Prophet Abraham in the Old Russian Literature of XI—XIII centuries

Abstract

The spread of Christianity in Russia contributed to the development of writing and had a direct impact on the thematic, genre, figurative features of spiritual, and later secular literature. In this article, we consider the image of Abraham, one of the Biblical forefathers, along with Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, who are central to Old Testament. The author analyzes the mentioning of his name in various contexts of ancient Russian literature of the 11th-13th centuries — the Tale of Bygone Years, the Teaching and Prayer of Theodosius of Pechersky, the Ostromir’s Gospel, the Words and Instructions of Cyril of Turov, the Tale of Boris and Gleb and some others. The author distinguishes free and formulaic references to the prophet’s name. An example of free reference is a comparison of the events of the recent past with an episode from Abraham’s life. Examples of formulaic references include cases like "Abraham bosom", "children of Abraham", where Abraham not only appears as a forefather of the sacred people, but also personifies the afterlife. The name of Abraham is described in the historical chronology, in which the prophet appears as the emblem of time or a genus. Depending on the context, the formulaic and free references to his name in the Old Testament belong to the period of the sacred history when Abraham lived or to all the biblical events simultaneously. Free reference of Abraham's name occurs less often and mostly in the episode of the liberation of Lot from captivity, and in the description of his personal qualities, such as his hospitality. Formulas are always built into rhetorical constructions such as additions, and the image of the forefather of the chosen people in the formulas appears primarily as a symbol of the Old Testament.

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