Baltic accent

2023 Vol. 14 №2

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Distributive interpretants in the crossword metalanguage



In this paper, we study such a specific product of enigmatic discourse as a crossword puzzle. The powerful potential of this text is manifested in its ability to accumulate and translate cultural meanings and values, which explains the recent appearance of a large number of works on the study of linguistic, cultural, structural-semantic and cognitive-discursive features of the crossword language. The study of the ontological nature of the crossword, as undertaken in this research, is grounded in an examination of its metalanguage essence. Crossword descriptions reflect the outcomes of metalanguage consciousness operations, which aim to depict the elements of the semantics of encrypted nominations.

The unit of research is the crossword puzzle cell — the basic structural unit, which is formed by the unity of the description and the encrypted nomination. A description containing information about the encoded word forms a verbalized part of the crossword puzzle cell, and the encoded nomination is a non—verbalized part that is subject to decoding as a result of interpretation of the description. Encoding and decoding of the sign act as two components forming a dialogical unity of the act of indirect communication between the compiler of the crossword and its interpreter.

The purpose of this study is to search for and describe the features of distributive interpretants, that is, those descriptions that model the potential contexts of the use of encoded nominations. Distributive interpretants are formed on the basis of lacunized descriptions and appeals to the semantics of the enigma by updating the contexts of its use. The work on the language material revealed the principle of constructing pseudo-distributive interpretants. While maintaining a formal identity with distributive interpretants, they fundamentally form the search area of the encrypted word in a different way, not modeling the semantic context, but using parts of complex words with hyphenated spelling as terms of descriptions, as well as a variety of precedent names and utterances.


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