In Addition to the Discussion on the “Methodological Primi-?ivism” in Linguoculturology

© The Editorial Council and Editorial Board of Linguistic Studies

Linguistic Studies
Volume 39, 2020, pp. 
107-118

In Addition to the Discussion on the “Methodological Primi-?ivism” in Linguoculturology

Mizin Kostiantyn, Korostenski Jiří

Article first published online: June 01, 2020 


Additional information

 Author Information: 

Mizin Kostiantyn, Doctor of Philology, Professor, Head of Department of Foreign Philology, Translation and Teaching Methodology, SHEI “Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi Hryhorii Skovoroda State Pedagogical University”. Correspondence: kmizin@i.ua

Korostenski Jiří, CSc in Philology, PhD, Docent at German and Slavic Department, Faculty of Philosophy at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Pilsen, the Czech Republic. Correspondence: jkoroste@kgs.zcu.cz

Citation: 
Mizin, K., Korostenski, J. In Addition to the Discussion on the “Methodological Primi-?ivism” in Linguoculturology [Text] // Linhvistychni Studiyi / Linguistic Studies : collection of scientific papers / Vasyl' Stus 
Donetsk National University; Ed. by Zhanna Krasnobaieva-Chorna. Vinnytsia : Vasyl' Stus DonNU, 2020. Vol. 39. Pp. 107-118. ISBN 966-7277-88-7

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.31558/1815-3070.2020.39.9

Publication History:

Volume first published online: June 01, 2020
Article received: March 01, 2020, accepted: March 15, 2020 and first published online: June 01, 2020

Annotation.

Автори роблять спробу об’єктивно покритикувати ідею опонентів лінгвокультурології про її «методологічну примітивацію», яка, зокрема, включає (1) епігонізм у цій дисципліні, (2) відсутність лінгвокультурологічної методології і (3) просування лінгво-національної ідеї. Виявлено, що «антилінгвокультурологічна» критика не завжди базується на достатній і об'єктивній науковій основі, а також характеризується як сумнівною методологічною правильністю, так і протиріччями.

Keywords: Linguoculturology, epigonism, methodology, concept, linguo-nationalism.



Abstract.

In addition to the discussion on the “methodological primitivism” in linguoculturology

Kostiantyn Mizin

Head of Department of Foreign Philology, Translation and Teaching Methodology, SHEI “Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi Hryhorii Skovoroda State Pedagogical University”, Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine

Jiří Korostenski

CSc in Philology, PhD, Docent, German and Slavic Department, Faculty of Philosophy at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Pilsen, the Czech Republic

Abstract

Background: Quite sharp accusations of “methodological primitivism” from the opponents of Linguoculturology gave us an impetus to write this article because we are directly related to the adaptation of Russian “autochthonous” linguoculturological idea in the Ukrainian linguistic space. Therefore, this research aims to find out objectivity and correctness of “anti-linguoculturologists” criticism of (1) Linguoculturology weak methodological framework and also (2) accusations that Linguoculturology provokes linguo-narcissistic / linguo-nationalistic ideas.

Purpose: The purpose of this article is to find out the main contradictions in the criticism of Linguoculturology.

Results: There is no obvious evidence to accuse Linguoculturology of “methodological primitivism” because it has been revealed that “anti-linguoculturological” criticism is not always based on sufficient and objective scientific grounds as it is characterized by both questionable methodological correctness and contradictions.

Discussion:

1) Linguoculturology contains as much epigonism as any other “fashionable” linguistic research areas;

2) empirical methods of traditional linguistics enhance scientific verification of Linguoculturology linguo-methodology and this fact is persistently denied by “anti-linguoculturologists”;

3) the purpose of Linguoculturology in not to promote some linguo-nationalistic ideas but to identify, by means of language, some common (universal) and distinctive (specific, unique) features in the culture of representatives of different language communities including their socio-cultural behavior.

Keywords: Linguoculturology, epigonism, methodology, concept, linguo-nationalism.

Vitae

Kostiantyn Mizin is Doctor of Philology, Professor, Head of Department of Foreign Philology, Translation and Teaching Methodology, SHEI “Pereiaslav-Khmelnytskyi Hryhorii Skovoroda State Pedagogical University”. His areas of research interests include contrastive linguoculturology, phraseology, contrastive conceptology, cognitive linguistics, contrastive linguistics.

Correspondence: kmizin@i.ua

Jiří Korostenski is CSc in Philology, PhD, Docent at German and Slavic Department, Faculty of Philosophy at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen, Pilsen, the Czech Republic. His areas of research interests include contrastive linguistics, phraseology, cognitive linguistics.

Correspondence: jkoroste@kgs.zcu.cz


Article.

Kostiantyn Mizin

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5216-6032,

Jiří Korostenski

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1371-6070

 

DOI 10.31558/1815-3070.2020.39.9

UDC 81’119

 

In addition to the discussion on the “methodological primitivism” in linguoculturology

 

Автори роблять спробу обєктивно покритикувати ідею опонентів лінгвокультурології про її «методологічну примітивацію», яка, зокрема, включає (1) епігонізм у цій дисципліні, (2) відсутність лінгвокультурологічної методології і (3) просування лінгво-національної ідеї. Виявлено, що «антилінгвокультурологічна» критика не завжди базується на достатній і об'єктивній науковій основі, а також характеризується як сумнівною методологічною правильністю, так і протиріччями.

Ключові слова: лінгвокультурологія, епігонізм, методологія, концепт, лінгво-націоналізм.

 

1. Introductory remarks. Unreliability verification of the methodological framework of Linguoculturology (hereinafter referred to as LC) has been the focus of heated debate (see Kiklewicz, “Koncept! Koncept… Koncept?”; Kosmeda; Mizin, “Lіngvokulturnij Koncept Kapcі; Pavlova,Mozhno li Sudito Kulture Naroda; Pavlova, Bezrodnyy; Shmelev). This discussion has even gained noticeable political overtones recently (Vorkachov, “Lingvokul’turnaja Konceptologija i Jejo Terminosistema; Prozhilov). Critics of LC call into question a scientific adequacy of its theoretical-and-philosophical and linguo-methodological base. They state that it opens a wide field for epigonism in LC and makes it convenient for political manipulations. These scholars believe that works in the field of LC are full of linguo-narcissistic or linguo-nationalistic conclusions. Moreover, they even consider this linguistic research area to be anti-scientific. This idea is particularly shared by the authors of the “anti-linguoculturological” collection of works (“Ot Lingvistiki k Mifu”).

Quite sharp accusations of “methodological primitivism” from the opponents of LC gave us an impetus to write this article because we are directly related to the adaptation of Russian “autochthonous” linguoculturological idea in the Ukrainian linguistic space (Mizin; Mizin, Letiucha; Mizin, Letiucha, Petrov; Mizin, Petrov). Therefore, this research aims to find out objectivity and correctness of “anti-linguoculturological” criticism (hereinafter referred to asАLC”) of (1) LC weak methodological framework and also (2) accusations that LC provokes linguo-narcissistic / linguo-nationalistic ideas. At the same time the authors of this article will discuss some contradictions in this criticism.

2. Contradictions in “ALC”-criticism. First of all, we cannot agree with S. Vorkachev’s thought that LC is an “autochthonic Russian phenomenon circulating only in Russian-speaking scientific space” (Vorkachev, “Kuda zh Nam Plyt’?” 16). This scholar might not be familiar with a vast mass of Ukrainian, Belarusian and Kazakh linguo-culturologists’ works as he does not know these languages (see, e. g.: Zahnitko, Sakharuk). For some reason, “АLC”-critics ignore the fact that LC has become popular not only in post-soviet linguistics but also has gone beyond the latter in the last ten years (Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, etc.).

There is no doubt that opponents of LC are serious scientists in the field of linguistics. But some critical passages cause, at least, bewilderment: here it is possible to find not only contradictions and strange conclusions on linguo-philosophical and linguo-methodological basis of LC but also a superficial linguistic analysis.

Inconsequence of “АLC”-criticism is primarily shown by the fact that there exist completely negating “АLC” relations between language and culture, some works still demonstrate a recognition of this relation (Pavlova, “Lingvokul’turologija v Rossii201). It would be absolutely nonscientific to keep denying this relation. What one should do about such words as the Icelandic sólarfrí, the Norwegian tyvsmake and gjensynsglede, the Finnish sisu, the Danish engelengeduld, the German Sehnsucht, Fernweh, etc. whose linguo-specific contents make it difficult to translate them adequately into other languages? There is a good number of words expressing unique linguo-cultural concepts or phenomenon in every language which is an indisputable evidence of direct correlation between language and culture. Otherwise, how one can explain their linguo-specific content in general?

The concept of “language picture of the world” is greatly criticized. At the same time, the statement that the language picture of the world is a model of culture (Kiklewicz, “Koncept! Koncept… Koncept?” 191) seems to be strange. It is known that “picture” and “model” i. e. “language model of the world” and “language picture of the world” are related but not identical notions (Alefirenko 21–24). While the model of the culture is “the cultural or cognitive or conceptual picture of the world”. As we can see it, they are the concepts that represent different mental and verbal nature of the objective world.

In this regard, it is noteworthy that language picture of the world and ethnic mentality are considered as equivalents. For example, it is absolutely unclear how А. Zheleznjak’s quotation (Zheleznjak) – “[…]. There is a tempting opportunity to reconstruct at least some peculiarities of ethnic mentality through features of language” – gives the grounds for conclusion that linguoculturologists put an equal sign between language picture of the world and ethnic mentality (Pavlova, “Lingvokul’turologija v Rossii” 202).

The contradictions listed above are not all the moments which substantially minimize the arguments of LC opponents. The latter has a number of concepts which cannot be just manipulated. At first they need to be thoroughly examined because some of them have not been accurately defined in linguistics. And the most slippery moment is to differentiate mental (cultural) from verbal (language).

As for the linguistic analysis which “ALC”-critics often use as an argument, we have the following idea: when scholars criticize methodological tools of a research area offering something in exchange, they have to be especially attentive to what they offer. This mainly concerns the analysis of language facts: if there is any doubt about this analysis, then it negatively affects all aspects of “ALC” criticism. For example, let us consider A. Pavlova’s reflections on the German verb nippen (Pavlova, Mozhno li Sudito Kulture Naroda” 3): “The German verb nippen has an exact Russian equivalent пригубить. But one cannot use this equivalent to translate the sentence Er nippte an seinem Kaffee as […] it designates only a single action. […] of wine, it would be possible to say потягивал (вино). But you cannot потягивать coffee because it is only possible to потягивать a cold drink. Therefore, the only possible way to say it is Он пил кофе маленькими глотками. […] But […] we should reject it (this translation) in other specific context, for example: Er lacht noch häufiger, als er an seiner Kaffeetasse nippt (Stern). – *Он смеется еще чаще, чем пьет кофе маленькими глотками. […] This makes us suspect that it was composed (the Russian sentence) by a non-native speaker. The translation Смеется он чаще, чем вспоминает про свой остывающий кофе gives absolutely different impression. This translation is a rehash to meet habitual, current usage”.

This translation analysis had to demonstrate, in Pavlova’s opinion, the fact that the study of linguo-specific words has not been paid enough attention. It is the contrastive (translation) research of such words that can reveal real differences in languages and cultures. Therefore, linguoculturologists could study these – truly scientific and expedient problems instead of searching for the facts that prove an “absurd idea” of culture data extraction directly from the language (ibid. 50). However,
despite all the pretentiousness of this thought, Pavlova hasn’t conducted a proper language analysis because the definitions of the lexemes
пригубливать, потягивать (for example, according to one of the authoritative explanatory dictionaries of Russian (Ozhegov, Shvedova)) completely deny her thought: потягивать – “taking only a very small amount (e. g.: beer, pipe)”; пригубливать / пригубить – “to try smth by touching with lips (usually of wine)”. As we see, it is not mentioned here at all that it is possible to потягивать only cold drinks, and the verb пригубливать expresses only a single action in the past. An elementary analysis of a “live” discourse proves this: Мануэль не пил вина. Он только немного пригубливал кофе из крохотной чашечки (Gubajlovskij); Хорст лег поверх спального мешка Алины и с необъяснимым блаженством шумно потягивал горячий кофе (Nesterov). That is why, a representative of the Russian linguo-culture finds the translations Он пригубливал кофе or Он смеется чаще, чем пригубливает кофе more natural. Whereas, such translation as Смеется он чаще, чем вспоминает про свой остывающий кофе loses its equivalence which is undesirable for the translation as a process mediated by cross-cultural communication.

3. Linguoculturology and epigonism. LC has become one of the key research areas in the modern Ukrainian linguistics and this makes LC-studies rather “fashionable”. “АLC” deny this fact though. A. Kiklewicz, for example, has found out that “the research areas which are loudly referred to as “main” in modern linguistics […] are marginal. The publications in the field of Linguoculturology include only 2.36 % in the Russian data bank and their number is much lower in the German one – 0.55 %” (Kiklewicz, Sovremennoe Pol’skoe i Russkoe Jazykoznanie” 275). We could agree with Kiklewicz’s conclusions if there were not two “buts”: 1) similar data are not found, for example, in the Ukrainian data bank (because of “electronic backwardness”, of course, the reason is that there is still no more or less normal linguistic corpus); 2) almost every fifth article in linguistic collections of works in Ukraine is related to LC, but authors hardly ever mention this research area which makes it difficult to calculate both the exact and approximate number of works in the field of LC.

As any “fashionable” research area, LC generates some lame followers. Therefore, it is not the primitive methods in linguoculturological works, as some critics believe (see a discussion: Vorkachov, “Lingvokul’turnaja Konceptologija i Jejo Terminosistema” 13; Prozhilov 13), that causes the problem of epigonism but “fashion”. Moreover, it is the epigonic pseudoscientific studies that are often more culturological or ethnographic rather than linguoculturological because in these works authors usually do not follow the basic principle: linguoculturologists’ results and conclusions only have to come from empirical data – language facts. Factual materials for LC-studies should be rich and various as well as represent both language (to include as many dictionaries, reference books, encyclopedias, etc. as possible) and speech (different contexts, the Internet discourse, linguistic corpora, psycholinguistic / sociolinguistic experiments, linguo-statistic verification, etc.) levels. Even if works are devoted to “phantom” concepts, procedures of empirical methods of linguistics are essential for the conceptual analysis (see further LC methods). At the same time, we agree with LC opponents that conclusions based on the analysis of separate language units are at least primitive. For example, if we only look at the phraseological (paremiological) corpus of language it is not always methodologically justified (Kiklewicz, Koncept! Koncept… Koncept?” 200).

It is noteworthy that ill-founded linguoculturological results and conclusions are typical not only for epigonists because even prominent researchers, both in Ukraine and Russia, maniacally declare some special spirituality of Russians (these people are ready “to embrace lovingly the whole world” (Zaliznjak et al. 246) by means of their “bonds” (by the way, the phrase is very remarkable in the context of the current Russian-Ukrainian war)) and Ukrainians (despite the 21st century, “ethnographers” keep calling this ethnos “cordocentric”, dreamy and God-fearing).

The “pressure” of this spirituality on Ukrainian linguoculturologists results in such “masterpieces” as: The Ukrainian grandmother is a unique world phenomenon. She often loves her grandchildren more than her own children”; “Another modern characteristic of Ukrainians is an intolerance […] to bawdiness, to dirty television programs, condemnation of amoral promiscuous women, a cuckoo-mother …”; “The Ukrainian people […] want and are able to love. Young people’s desire to step on a wedding towel comes from their hearts and they rarely do it for money or benefits” (Potapenko, Potapenko, Kozhukhovska, Levchenko, Chuban, Burchyk 215). It is unclear what these pseudo-linguoculturological conclusions are based on but they give the grounds for “АLC”-criticism. What is quite obvious here is that they have no linguistic analysis. But even if they are culturological or ethnological conclusions, then these “people studies” need to be based on scientific analysis. Otherwise, how can they prove that the Ukrainian newlyweds “only occasionally” marry for money?

Apart from “fashion”, the epigonism in LC is stimulated by numerous dissertation councils. This is a common problem for both Russia and Ukraine. The trouble is that these councils work “in the old manner”. It was fairly acceptable in the last century, but now it is not. In the USSR period, there was a need to introduce some unclear moments into dissertation councils work in order to stop dissidents from successful defenses: obscure criteria for appointing reviewers, experts and opponents, a secret ballot, etc. Today all these moments add to the epigonism where opacity is more than welcome. Even if a principled researcher happens to be in a council like that, the majority will get rid of him anyway. At the same time every council has to demonstrate its effectiveness which is measured by the number of defended dissertations during its cadence. The pursuit of quantity often results in neglecting quality that makes dissertation councils to be loyal to low-quality dissertation works.

4. Is there a linguoculturological method? The following statement of “ALC” is too categorical: “Linguoculturology has no methods. What scholars of this research area declare to be their methods, cannot be the ones” (Pavlova, “Lingvokul’turologija v Rossii” 206). In this context, “ALC” persistently ignore the fact that linguoculturologists in their studies mainly use common empirical methods of linguistics: descriptive method, component analysis, contextual analysis, etymological analysis, etc. This is not surprising, however, because the researchers who are closely related to LC as well as those who are not, emphasize that there is a close connection between this linguistic research area and traditional linguistics, e. g.: “As for cultural linguistics, we can see that it is returning to the traditions of structuralism or it might continue them” (Kiklewicz, “Koncept! Koncept… Koncept?” 191); “Linguo-conceptology is a continuation and development of classical, structural and functional semantics” (Karasik 93). The specifics of the research object – language (language sign) which is more an ideal phenomenon than material, means using such method as introspection as well as other different experimental methods.

That is why the only LC opponents’ idea to agree with is that there is no commonly used linguoculturological method yet. To be fair, there have been a few attempts to develop such a method by now (see Kovshova; Chubur).

Researchers’ efforts to develop LC method, as we see it, are interfered with the interdisciplinarity of LC itself because “why would one invent the bicycle if it has been already invented”. This means that there is no urgent need in search of such method because “adopted methods satisfy linguoculturologists. For example, there is a methodological importance in the adaptation of methods of cognitive linguistics, primarily conceptual and interpretative analyses which, in the field of LC, have extended through some specific procedures. Besides, in modern works it is important for the linguoculturological analysis to be validated by the methods of psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics and corpus linguistics.

For example, it is the first step that is of some methodological importance when studying linguo-culturally relevant concepts – identification of all shades in meanings of words (phrases) used for denominating these concepts, including their general and contextual meanings. To achieve this, we use a method which is based on research procedures of translation studies and corpus linguistics. The essence of this method is that the translation makes it possible to define all contextual and semantic shades of a lexeme – a concept name. If the translation shows that any contextual or semantic shade is missing in one of the languages or an “extra” semantic component emerges which cannot be neutralized in the translation, it clearly indicates that this language unit is linguo-specific, and the concept it denominates, is ethnospecific / ethnounique (cf. Zaliznjak 686). For this purpose, it is just enough to translate, for example, some samples of the publicistic discourse provided by linguistic corpora.

The analysis of linguo-specifics of the lexeme Schadenfreude in our earlier studies (see Mizin, Letiucha, Petrov) has shown that the concept malevolence of Germans is specific compared to, for example, British linguo-culture, but it is different from Ukrainian or Russian where this emotion is as widespread as in Germany. Moreover, the translation analysis of semantic shades of the German malevolence on the one hand, and both Ukrainian and Russian, on the other hand, has allowed us to find out that this emotion in these language communities is almost identical. That is, the concept SCHADENFREUDE is not linguo-culturally suitable for German and Ukrainian linguoculturological comparison. Consequently, contrastive linguoculturological studies are concerned with, firstly, common concepts that have ethnospecific meanings; secondly, ethnounique concepts, for example, the German concept FERNWEH which has no equivalents in Ukrainian i. e. the lexeme of Fernweh is translated descriptively and differently (Mizin, Letiucha, Petrov 65–66):

(1) Deshalb, wegen diesesFernwehs im Kopf”, wird Hanna Werbezirk der fremden Stimme später folgen und nach Frankfurt ziehen … // Тому, через цю “непереборну пристрасть до мандрівок в її голові”, Ганна Вербецірк послідує чужому голосу та переїде до Франкфурта…;

(2) Ach, hier packt mich immer das Fernweh // Ох, тут мене завжди охоплює жага до далеких мандрівок;

(3) Bestsellerautorin Cornelia Funke (57) kennt Fernweh und das Gefühl der Fremde im eigenen Land // Авторці бестселерів Корнелії Функе (57) відомі туга за далекими світами та відчуття чужини у власній країні;

(4) Von Fernweh gepeinigt, hockten wir also nun auf meinem Ostberliner Sofa // Отже, змучені тугою за мандрами, ми так і сиділи на моєму дивані у Східному Берліні;

(5) Es ist der Raum eines Menschen, der immer Fernweh hatte, niemals Heimweh // Це – простір людини, у якому завжди є місце для туги за далекими світами і ніколи – для туги за домівкою;

(6) Sie war zufrieden und mochte ihren Job, aber da war noch ein Gefühl, das sie nicht losließ: Fernweh // Вона була задоволеною та любила свою роботу, але було ще почуття, яке її не відпускало – непереборна потреба змінювати місця проживання;

(7) Und wer kennt es nicht, das Gefühl von Fernweh, den Wunsch für kurze Zeit einen Teil hinter sich zu lassen und etwas Neues zu entdecken? // І хто ж її не знає – туги за далечінню і жаги пізнання нового, бажання на коротку мить залишити позаду частину свого життя та відкрити щось нове?;

(8) Sehnsucht, Heimweh, Fernweh, das steckt einfach in mir drin // Внутрішні пориви, туга за домівкою, туга за далечінню – це все в мені всередині;

(9) Das Gefühl von damals, als dieser Film eine existenzielle Form der Sehnsucht in mir ausgelöst hat, wie Heimweh und Fernweh zugleich // Почуття тих часів, коли цей фільм викликав у мені екзистенційну форму глибокої ностальгії – як ностальгії за домівкою та ностальгії за далечінню разом.

As we can see, all the examples contain an “extra” semantic component which cannot be replaced in translation.

We absolutely disagree with this “АLC” statement: “Knowledge about [...] cultures is primary while language data are secondary, because language is a reflection of some cultural characteristics and they cannot be revealed without knowing these characteristics in the real world” (Pavlova, “Lingvokul’turologija v Rossii” 201). When LC opponents accuse it of using “esoteric” methods they turn the whole methodological basis of LC studies “upside down”: the only empirical material of these studies is language, therefore all results and conclusions have to be based on language facts, i. e. an LC-analysis is always language-oriented. If researchers, after reading culturological, ethnological, sociological, psychological, and other works, just look for language facts which could confirm principles of these sciences, it will be nothing but “esotericism”. The results of these studies are rather predictable and they can scarcely be characterized as linguoculturological. Therefore, “verbocentrism” of LC (see Kiklewicz, Koncept! Koncept… Koncept?” 202) is not its methodological flaw but strength. What is important is that scrupulous language data based on LC-studies never ignore other data (sociological, psychological, etc.) as linguoculturological findings and conclusions have to be always confirmed by data of interdisciplinary sciences.

We can partially agree with the opinion that “social differentiation of the cultural community in linguoculturological works often remains behind-the-scenes” (ibid. 202) as it depends on a research objective and some works study subcultures (see Zhukova). Indeed, the better part of works in the field of LC focuses on finding some typical character traits of an “average” Ukrainian, Belarusian, German, Englishman, etc., and the term “average representative of linguo-culture” is phantom in a way. But there is still no indisputable and complete list of chief traits of a “typical” German, Ukrainian, etc., considering the whole development dynamics of both the cultural community in general and the language. However, it is very important for cross-cultural communication, especially during the total globalization, to identify such traits in order to avoid communicative and behavioral deviations. And every adequate LC-study has to “contribute” to the creation of a true image of an “average” representative of this or that linguo-culture.

5. Linguoculturology and politics: are they always related? In fact, all the criticism of LC opponents has a political background. It mainly concerns the LC linguo-philosophy basis (neo-Humboldtianism, neo-Whorfianism, the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, etc.). And as the politics is mostly attributed to Russian LC, it is not surprising that the scientific analysis of LC critics is “blinded” with evil irony and sharp sarcasm which focus on the Russian linguo-narcissism and linguo-nationalism, including “spiritual bonds” (original: duhovnye skrepy – духовные скрепы) of Russians. There is even an opinion that LC is a euphemistic designation for linguo-nationalism (Pavlova, Mozhno li Sudito Kulture Naroda” 28).

To be fair, it should be noted that linguo-nationalism is opposed to a positive linguo-patriotism and the distinction between these terms is “blurred (Gardt 247). And the manifestation of both linguo-patriotism and linguo-nationalism / linguo-narcissism in LC has, in our opinion, a general basis – a researcher’s ethnocentrism which one should try to get rid of when studying languages and cultures polylingually and monolingually. But it is often impossible because “our own” language and culture are always “closer”. It is not surprising then that some works in the field of LC contain mainly linguo-narcissistic and less often linguo-nationalistic passages. Mostly it is true about the first works devoted to uniqueness of “the mysterious Russian soul”.

We certainly have every reason to agree with LC opponents that some Russian linguoculturologists’ studies focus on “spiritual bonds”. But the fact that Russian is considered to be one of the “bonds” proves that Russian linguistics commonly lean towards linguo-nationalism. And LC has nothing to do with this, it is just a convenient tool for political manipulations. Linguo-nationalism of Russian LC is based on the ideas of Russophiles and completely depends on a political situation in Russia. This is evidenced by an apparent political bias of some Russian linguoculturologists. For instance, S. Vorkachev (Vorkachev, “Lingvokul’turnaja Konceptologija i Jejo Terminosistema” 14) claims that “the civil war in Ukraine is an example of linguo-cultural war: an attempt of native Russian speakers to defend their language and cultural identity”. This brings up the question: are these conclusions of a politician or linguist? It is doubtful that these conclusions are results of some profound LC research.

Indirectly linguo-nationalism can also be found in those works of the Russian researchers where there seems to be no politics at all. Studying a language objectivization of the linguo-cultural concept Baikal, the author of the dissertation draws paradoxical conclusions that “the concept Baikal in the regional linguo-cultural space actualizes basic values of the Buryats’ spiritual culture” (Zhigacheva 8), but in this research the analysis of the concept is based exclusively on the Russian discourse, while the most common native language in this region – Buryat – remains “behind-the-scenes”.

6Conclusions. The article attempts to examine scientific objectivity and methodological correctness of some LC opponents’ critical passages. We argue that there is no obvious evidence to accuse LC of “methodological primitivism” because: 1) LC contains as much epigonism as any other “fashionable” linguistic research areas; 2) empirical methods of traditional linguistics enhance scientific verification of LC linguo-methodology and this fact is persistently denied by “ALC”; 3) the purpose of LC is not to promote some linguo-nationalistic ideas but to identify, by means of language, some common (universal) and distinctive (specific, unique) features in the culture of representatives of different language communities including their socio-cultural behavior.

References. 

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List of Abbreviations

“АLC” – “anti-linguoculturologist” / “anti-linguoculturological”

DWDS – Digitales Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache

LC – Linguoculturology

Надійшла до редакції 15 березня 2020 року.