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Russian Language Models

Russian Language Models
Kasymova Olga, lecturer, doctor of philology, associate professor

Bashkir State University, Russia

Conference participant

Six models of the Russian language system, represented in the article,  are a good illustration of the general scientific complementary principle. Being so different, these models contribute to the creation of the general model both of the Russian and any other natural language.

Keywords: System, Model,   Language,  The complementary principle

Modeling is one of the most widely spread ways of representing  the knowledge about the systems, and in humanitarian sciences it is practically the only way of the real presentation of knowledge about the properties of the studied system.  Modeling is widely represented in linguistics and, as some linguists note, “in essence (although it was not accepted by the traditional grammar) building the so-called paradigmatic schemes of names declination and verbs conjugation is modeling, and these schemes are models, placing separate grammar forms of the word in a succession, convenient for observation.  What is this succession in language reality, we do not know, because the corresponding facts are presented to us separately.  That is why, gathering them together, we build a model” [Распопов 1976, p.19].

The researchers are trying to restore in the model (with different degrees of success) these properties of the object, that is why models are always subjective, to this or that degree they are correct (close to the original) and correlate with each other on the principle of addition.  The most important methodological notion is the criterion of quality (in other words, the system-forming parameter), because it is the choice of the quality criterion that determines the original properties of the model. Another important model property is its completeness, i.e. full description. Unfortunately, the models of the language system, available in the Russian linguistics, are not always in line with this criterion.  So, the linguistic interpretation is the concrete expression of some model: the model and the linguistic interpretation are different levels of modeling. One and the same model can have different interpretations (for example, phonological or grammar). Such differentiation enables us to judge about the  model itself and its degree of scientific development. In the given work only some models of the Russian language system are studied; there the language system is represented differently and with different degrees of completeness.  The base of the models represented in the given chapter was mostly the work by З. Д. Попова«Методические указания к курсу«Модели системы языка в современной лингвистике» для слушателей повышения квалификации» (Воронеж, 1996). This survey  does not claim to be complete, the author wanted to show that while constructing the model linguists use (probably, intuitively) the basic notions of systemology.

The level model of the language system is the most known. It is most widely represented in the numerous grammars of the Russian language and the manuals; it is exactly this idea of language system organization that most studies of the language realia are based on.  The language system  in this description is represented as a hierarchy of levels. This idea dates back to Э. Бенвенист, who, in his turn, refers to Ф. де Соссюр. In 1915 in his “Course of General Linguistics” Ф. де Соссюрfor the first time set the question about the system of language signs.  Stating the opinion of Ф. де Соссюрin details, Э. Бенвенистin his work “General Linguistics” (published in France in 1966) develops further the idea of the language as a system of hierarchically organized signs. The model of language, put forward by Э. Бенвенист, is close to the ideas of the system organization in other sciences (physics, chemistry), where the units of the lower level form the units of the higher level.  The task of the linguists is revealing elementary units and relations among them.  This was the working field of structuralists, descriptive linguists, creators of transformational grammars.  In the framework of the level model of the language the idea of the language structure appeared. 

Language is a system of heterogeneous, non-homogeneous units that enables us to speak about it as of a complex system – the system of systems.  The idea, put forward by А. А. Реформатскийthat there is the unity of different levels of the whole together with what joins special systems on one level “was not only timely, but led logically to the necessity of multilateral, multifaceted and, what is more important, differentiated approach to the organization of language and its relations” [Общее языкознание..., p. 63]. That is why the introduction of the notion  of the level became so important within this trend.  With the introduction of this notion the so-called “stratification model of language” was defined.

The level model of the language presupposes the stratification of the language system into several large blocks, situated specially.  Usually the level model is described as a pyramid, a bookstand, a chain, a staircase. Such an idea of the language system is based on the principles, founded in the framework of structural and transformational linguistics, glossematics and descriptive linguistics. The idea of the layers, levels, blocks of the language system was formed in the middle of the XX century.  Different linguists point out different  levels – 3 (А. А. Звегинцев, Л. М. Васильев), 4 (И. П. Распопов), 6 (С. Лэм). The structure of the language is represented   as the hierarchy from the lower, more simple level, to the higher,  maximally complex one.  Each level is constituted by a special unit (a phoneme, a morpheme, a word, a sentence). According to such understanding of the language system, the description of language realia  is constructed in grammars, and each level reveals a complex structure, includes different units, correlated with each other specially.  Each element of the system (the unit or the whole level) in such approach is considered isomorphic to other elements, but together with common properties each element has its own special properties. The level model presupposes the increase of units complexity while transiting from the lower level to the higher one.    

Within the model level of the language the idea of the integrative properties of language units have taken root.  Э. Бенвенистstressed that while passing from one level  to another the unnoticed properties of language units come forward, that as a result of merging of some properties new quality arises.

The description of the level language model is represented in Russian linguistics in details in different ways.  Not always the interlevel interactions are described, mostly the  “horizontal” relations among the units are characterized. 

The exactness and even “toughness” of the level language model is sufficiently attractive for Russian linguists. This model is leading, it is represented in the grammars of the Russian language.  But at the same time its drawbacks, its unsuitability to language facts could not be ignored by researchers. So, first of all,  the idea that causes contradictions, is the idea of level interactions. А. И. Смирницкийnoted that “when they say that words or morphemes can be classified into sounds (phonemes), they make the wrong jump, because they pass from the units, representing the unity of the outer, phonetic and inner sense sides to units not representing such a unity, that are only parts of the outer, sound side.  The word or morpheme cannot be divided into sounds (phonemes): only the outer, material cover of them can be divided into sounds (phonemes)” [Смирницкий, 1956, p. 13]. Obviously, the hierarchical principle of organization of the level model, be it attractive by its strict logic, does not correspond to the language system itself and it should be revised.  It is clear that blocks, levels and layers of the language are related in some other, non-hierarchic, or not only hierarchic way.

Alongside with this, it is exactly within the level model of the language system  that a detailed description of language facts was presented and the idea of the dichotomy  language/ speech was worked out, and due to this, the linguistic units, both abstract and concrete were arranged in order.

Lately (from the beginning of the 70-s) a new (module, modular) theory of language units organization became popular. According to the basic notions of cognitivism [Кубряковаand others,  1996, p. 101 - 105], the language units are organized on the principle of the modules.  The module is one of the basic notions of cognitivism, referring to the denoting of those simple systems or  parts, making up the whole infrastructure of the brain (mind), language, etc.  The analogies are module technical devices and the framework in the cinema.  In Ч. Филлмор’s doctrine the term module is used as a synonym of the term frame, it is associated with the section (module) furniture. Frames (modules) are combined into larger modules or frames. The module is a number of ideas, kept in memory.  Formally frames are represented as a structure of junctions and relations. The summit levels of frames are fixed and correspond to things always true to the supposed situation.  The module is characterized by:1) The relative autonomy. The exchange of information between the modules is weaker, than inside the module, and the relations inside the module are quite organic; 2) The specialization of modules – each module has its own principles of functioning, unreducible to each other or to some other general principle; 3)  Probably (and we should be very careful here) each module is related to some localization or to a certain type of relations in the human mind; 4) Genetical setting; 5) Universality. Thus, determining this or that level  of syntactic or semantic representation, modules dictate the notions of universal grammar.

It is thought that all mental activity can be represented as the interaction of discrete and special components, while the sense is the result of these modules cooperation.  In scientists’ opinion, today the idea of the modules is not only central for the cognitive science, but one of the main methodological ideals of science in general.

Language can also be regarded from this module point of view – hence, the conception of module or modular grammar as a system of rules and representations, divisible into independent interacting subsystems.

Metaphorically the module system can be represented as parts of the mechanism, functioning autonomously, but coordinated to achieve common aim, or as a system of blood circulation, where the venous and the arterial systems coexist, not intermingling and not substituting each other, on the whole, fulfilling the common function. The module model of language units organization was not developed in the Russian linguistics, although there are all the reasons for it. 

The model of functional-semantic field, including the lexical and grammatical  language means with common semantic functions was built by А. В. Бондаркоon the base of deep interaction of different level means on the example of aspect and temporal study. In the field model of the language the units are united on the base of the common meaning expressed by them or on the principle of their common function, that is the system-forming parameter can be semantic, functional or their combination. The groups of language units, selected according to this principle, are “system formations with connections and relations characteristic of any system and alongside with this having their own specific features” [Полевые структуры…, 1989, p. 4]. The field consists of the core and the periphery, lately scientists have suggested to point out the near-core zone.  The core is characterized by the maximal concentration of field-forming properties, at the periphery these properties are weakened.  The field is like a comet, where there is a hard core and a huge dispersed tail.  The important property of the field organization  of language units is the fact that the transition from the core of the field to its periphery and from one field to another takes place gradually, with this we admit the existence of the units having this or that property incompletely, with certain probability. 

The dynamic model of the language system was suggested by З. Д. Попова[Попова, 1996]. The basis of this model is the idea of the conceiving of order of the language system formation in the human mind. Because this process is relatively complex, it is not possible  to build a strict and uncontradicting model, in the author’s opinion. Nevertheless З. Д. Поповаputs forward a relatively complete model of the whole language system in the process of its formation in the individual mind.  The language system is represented in three blocks: the phonetic block, the lexicon, the block of structural schemes.

The phonetic block is thought primary: the formation of the language system in the child’s  or adult’s brain, finding himself in a new language milieu, begins with the perception of audio phrases. In the language memory of the speaker there are only those sound units, which are used as signs of some mental contents (concepts). In this way the word form – the language unit of the next block (lexicon) is formed: “a strong connection  (association) of some sound succession (let us call it a lexeme) and a concrete mental image (let us call it a sememe) form a language sign, that is in the concrete locution usually represented by a word form”  [Попова, 1996, p. 15]. The block of structural schemes is formed on the base of phrases.  The phrases are distinguished in the text due to the intonation of finality, they realize some communicative aim. 

The given dynamic model of language quite correlates with the neurolinguists’ opinion that subsystems of language are kept in different sections of the brain and are formed gradually during several years (mainly, from 2 to 5, some subsystems – from 12 to 14 years of age).

If the linguists mostly study the modern state of the language system and its formation (the synchronic and the diachronic aspects), in the works of Д. Л. Спивакfor the first time the question of the process of language knowledge loss came in the focus of attention: the researcher is interested in the breaking and disappearance of language, accompanying the dissolution (i. e. the ruin, the darkening) of consciousness. Д. Л. Спивакconcludes that there is a special reflection of the Мюллер-Геккельdependence, known in biology and applied in other conditions, according to which  the individual in the course of his development repeats the history of his species’ evolution.  During the consciousness ruin there is the gradual dying out of genetically younger relations and structures of the brain.  Like at the last stages of dissolution there remain the simplest reflexes (for example, taking “the position of an embryo” by the  human), in the language it is possible  to preserve the earliest relations and structures.  In Д. Л. Спивак’s model of the language the language units are organized “in layers” and in the course of language dissolution (which is experimentally testified) we can trace their arrangement from the new complex forms to  deeper ones [Спивак 2000]. 

Ю. Н. Карауловbuilds his model issuing from the fact that language is an open dynamic system.  Theassociative-verbal network (ABN) in Ю. Н. Караулов’s opinion, “is the realization not only of the lexical, but of the whole language system” [Караулов 1993, p. 255]. The associative-verbal network “is not a static formation, but a system in the state of unsteady balance, where the positions and relations of its elements fluctuate constantly and change dynamically, depending on the influences of the texts passing through it” [Караулов, 1993, p. 248]. If in the numerous descriptions of language phenomena the lexics and grammar are usually represented separately, in Ю. Н. Караулов’s works there is the idea that all the grammar is lexicalized, distributed among separate lexemes, spread in the associative-verbal network.

So, the language models represented in this work are built on the base of different criteria of quality and represent the language (the ontologically complete system) in different ways.  The difference in the acquired “pictures” of the language system is quite expected, if we treat this question from the point of view of the theory of systems.  The choice of different criteria of quality (the system-forming parameters) cannot lead to constructing the same models, that is why the language system looks so different in the models presented above.  These models correlate with each other on the complementary principle that, as we think, is not enough taken into consideration in science.

References:

  1. Караулов Ю.Н. Русский ассоциативный словарь. – М.: Русский язык. – 1993.
  2. Кубрякова Е.С., В.З. Демьянков, Ю.Г. Панкрац, Л.Г. Лузина. Краткий словарь когнитивных терминов. Под общ. ред. Е.С.Кубряковой. – М.: Изд-во  МГУ им. М.В.Ломоносова. – 1996.
  3. Общее языкознание. Внутренняя структура языка. Под ред. Б.А. Серебренникова. Гл. 1. «О понятиях языковой системы и структуры языка» (авт. Е.С. Кубрякова). – М.: Наука. – 1972. – С. 8-91.
  4. Полевые структуры в системе языка. Науч. ред. З.Д. Попова. – Воронеж: Изд-во Ворон. ун-та. – 1989.
  5. Попова З.Д. Методические указания к курсу «Модели системы языка в современной лингвистике» для слушателей повышения квалификации. – Воронеж. – 1996.
  6. Распопов И.П. Методология и методика лингвистических исследований. – Воронеж: Изд-во Воронежского ун-та. – 1976.
  7. Смирницкий А.И. Лексикология английского языка. – М: Изд. лит. на иностр. яз-х. – 1956.
  8. Спивак Д.Л.Измененные состояния сознания: Психология и лингвистика. – СПб.: «Издательский Дом Ювента». – 2000. 
Comments: 2

Zulfugarzade Teymur El'darovich

Работа заслуживает внимания читателей и высокой оценки.

Starikov Pavel

Очень интересный и актуальный доклад. Сегодня создатели сложных систем сталкиваются с проблемой коммуникации часть-целое, которая не может быть решена без построения оптимальных языковых моделей. Особенно значимо обсуждение данной проблематики для рождающихся гуманитарных технологий, построенных вокруг языка символов, метафор, образов. С уважением, Стариков.
Comments: 2

Zulfugarzade Teymur El'darovich

Работа заслуживает внимания читателей и высокой оценки.

Starikov Pavel

Очень интересный и актуальный доклад. Сегодня создатели сложных систем сталкиваются с проблемой коммуникации часть-целое, которая не может быть решена без построения оптимальных языковых моделей. Особенно значимо обсуждение данной проблематики для рождающихся гуманитарных технологий, построенных вокруг языка символов, метафор, образов. С уважением, Стариков.
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