Язык, речь, речевая коммуникация

Khayrullina D.D.

Candidate of Philology,

The Branch of Kazan (Volga) Federal University,

Naberezhnye Chelny


Annotation: The article deals with the history and present state of cognitive linguistic theory. The author gives an overview of different stages of development of this science and the approaches of the leading scholars who have made a great contribution to it. Special attention is given to the approaches and schools of thought popular in Russian linguistics.

Key words: cognitive linguistics, concept, cognition, mind.

Linguistics, like other social sciences and the humanities, has been currently experiencing a “cognitive turn” by the end of the twentieth century. Cognitive studies contributed to the realization that human linguistic abilities are not autonomous and separate from the other general cognitive abilities. The output of modern linguistics in the field of cognitive linguistics is not an entirely new phenomenon. Some of the cognitive assumptions central to this approach were already in the minds of earlier philosophers, thinkers and philologists. What is new is the qualitative paradigm shift towards anthropocentrism and mental semantics.

Cognitive linguistics (CL) is the most rapidly growing school of linguistic thought and practice, concerned with investigating the relationship between human language, the mind, and socio-physical experience. The original impetus for cognitive linguistics came from the pioneering research of psychologist Rosh (1973, 1978) on the nature of human categorization. A new branch of linguistics originally emerged in the early 1970s out of dissatisfaction with formal approaches to language. Early research was conducted by a relatively small number of scholars – Charles Fillmore (1975), George Lakoff (1977), Ronald Langacker (1978) and Leonard Talmy (1975, 1978). The idea that language is an integral part of cognition which reflects the interaction of cultural, psychological, communicative, and functional considerations was the core idea of cognitive linguistics.

Cognitive linguistics has always been strongly influenced by theories and findings from the other modern cognitive sciences emerging during the 1960s and 1970s, particularly Gestalt psychology. The rise and take-up of cognitive linguistics has been observed particularly since the 1989/1990s when it began to become increasingly institutionalized with the establishment and development of the International Cognitive Linguistics Association (ICLA) together with the Journal “Cognitive Linguistics”. In the words of the eminent cognitive linguist Ronald Langacker, this ‘marked the birth of cognitive linguistics as a broadly grounded, self-conscious intellectual movement’ [3]. Year by year the International Cognitive Linguistics Association has continued to prosper, meeting in different countries (USA, 2001, 2009; Spain, 2003; Korea, 2005; Poland, 2007) and organizing other affiliated organizations that represent cognitive linguistics in Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, North America, Poland, Russia and Spain, including an international Slavic Cognitive Linguistics Association (SCLA) [2]. As the main aim of these conferences is to integrate the work of specialists in cognitive science, cognitive psychology, learning theory, cognitive linguistics, semiotics, psycholinguistics, etc., ICLA and SCLA meetings regularly include plenary lectures delivered by scholars from these other disciplines to foster cross-fertilization.

Throughout its brief history, cognitive linguistics has maintained a lively dialogue with allied disciplines of mind and intelligence such as psychology, anthropology, neurobiology, philosophy, linguistics, and literary criticism. As it grows, it continues to present us with fresh ideas and new means for interacting with other disciplines. Cognitive lingusitics’ ultimate goal is to understand how human cognition motivates the phenomena of language. It is engaged in the following aspects of cognition: cognitive grammar, categorization, frame semantics, conceptual metaphor, metonymy, conceptualization of historical aspects, mental spaces of text and discourse, cultural linguistics, etc.

Cognitive linguistics is divided into the following subbranches:

ü Cognitive approaches to grammar, dealing mainly with syntax, morphology, etc. Notable exemplars include Croft (2002), Goldberg (1995, 2006), Lakoff (1987), Langacker (1987, 1991, 1999, 2008), and Talmy (2000).

ü Cognitive semantics, dealing mainly with the study of the mind such as knowledge representation and meaning construction. Exemplars include Fauconnier (1985/1994, 1997), Turner (2002), Lakoff and Johnson (1980, 1999), etc.

ü Cognitive lexical semantics, dealing with word meanings. Notable exemplars include Evans (2003, 2004), Geeraerts (1997) and Tyler (2003), etc.

ü Cognitive phonology, dealing with classification of various correspondences between morphemes and phonetic sequences. Exemplars are Bromberger and Halle (1989), Lakoff(1993), etc.

Some scholars have attempted to integrate the study of several areas (Evans, 2009) [1, p. 70].

It should be noted that cognitive linguistics is quite popular in Russia. Contemporary Russian linguists are Y.D. Apresyan, N.D. Arutyunova, A.A. Kibrik, A.P. Babushkin, N. Boldyrev, Z.D. Popova, I.A. Sternin, R.M. Frumkin. There are different approaches and viewpoints in Russian cognitive linguistics, but the majority of linguists working within this paradigm share the view that linguistic knowledge is an internal cognitive structure, part of general thinking and cognition. The main aim of cognitive linguistics is to obtain data on the activities of the mind and to analyze the conceptualization and categorization of the accumulated experience of man and mankind.

The following approaches and schools of thought are popular in Russia:

  1. General conceptual approach (Moscow school of cognition: E.S. Kubryakova, V.Z. Demyankov, Y.S. Stepanov, Y.N. Karaulov, D.S. Likhachov, R.M. Frumkina, A.N. Baranov, etc.).
  2. Psycholinguistic approach (I.N. Gorelov, A.A. Zalevskaya, A.A. Leontyev, K.F. Sedov, etc.).
  3. Prototype approach (Tambov school of cognition: N.N. Boldyrev, T.A. Fesenko, N.I. Kolodina, I.V. Mironova, etc.).
  4. Logical approach (N.D. Arutyunova, R.I. Pavilyonis, etc.).
  5. Semantic and cognitive approach (Voronezh cognitive school: Z.D. Popova, I.A. Sternin, A.P. Babushkin, G.V. Bykova, L.I. Grishayeva, V.M. Toporova, etc.).
  6. Discourse approach (A.A. Kibrik, V.I. Karasik, O.N. Charykova, M.L. Makarov, E.I. Sheigal, etc.).
  7. Cultural approach (Y.S. Stepanov, etc.).
  8. Lingvo-cultural approach (Volgograd school of thought: V.I. Karasik, V.V. Vorobyov, N.F. Alefirenko, G.V. Tokarev, S.G. Vorkachov, etc.).

The relation towards cognitive linguistics is ambiguous in Russia: it has a lot of supporters and opponents. The advantages of this branch of linguistics are flexibility, the ability to see well-known facts from the other sight, being data-friendly (i.e. leaning more strongly toward data collection than toward theory) and user-friendly (i.e. being accessible to all linguists, with no need to master a formal system).  It also offers a number of disadvantages like interdisciplinary character, hybrid nature, a lack of general methodological foundations and common conceptual approaches, no clear theoretical basis and commonly accepted terminology.

It should be noted that there are a number of notions which are developed in Russian linguistics, including linguistic personality (Y.N. Rfraulov, Y.D. Apresyan, V.G. Gak), concept and conceptospere (D.S. Likhachov, E.S. Kubryakova, Z.D. Popova, I.A. Sternin). According to researches, cognitive linguistics interprets language in terms of the concepts, sometimes universal, sometimes specific to a particular tongue. Concept is considered to be a mental representation, which determines how things are interrelated and how they are categorized. Man thinks in concepts, compares and combines them in his mind, creates new, more complicated ones.

Cognitive researches are mainly carried out on the materials of the Russian language. Researchers try to make specific descriptions of various concepts and their associations on the basis of dictionary data, survey responses, a variety of idioms and paremias. There are also research papers on the materials of the Bashkir, Kabardian,  Karachay-Balkar, Kazakh, Tatar languages (A.D. Khayrullina, R.M. Valiev, G.B. Gafarov, T.A. Kildybekova, R.R. Zamaletdinov, etc.). Comparative studies on the basis of two or more languages are also of great importance, and they can play an invaluable role in the promotion of cognitive linguistics in different cultures, in the encouraging practical and interdisciplinary applications of it.


  1. Evans, Vyvyan. Language and Cognition: The View from Cognitive Linguistics [Electronic Resource]. – Mode of Access:
  2. Janda, Laura A. Cognitive Linguistics [Electronic Resource]. – Mode of Access:
  3. Langaker, Ronald. Concept, Image, Symbol: The Cognitive Basis of Grammar. – 2nd edn. – Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1991.