PROBLEMS OF MEANING IN LINGUISTICS

Olena SELIVANOVA

Abstract


Introduction. The problem of meaning is one of the most difficult and debatable in humanitarian branches of science and particularly in linguistics. The theoretical basis of meaning researches gets different aspects of qualification: ontological aspect that projects meaning into subjects, phenomena, features of the real world; gnoseological aspect that connects meaning with the sphere of ideas, thoughts, values, concepts as a result of world interiorization by native speakers; logical aspect with inherent in it comparison of meaning to concept provided for verification by means of logical numeration; relational aspect that connects meaning with the acoustic image of language sign or with the relation of word-sign to other words-signs in speech; semiotic-relational aspect orients the meaning definition to its connection with the way of thinking and the interiorized reality; psychological aspect is associated with meaning interpretation as a difficult mental phenomenon characterized by two-facedness – individual content and collective experience;informational aspect identifies meaning with informational function of language signs; encyclopedic aspect differentiates or identifies language status and conceptual knowledge.

Purpose of this article is to find out reasons of discussing the meaning and suggesting interpretation of this difficult language phenomenon.

Results. Absence of terminologically grounded definition of meaning is caused by several reasons. The first reason is methodological providing for multiplicity of the meaning definitions via different views of the correlation between language, consciousness and reality, as well as researchers’ attitude to reflective or representative nature of language signs, and analysis of unilateral or bilateral nature of language signs. It seriously influences the interpretation of meaning’s nature and status in language and in language sign.

The second reason is terminological and it shows divergence in linguistic terms correlating with meaning and notion, meaning and concept, meaning and subject, meaning and thing.

The third reason is derived from contradiction in defining the subject of semasiology: meaning is usually perceived in association with word, as well as with units of the other levels in language system, such as morpheme, sentence, text, or even phoneme.

The fourth reason is a contrast between individual senses and conventional content, fixed in collective consciousness of native speakers.

The fifth reason of definitions’ variety is realized through differentiation between language-systemic and speech peculiarities.

The debatable issue is the differentiation between meaning and sense. I think this issue cannot be definitely solved that is stipulated by the deviation in the basic research theoretical studies involving correlation between language and consciousness, meaning and concept, sign and meaning etc. 

Conclusion. Having summarized reasons and approaches to meaning and sense, here the definition of meaning is provided. Meaning is conventionally fixed according to a certain language form information gained on the basis of collective and individual cognitive and language experience of native speakers that represents a certain topical for situation and context fragment in speech. This paper states that sense differs from meaning by its individual informational appendix formed in individuals’ consciousness as a result of livelihood. Sense is triggered in speech where individuals represent both conventionally fixed meaning and word-reflective peculiarities.


Keywords


meaning; sense; sign; concept; reference; mental lexicon

References


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