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Introduction. In modern linguocultural studies one of the most complicated and discursive problems is language representation and organization of cultural knowledge in individuals’ consciousness, as well as in ethnic consciousness as virtual phenomenon encompassing most implemented conceptual structures, set of evaluations and means of world conceptualization, as well as inner reflexive experience comprising the collective spirit of an ethnos.

Ethnos affiliation is determined by the cultural parameters of identification, i.e. ethnicity is connected to ethnocultural identity that leads to the formation of ethnocultural competence within the ethnic consciousness. Ethnocultural competence is considered as the system of ethnic cultural knowledge influencing all human activities, including communicative one.

Purpose of the article is to explain the means of ethnocultural competence organization and the ways language signs obtain cultural content.

Results. The main means of ethnocultural competence organization is the cultural code considered as fixed in certain forms meaning reflecting one of the most typical standardized feature of ethnoscultural specificity. Cultural megacodes of every nation are anthropic, natural and artefactual, each having different cultural codes. Codes have fuzzy ends, they are diffusively interrelated. One of the mechanisms of such interrelation is code reinterpretation on the basis of metaphorization as verbal representation of a code system by means of the signs from the other system. I reckon that the smallest unit of ethnocultural competence representation is seme or connotative meaning.

It is important to analyze cognitive processes that form background of the ways language signs obtain cultural content. One of such processes is stereotyping conditioned by the necessity to preserve, transfer and accumulate cultural information, as well as by the selection of the most important fragments stipulated by constant renewal and dynamism. The second cognitive process of cultural content formation is when a sign obtains the function of precedent phenomenon naming. Such a phenomenon is the component of knowledge well-known to representatives of a certain ethnocultural community, it is topical and used in the cognitive and communicative aspects. The third process in cultural content formation is the symbolization of certain language signs that lack any cultural meaning in their primary meaning. Meaning of symbols cannot be decoded by means of simple mind efforts, as it is already formed, functions in the collective consciousness of a certain cultural group or ethnos and gets actualized in a certain communicative situation. Mythologization is the fourth cognitive process in cultural content formation. Ethnic myths are fictional ideas, embodied in ethnic consciousness and accepted doubtless by all ethnos representatives and do not need approval or denial. Myths together with symbols can have archetypical background. Usage of archetypical images in speech represents the fifth process in cultural content formation called archetypization. The sixth process in the cultural content formation is conceptualization realized in building culturally important knowledge structures.

Conclusion. Cognitive background of ethnocultural competence is formed by stereotypes, cultural concepts, precedent phenomena, ethnic myths, archetypes of collective unconscious, content volume of symbols. These knowledge structures namings form cultural codes. Language signs are one of cultural codes exponents. The smallest unit of cultural content representation is seme or connotative meaning. Ethnocultural competence is a means of preserving and transferring ethnic cultural tradition, the parameter of ethnos activity self-organization.

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