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Delimitation of the concepts of "speech", "discourse" and "text" in the light of modern linguistic concepts

Khabarov Artem Aleksandrovich

PhD in Philology

Doctoral Candidate, the department of Far Eastern Languages, Military University

123001, Russia, g. Moscow, ul. B. Sadovaya, 14




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Abstract: As an integrative cross-disciplinary phenomenon, discourse requires critical comprehension in synergistic unity with the differentiating parameters of the text and processes of generation and perception of speech, taking into account ethnopsychological, cultural, linguocognitive and structural-logical factors of communication. The author carries out a comparative analysis of the research of discourse in its correlation with speech and text as macrounits of cognitive and speech activity. Emphasis is placed on the fact that the theory of discourse is currently undergoing fundamental transformations that reflect changes in the conceptual and terminological framework, the emergence of new methodologies and objects of linguistic research. Contrastive description of the triad "speech-discourse-text" is conducted through the prism of semantic-structural, communicative and socio-pragmatic approaches in modern linguistics. The thesis is advanced that discursology, as a cross-disciplinary scientific discipline should possess the objective instruments for analyzing and grading discourse as a subject matter in all national languages. The article provides theoretical generalization of a range of research dedicated to examination of the phenomenology of speech, discourse and text in the light of modern linguistic concepts. Leaning on the thesis on mutual conditionality of structural-semantic parameters of the text, the author carries out a comparative analysis of a number of fundamental theoretical works of foreign and Russian linguists in the field of speech activity, modeling of the psychological processes of speech, as well as semantics of the discourse and semantic structure of the text. The problematic of studying the trichotomy "speech-discourse-text" affects more and more fields of linguistics and expands discursology as a separate scientific discipline. The comparative analysis of terminological units demonstrates that the distributive examination of the concepts of "discourse", "speech" and "text" in modern linguistics is primarily substantiated by the traditional culturological, ontological and methodological factors, and is associated with a variety of approaches, instruments for analysis, and categorical-conceptual framework.


discourse, speech, text, cognitive and verbal activity, interdiscursivity, discourse analysis, structural and syntactic aspect, communicative aspect, conceptual framework, topic

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To date, the logical and semantic relations between the concepts of "discourse", "text" and "speech" are widely described in foreign and domestic linguistics. In particular, the problem of the interpretative duality of the opposition "text-discourse" has become one of the key research trends in the modern linguistic episteme. Today, "discourse" is one of the central concepts in the whole spectrum of humanities and natural science concepts, having wide use and interpretation in philosophy, linguistics and a number of its interdisciplinary areas (psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, linguopragmatics, discursology, etc.), political science, literary studies, rhetoric, and a number of others.

At the present stage, the theory of discourse is undergoing fundamental transformations, reflecting changes in the conceptual apparatus and terminological base, the emergence of new methodologies and objects of linguistic research. The next stage of systematization and classification of theory and discourse and methods of discourse analysis contributed to the gradual "departure" from the logocentric model that emerged in the 90s of the twentieth century and the appeal to the functional characteristics of language units (U. Eco, J. Derrida), the development of anthropocentric trends (A.K. Mikhalskaya), the revision of the categories of structurality of language as a system (B.M. Gasparov), the creation of a disciplinary-genetic concept (T. A. van Dijk) and the emergence of other integrative trends in world linguistics. Discursology, as an interdisciplinary scientific direction, a priori should have objective tools for analyzing and grading discourse as a studied object in all national languages.

Since the middle of the twentieth century, representatives of scientific schools of the Western linguistic tradition have laid the methodological foundations for the analysis of language units and functions on the material of mainly European languages, identified the specifics of understanding and interpreting texts of different types and genres, as well as colloquial forms of speech. The problems of discourse as a linguistic, social, cultural and psychological phenomenon proper, the manifestation of discourse as an "intra-speech" and "supra-text" phenomenon received scientific justification in the works of F. de Saussure, E. Benveniste, M. Foucault, M. Pesce, Z. Harris, T. van Dyck and many other researchers. The development of the theory of discourse in European linguistics in the first half of the twentieth century was influenced by the ideological attitudes and norms of poststructuralism and postmodernism, the appeal to the study of speech acts and coherent textual structures of the level of sentence and super-phrasal unity (60-70), social and communicative-activity paradigm (from the 80s to the present century).

The integration of the term "discourse" into the scientific space of philology, as well as its systematic study in contrastive comparison with speech and text, are still the subject of discussion. The classical understanding of discourse within the framework of the theory of structuralism, laid down in the works of F. de Saussure, quite abstractly, as well as the semantic content of the concept of "speech", which was not considered as an independent object of research and was considered a derivative of language. The object in Saussure structuralism was speech activity, the aspects of which were language and speech, where language acted as a "key" and was studied from the point of view of analyzing "ready-made forms" of speech construction. An obstacle to studying the processes of speech functioning in the event aspect was that sentence-level structures were considered in the sphere of speech in the absence of correlational relations with the elements of the sphere of language, which made it impossible to define the structural, syntactic and communicative components of discourse. As a unit of analysis, the sentence began to be studied in line with the generative grammar of N. Chomsky, the theoretical studies of E. Benveniste, which became a natural continuation of the theory of structuralism. Initially, under the discourse, E. Benveniste meant oral speech, emphasizing the fact that "the language-speech dichotomy does not reduce speech to a trivial realization (manifestation) language, in which the form of implementation is indifferent: the mapping of language into speech has its own characteristics and that different linguistic objects correspond to differences in the implementation of language in special conditions" [7: 15]. At the same time, E. Benveniste, combining the main provisions of structuralism with comparative historical research, considered it necessary to "immerse the study of the structure and evolution of language in a broader context of research on spiritual culture and "cultural concepts"" [12:89] The appeal to the speech, socio-psychological, "procedural" component of discourse originates in the works of Z. Harris ("the movement of information in discourse"), E. Longacre, Yu Habermas and other representatives of the Western linguistic tradition of the second half of the twentieth century, who address the problem of "appropriation" of speech by communicants, consideration of social norms and rules during the functioning of speech activity, its pragmatic conditionality, formulation of methods of discourse analysis. One of the classical definitions of discourse in Western structural linguistics is based on the concept of T.A. van Dyck, interpreting discourse as a cumulative linguocognitive phenomenon, "a coherent sequence of written sentences or oral utterances expressed in a certain communicative situation for the purpose of transmitting information or performing other social actions" [5:4]. In his writings, T.A. van Dyck analyzes discourse from two perspectives: general (communicative action/process) and private (the "product" of communicative action). In a broad sense, discourse is considered as "a complex communicative event that occurs between the speaker and the listener (observer) in a certain temporal, spatial and other context, <...> which can be verbal, written, and also have verbal and nonverbal components," in private as "an oral or written text, taking into account the presence of only the verbal component" [16: 24]. The concept of T.A. van Dyck systematically postulates the principle of studying the functional characteristics of language both from the standpoint of a pragmatic approach to discourse and taking into account social factors, which served as the basis for the model of critical discourse analysis developed by him. In contrast to the interpretation of discourse in Western philology 60-70 . In the twentieth century, as a sequence of speech acts, a related text and its oral colloquial form, a dialogue or a group of statements united by a common meaning, T.A. Van Dijk formulates an inclusive interpretation of discourse: "speech flow, language in its constant movement, absorbing all the diversity of the historical epoch, individual and social characteristics of both the communicant and the communicative situation in which communication takes place <...> the mentality and culture of both national, universal, and individual, private are reflected in the discourse" [10: 13].

Since the late 80s of the twentieth century, discourse has been interpreted in European and American linguistics as a complex communicative phenomenon. Along with the traditional study of the textual (sign) side of discourse, systematic studies of the totality of the "extra-linguistic" characteristics of the text (paralinguistic aspects and extralinguistic factors), cognitive and psychological mechanisms of explication by forms of language of the idea laid by the addressee of speech in the basis of the proposition are emerging. As N.N. Nechaev points out, "the very diversity of forms of discourse is primarily due to the richness of the content of the methods of "objective" activity" hidden behind the "verbal" language" [11: 23]. It is obvious that certain subject meanings expressed by means of language in speech in a symbolic (textual) form with the help of cognitive mechanisms go back to their conceptual basis, that is, to the psychological component, which, as a kind of invariant, unites these various subject meanings, acting as particular variants of the existence of this entity.

In Russian linguistics, the problems of speech research in cultural-activity and socio-psychological aspects are covered in the works of I.A. Baudouin de Courtenay, L.V. Shcherba, R.O. Yakobson, L.P. Yakubinsky, V.N. Voloshinov, M.M. Bakhtin, V.G. Borobotko and other representatives of Soviet and Russian philological science. The relationship of text and discourse, the place of speech in this relationship, as well as discourse in relation to speech and text, as well as the scope of the semantic content of these concepts, are investigated and reinterpreted from the standpoint of communicative (functional), semantic-structural (syntactic), pragmatic approaches and a number of other relevant areas. Thus, according to V. Demyankov, the semantic content of the discourse should include "the text in its mental formation before the eyes of the interpreter <...> the content of the discourse often, although not always, concentrates around some basic concept called the "topic of discourse" or "discourse topic", and further: "... understanding the discourse, the interpreter composes elementary propositions into a common meaning, placing new information contained in the next interpreted sentence within the framework of an intermediate or preliminary interpretation already received ..." [6:120]. The definition proposed by V.A. Kurdyumov within the framework of the predication concept of language contrasts with the "classical" definition and interpretation of discourse, where discourse is interpreted as "a set of texts with a common topic" and can represent "a person's personality, a column in a newspaper, the discourse of a nation or another community, and a functional style, and a type of behavior and so on. <...> dynamic level education, endless generation of texts with a common topic" [8: 89]. At the same time, in the light of dynamic ideas about the nature of language, the text is considered as "an integral personal message, a complete sign with a single topic, unlike discourse," and the language itself is modeled as "a set of predication chains, a single flow covering both the horizontal (generation-perception) and vertical (levels-diachrony)" [8:89].

At the present stage, such issues as verbal and nonverbal means of communication, the "personification" of information and the acquisition of new knowledge remain in the focus of discursology (the term "information" in cognitive linguistics is still quite controversial - approx. author). In the context of cross-cultural interaction, the communicative norms and psychological regulatives of the choice of speech action, linguistic consciousness in connection with the interpretation of a linguistic sign in the process of speech generation-perception are investigated, confirming the fact that "numerous theories of discourse represent an intensively and extensively developing polyparadigmatic, multidisciplinary direction of modern scientific research, especially effectively implemented in the synergetic paradigm" [13:103]. Today, an integrative, holistic understanding of discourse comprehends the understanding of a speech product conditioned by the context (situation) in the synergy of the process of its generation-perception and the final product of this process, the expression of the addressee's speech-thinking activity in the form of a text that has certain coherent characteristics: structure, coherence and integrity. The text in the triad "speech-discourse-text" is understood mainly as a sign component, and the concept of a linguistic sign in linguistics is also multifaceted, which requires separate consideration. Having a symbolic nature, the text undoubtedly acts as a means of influencing the cognitive environment. Explication of a sign in the form of a text (a linguistic constituent) and its role in the formation of higher mental functions, sign mediation in the process of speech activity, sign determinism of discourse these issues are included in the problematic range of studies of domestic and foreign psycholinguistics. The works of L.S. Vygotsky, A.N. Leontiev, A.A.Leontiev, P.Ya. Galperin, S.L. Rubinstein, E.F. Tarasov, N.V. Ufimtseva, V.V. Krasnykh, E.V. Sidorov and other scientists are devoted to the study of the processes of speech communication from the standpoint of a system-activity approach. The problems of the study of discourse and speech activity in the context of the internal structural organization of higher cognitive processes and psychophysiological mechanisms of human mental activity have been developed in the works of representatives of the Moscow and Leningrad schools of psychology and are associated with the names of B.G. Ananyev, V.M. Bekhterev, A.R. Luria, D.N. Uznadze, V.S. Merlin, etc.

The dialectical relationship between the categories of signedness (semiotic determinant) and activity (communicative determinant) is verified by the provisions of the communicative-activity paradigm in Russian linguistics. In particular, L.S. Vygotsky used the understanding of a sign as a means of controlling the activity of another (communicant): "A sign <...> is a means of psychological influence on behavior someone else's or his own, a means of internal activity aimed at mastering the person himself; the sign is directed inward" [3: 90]. In the approach of A.N. Leontiev, the sign is primarily understood as an instrument of mental activity, speech as communication, that is, "one of the forms of communication is communication through meanings, signs", speech is "... this is also indirect, instrumental communication" [9: 111]. In turn, following E.V. Sidorov, we also believe that the communicative activities of the participants of the discourse are conditioned by the production and perception of the text, and verbal units act as signs replacing their communicative activities: "With interactive consideration of speech communication, the contours of understanding the text nomination as a product of pragmatic-coordinate regulated cognitive choice are increasingly clearly outlined, and not a simple reflection of a certain state of affairs" [15:100].

The natural relationship between text and discourse, their dialectical relations in the context of processality are also reflected in the concepts of intediscourse and intertextuality. For example, the socio-cultural aspects of textuality are reflected in the works of R. Barth on the modeling activity of structuralism: "Woven from a multitude of equal codes, as if from threads, the text, in turn, is itself woven into the infinite fabric of culture; it is its "memory", and "remembers" not only the culture of the past and present but also the culture of the future; intertextuality should include texts that arise later than the work: the sources of the text exist not only before the text, but also after it" [2:39]. In the text itself, R. Barth put the concept of processality, an integral part of the existential essence: "(The text) is not a stable "sign", but the conditions of its generation, it is the nutrient medium in which the work is immersed, it is a space that defies classification or stratification, does not know the narrative structure, a space without a center and without a bottom, without an end and without a beginning a space with many entrances and exits (none of which is "main"), where heterogeneous cultural codes meet for free "play". The text is an intertext, a "galaxy of signifiers" [2:40].

In the term "interdiscourse" M. Pesce combined a discourse formation and a "complex of ideological formations" hiding behind the transparency of discourse, presenting it as a kind of "complex whole". In Pesce's understanding, interdiscourse is interconnected with the concept of a preconstruct, that is, "a set of previous discourses acting as a "raw material" for a new discourse. Conditioned by a preconstruct, any discourse is at the same time an interdiscourse" [14:266-270]. In the works of V.A. Andreeva, devoted to the interpenetration and interaction of discourses, "interdiscursiveness is explained as "a universal phenomenon that characterizes any text" [1: 36].

In this article, we have attempted an analytical analysis and theoretical generalization of a number of studies devoted to the study of the phenomenology of speech, discourse and text in the light of modern linguistic concepts. Based on the thesis about the mutual conditionality of the structural and semantic parameters of the text, a comparative analysis of a number of fundamental theoretical works of foreign and domestic linguists in the field of speech activity, modeling of speech-psychological processes, as well as the semantics of discourse and the semantic structure of the text was carried out. The problems of the study of the speech-discourse-text trichotomy affect an increasing number of areas of linguistics and expand the subject area of discursology as its separate scientific discipline. A comparative analysis of the terminological units under study demonstrates that the distributive consideration of the concepts of "discourse", "speech" and "text" in modern language science is mainly due to traditional cultural, ontological and methodological factors, associated with a variety of approaches, analysis tools and categorical and conceptual apparatus. In turn, discourse, as an integrative interdisciplinary phenomenon, requires critical reflection in synergistic unity with the differentiating parameters of the text and the processes of generation-perception of speech, as well as taking into account ethnopsychological, cultural, linguocognitive and structural-logical factors of communication.

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