Abstract Concepts Through the Lens of Linguistic and Extra-Linguistic Knowledge

Document Type : Research Article


Belgorod State University, Belgorod, Russia.


The paper deals with the rigorous methods used in the research of concepts representing abstract notions like “friendship”, “love”, “hatred”, “conscience”, and “envy”. Concepts of that kind have no visible physical support in the material world except for the sound forms of the words representing them, thus causing additional difficulties in classification, research and analysis as well as stipulating the use of both linguistic and extra-linguistic methods in the process. The language provides access to a concept nominating only its certain part, which may not be the most significant. The study points out the importance of subjective cognition and empiric experience of a person in the process of verbalisation of abstract entities. The cognitive approach, in which certain phenomena are found, allows us to include in the framework of study essential as well as complex linguistic and extra-linguistic knowledge about it, despite the degree to which they are presented in the language. It’s essential to set out the necessity to take into account the social and cultural background of an individual. The authors pay particular attention to the ambiguity and inevitable subjectivity in the study of abstract concepts, due to their formation scheme complexity and vagueness. The combination of linguistic and extra-linguistic procedures allows us to give the fullest and deepest analysis of the investigated event, because in the structure of abstract concepts and in the simultaneous presence of an invariant core there are a huge range of personal associations.