Полисемия английских прилагательных в когнитивном аспекте
This paper presents an analysis of the deep language factors that predetermine polysemy of English adjectives denoting moral and mental qualities of human beings. In line with a well-established point of view in cognitive linguistics, this study treats the semantics of a word as a two-level phenomenon possessing the semantic (external) level and the conceptual (internal) level. Given polysemy belongs to the external level, this study aims to reveal the internal language factor allowing for umbrella adjectives to develop meanings of moral and mental qualities. This is the first research that has analyzed English adjectives from this perspective; it is proposed to unearth the deep language foundation of polysemy by modeling the conceptual foundation of polysemantic adjectives, which is undertaken via analysis of their etymological data. The choice of the adjectives encoding moral and mental qualities is substantiated by the following reasons: first, these words name the major human characteristics, whose recognition and verbalization can be traced back to the Pre-Old English period; second, they denote abstract qualities unperceivable by senses but estimated due to their indirect manifestation in individuals’ judgments, conduct and activity; third, since these adjectives convey evaluation of the quality, they reflect cultural axiological standards. The findings show that the semantics of the English adjectives in question is governed by a certain set of conceptual metaphors. The commonality of the adjectives’ conceptual basis seems to be the internal language factor that accounts for polysemy, i.e. an ability for an adjective to comprise meanings of mental and moral characteristics. In addition, the results demonstrate that the unearthed concepts form oppositions, namely, LIFE – DEATH, MOTION – STILLNESS, FRIEND – FOE. The opposed concepts are endowed with the positive or negative value that appears to determine the evaluative meaning of the adjectives. Besides, the research has shown that, while participating in the formation of adjectival semantics, the concepts can demonstrate ambiguous value, which enables a concept to underlie both the positive and negative evaluative meanings of an adjective; therefore, an adjective may comprise meanings of mental and moral characteristics that are opposite in their evaluation.