Semantic Organization of the Concepts “Heaven/Sky”, “Sun” in English Song Discourse Cover Image

Смысловая организация концептов “ Heaven/Sky”, “Sun” в англоязычном песенном дискурсе
Semantic Organization of the Concepts “Heaven/Sky”, “Sun” in English Song Discourse

Author(s): N. A. Egorova
Subject(s): Poetry, Structuralism and Post-Structuralism, Sociology of Culture, Theory of Literature
Published by: ლიტერატურის ინსტიტუტის გამომცემლობა
Keywords: conceptualization; concept; English-language lyrics; the concept “Sky/ Heaven”; the concept “the Sun”;

Summary/Abstract: The article describes the sky conceptualization background in the English-language lyrics discourse. Conceptualization serves as a component of human cognitive activity,which has resulted in the formation of ideas in the shape of concepts. Concept-based research is aimed at both finding out the paradigm of culture-meaningful concepts and the description of their conceptual sphere, which allows to obtain some information on the mental structures resorted to by man in the thinking process. The theoretical and methodological foundations of the English-language lyrics as the study material are exhibited, the purpose of the research was to study the essence of the concepts of the English-language lyrics, included in the conceptual sphere “Heaven/Sky”, as a reflection of general cultural representations of Heaven/Sky and the Sun in the minds of the English-language culture. The lexical meaning of the word “Heaven/Sky” began to take shape on the basis of mythological ideas, and lyrics are considered to be one of the first historical forms of the text. Lyrics are understood as a verbal text, having a written equivalent and entering the poly semiotic complex, referred to as a song. Lyrics are a creolized text and seen as the unity of the mutually complementary melodic and verbal components. Retaining the features of the poetic discourse texts lyrics can comprise epithets, similes, metaphors and inter textual references which predetermine stylistic manifestation. The English-language lyrics provide popularity on a global scale, and commercial success as the English language is a universal means of all kinds of communication. 500 modern English lyrics were analyzed; the main criteria for their selection were the following: 1) the popularity of lyrics on a global scale, 2) the authenticity of the text; 3) the presence of the studied concepts in the lyrics. The concepts relating to the conceptual sphere “Heaven” which are in the most frequent use are revealed. The conceptual sphere Heaven / Sky appears to be a variety of concepts including objects and phenomena which relate to the sky directly:“Sky”, “Heaven”, “Sun”, “Moon”, “Star”, “Clouds”, “Rainbow”, “Thunder” and others.It is feasible to describe the key concepts, i. e. the concepts which are meaningful in the English-language art image of the world. Some concepts entering the conceptual sphere Heaven/Sky can not be exhibited to a full extent as they don’t have enough occurrences in the English-language lyrics. The analysis of various contexts shows a peculiar structural arrangement of the space in heavens and the hierarchy of the objects location in it. At the same time the hierarchy does not appear to be static: the location of the sky objects relatively each other and the space itself can change which is predetermined by the time of a day, weather conditions and etc. The features of the semantic representation of the concepts “sky/heaven” and “sun” in the English-language lyrics context are outlined. Some fragments of the English-language lyrics, revealing the peculiarities of perceiving the sky/heaven and the sun in the minds of the native speakers are put forward. The concept“heaven” possesses the following meaning: the space above the ground alongside with the other heavenly bodies, there are occurring natural phenomena that affect the illumination of the sky and are able to change its color; it contains religious motives holding the powers of “the abode of God and His assistants”. The sky is perceived as a place where a variety of optical phenomena (dawn /sunrise/daybreak, sunset, rainbows, lightning) are seen, they affect the lighting of the heavenly space, as well as the changing of its color. There the sky color is characteristic. In most contexts it is blue or dark blue, less often presented as a purple, orange sky. Space is unavailable for immediate tactile sensations; the characteristics of its structure are conceptualized by a metaphor. These characteristics are multi directional, sometimes even reverse. The sun is perceived as a living anthropomorphic creature that lives in accordance with biological laws (sees, hears, speaks). The image of the sun is that of a protagonist who graciously refers to people taking part in their fate. The connection between the sun and the fire is reminiscence in history as the fire was critical in rituals dedicated to the sun, and pagan symbols were both the symbols of the sun and fire. The sky and the sun are personified standing out as an ally or a friend of a human being, they are always ready to come to rescue. The distinctive feature of Russian-language texts in relation to those of the English language is that the sky appears as a movement forward;in English-language texts the sky is associated with the “end of life destination point”.The important feature is the opposition of the sun to some natural elements, leading the eternal struggle with the dark side of the world. The ability to give joy, love and hope fora brighter future makes the sun the key celestial body in the hierarchy, which is not typical of the Slavic authors’ lyrics.

  • Issue Year: 2016
  • Issue No: 17
  • Page Range: 141-156
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: Russian