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Phenomenon of a Bilingual Literary Text: National in Individual

Kuznetsova AV1*, Kulikova EG2 and Laskova MV1

1Doctor in Philology, Professor, Southern Federal University, Russia

2Doctor in Philology, Professor, Rostov State University of Economics, Russia

*Corresponding Author:
Kuznetsova AV
Doctor in Philology, Professor, Southern Federal University
105/42 Bolshaya Sadovaya Str., Rostov-on- Don, 344006, Russia
Tel: +74991940433
E-mail:  [email protected]

Received date: May 05, 2016; Accepted date: June 20, 2016; Published date: June 25, 2016

Citation: Kuznetsova AV, Kulikova EG, Laskova MV. Phenomenon of a Bilingual Literary Text: National in Individual. Global Media Journal. 2016, S3:15

Copyright: © 2016 Kuznetsova AV, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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It is actual for modern cognitive linguistics to detect units of a literary text possessing the potential meanings integration and their parameters. As a language reflects phenomena of social life, historical events unique and specific to a particular culture, each unit of a particular ethnic group language has an implicit cultural background. Specific requirements of the national language make the foundation for the organization of a literary text as one of the most important components and terms of national identity and origin. Formation of a special type of personality under the interaction of different cultures makes it necessary to comprehend this process in connection with the characteristics of a socalled marginal individual, perceiving the own ethnic culture from the outside, as it were; a raise of the social status of the national language is implemented using the language that this person masters. The duality in bilingualism is overcome due to authors intentions and realized by an active life position represented by the bilingual writer in his text. Ethnic identification depends, therefore, on the definition of the dominant ideology and ethnic identity of the bilingual person. In the process one of the leading roles belongs to bilingual writers: their creative consciousness unites two language pictures of the world, integrating them into new meanings, popular with both linguistic cultures. As an objective result of a socio-cultural situation, the artistic bilingualism creates an opportunity and some prospects for comparative procedures, thereby expanding the research paradigm of the modern science of language. The purpose of this article is to present a new perspective for studying literary texts, defined in the general by guidelines of modern cognitive linguistics, as a conceptual model of a bilingual literary text analysis through the prism of the author's modality, intertextuality, metatext and metapoetry characteristic to the individual bilingual writer's view of the world.


Bilingualism; Bilingual text; Language personality


The modern world is characterized by the formation of a multicultural space, which manifests itself in the phenomena of cultural diffusion, integration and interaction. The process of mutual integration and interaction between cultures affects different ethnic groups; an objective law of social development is contradictory and complex integration phenomena that characterize the whole being of an individual at the edge of cultures. Ontological features of the modern society contribute in the development of scientific research of the relation between cultural identity and globalization processes, dialogue and tolerance in the development of cultures. The specificity of the cultural development of an individual is determined by the conditions of the modern multicultural space, which also has a certain influence on the dominants of the scientific paradigm [1]. An individual is exposed to an impact of two opposite vectors manifesting contradictions between respect of the historical and ethno-cultural traditions and civilization standards.

A linguistic personality in a multicultural environment of the modern world has to choose his own "language", which manifests itself at both social and cultural levels, and the level of ethnic identification [2,3]. The need to create their own language space in a bi(poly)linguism becomes relevant [4,5]. While creating literary texts bilingualism serves as an opportunity to preserve the cultural identity of the writer [6] and, in the case of using the second language, to translate ethno cultural labeled elements of the national language picture of the world.

In the modern world functions of languages are gradually expanding, and languages of international communicating are formed. The intensification of this process leads to highlighting the problem of bilingualism. Bilingualism objectifies the integration of an ethnic group into a multilingual social system under the dominance of a single language as a means of communication, with the cultural identity and the language of each nation being saved [7,8]. The mentality of the nation, its culture is revealed through the language that is an explication of national identity and a factor of interethnic communication, cultures interaction.


Synthesis of interpretive and comparative approaches applied to the studied material allows tomake use of a complex of methods, with the component-semantic and contextological analysis, and compositional analysis being leading ones.


The state of the modern society becomes the basis for the emergence of post-modernism, and the study of its features became one of the actual problems of humanitarian scientific paradigm in the last decade. In this regard it seems important to clarify its status and role in the formation of modern culture, as well as the establishment of correlation and a complex of factors underlying features of modern linguistic personality, its competence and multi-level potential.

The interpretation of the term postmodernism is based on the understanding of the world as a system reflecting main trends, vectors of development and targets the society has at the current stage of its development. As a set of approaches and concepts in the coordinates of various scientific paradigms, postmodernism creates an illusion of their integrity. Thus, the thesis about understanding human inability to describe the world as an integrity basing on general theories, which claim their right to be truth, becomes original. Reflecting the ideology of the postmodern age, postmodernism is not a direction or course within the forms of social consciousness.

The foundation of postmodernism is made of the latest technical mass media and electronic technologies. In this informational space different positions and perspectives to address the problems coexist, which becomes the basis for the emergence of the postmodern derivative characteristics: fragmentation, decentration, variability, contextuality, uncertainty, irony, simulation. The information space produced by the postmodern may be qualified as multicultural, because the plurality of opinions and interpretations is significant for it.

Scientific evidence of studying postmodern multicultural environment is based on the tenets of the concept of "dialogue of cultures", offered by M.M. Bakhtin, who comes to its formulation by analyzing the problems of Others: the author of the work must "approve another "I" as another subject, but not an object" [9]. In this perspective, a dialogue is a real "being event", a fundamental, existential and ontological category, which potential infinity lies in its ontologicality: "When the dialogue ends, everything ends. Therefore the dialogue, in fact, cannot and must not end" [9]. Identifying the specifics of dialogue and dialogic allows M.M. Bakhtin to consider the polyphony as "a multiplicity of independent and unmerged voices and consciousness’s," as "a combination of several individual wills", "principal going beyond the limits of one will", that explains the Bakhtin's model of the presence of Me and Others in the consciousness, while the personality as a unity of the individual and common is a bilateral nature. Only the dialogue of the views allows an individual to understand the world and himself in the world.

A complex multicomponent structure of postmodern multicultural information space is the result of social communications, which allows to differentiate the mental, informational, institutional substructures correlating with a specific subspace. In addition, the postmodern multicultural space is also limited by social parameters because of the impact of the genesis results and culture functions, which allows to evaluate social transformation processes in a research perspective. The use of the "socio-cultural space" concept in the scientific paradigm has some sufficient heuristic potential because of the possibility to consider the reality as a dynamic phenomenon created by a man. As the socio-cultural space embodies the entire set of practices and the subspaces being generated by people at the moment, the very sociocultural and informational space can be represented as a number of fields (subspaces) that exist in a complex interaction. These factors determining the postmodern multicultural space being numerous, intangible, socio-cultural factors are of priority.

The text is a "true joint of linguistics and cultural studies, as it belongs to the language and presents its highest level, while the text is a form of culture existence" [10]. A certain cultural background is implicit in each unit of language, because the language reflects social and historical phenomena unique in the life of a particular ethnic group and are specific to the national culture [4]. The language as a culture product is its part determining a formation of cultural codes [11,12].

Artistic text represents the world of literary personalities as a result of its disposition; the formation of individual author's picture of the world is exercised - the cognitive process, which is based on an understanding of the polivariance of the world. The establishment of mechanisms of perception and search for necessary information, synthesis of which senses is the foundation of producing text, is particularly relevant to modern linguistic paradigm.

From the standpoint of cognitive linguistics a literary text is studied as an esthetically motivated model of reality and a verbal realization of cognitive components of its creator’s sphere of concepts, which ensures an ongoing act of communication between the author and his characters, and then the recipient - the reader or researcher. In this context an attempt to establish some "basic level" of culture and its categories is quite reasonable, with cognitive basic level and categorical apparatus being previously clarified. Compare, for example M. Johnson, G. Lakoff and Ritchie. [13,14]. Also a number of hypotheses may be proposed [15,16]. It is obvious that a literary text is a model where all of these subsystems are functioning in an indissoluble unity.

One of actual problems of modern cognitive linguistics is clarification of mechanisms of perception and search of necessary information, the text can't be created without synthesis of its sense. Actually cognitive, cognitive and pragmatic and psycholinguistic treatment of an art discourse can be reached through attraction of cognitive and conceptual, activity approaches to the speech. Necessity of establishment of mechanisms of cognitive and mental development of reality, its conceptualization by consciousness, ways of updating of a certain part of knowledge and their representation by means of meanings of language units depending on esthetic and other motivation is also natural in this regard [17]. Language in its standard state gives more opportunities to show exceptions, than to show norm. Literature addresses to something abnormal and exclusive not only owing to desire to draw attention and to surprise. The substandard phenomenon itself is perceived as a sign of the hidden sense [18]. But the essence of art creativity consists not in permanent searches of anomalies [19], but only in realization of the principle of allocation, allocation of abnormal in comparison with norm, a frontage thereby to coherence of genre norms and semiotics rules. The norm as the basic concept of the culture of speech is treated not as "norm of a ban", but as "norm of a choice" now that, respectively, causes orientation of modern science about language onto a linguopragmatics [20]. From this point of view fiction as the form of art which actively influences the recipient by means of various means of expression also joins into the sphere of linguopragmatic researches. Literary text is not only embodiment of structural norms, but also their violation; and its existence can be adequately apprehended only in dialectic interaction of these multidirectional vectors. Something abnormal becomes a cornerstone of art structure as it is always semiotics, possessing high degree of an informative compression. Therefore, the bilingual literary text is not only «non-standard» initially as it belongs to literature as an a form of art, at the level of a combination of esthetic signs [21], thus, it possesses the potential of an esthetic cognition, but it is nonstandard at the level of reflection of national and individual pictures of the world by language means [22].


Being a cultural code, the language broadcasts mentality of the nation, actualizing ethnic specificity and causing the whole process of cross-cultural communication. The language used to create a text is not the only criterion of the nationality of its producer. Multilingualism determines the situation of choosing the dominant language, which is not always the native one. This, in turn, determines the problem of the language identification. Factors for such choice vary from the possibility of building a more successful career to gaining a wider destination, especially in the case of realizing a creative potential of the person in the texts of various intentions and genres.

The interaction of different cultures creates a special type of language personality, which can be characterized as marginal, perceiving his own ethnic culture as if from the outside. Raise of the status of national language is implemented using the language that this person masters absolutely. Being a cultural code, the language translates mentality of the nation, actualizing ethnic specificity and causing the whole process of cross-cultural communication. The language used to create a text is not the only criterion of the nationality of the producer of the text.

An ethnic identification explicit in axiology of a personality dictates some depth search of regularities in the texts produced by a bilingual author. Thus, the statement that the dual uncertainty of marginality is overcome by a creative bilingual person appears to be quit fair, as the author, being the subject of the national culture, represents a national picture of the world of his ethnic group in an other language, implements it by an active life position, represented in the text: "The personality at the edge of the cultures (a marginal person) is a historical phenomenon. Since the appearance of relationships, contacts between nations, a marginal person has existed. The special position of marginal personality contributes in his perceiving the culture he ethnically belongs to, as if from the outside, and in the case of a conscious orientation to participating in the fate of this culture he has the most valuable social quality of thinking in the whole wide ethnic and cultural substratum space. In the history due to this quality marginal individuals repeatedly performed the role of active implementers of the continuity in the development of both an individual culture, and its relations with other cultures" [3]. Therefore an ethnic identification depends on the definition of the dominant ideology and ethnic identity of a bilingual person.

A bilingual language personality possessing unique linguocultural and linguorhetorical competencies clarifies the referential potential of a linguistic sign, contributing to the prevention of "cultural shock" that often occurs when reading the translated texts. Thus, the process of intercultural communication is carried out at a higher level than at the translator’s interpretation of foreign texts, as information is transmitted with the least distortion and the fullest volume possible, except lacunarity in the litterary message.

In the process bilingual writers possess one of the leading roles: their creative consciousness unites two language pictures of the world, integrating them into new meanings, popular with both linguistic cultures. Creative (artistic) bilingualism as the objective result of a socio-cultural situation creates the possibility of and some prospects for making comparative procedures, thereby expanding the research paradigm of the modern philology. U.M. Bakhtikereeva defines the artistic bilingualism as "a special kind of speech and thinking activities of a creative bilingual person who accesses the achievements of both public consciousnesses and methods of their expression/description by two language systems by means of assimilating ways of comprehension of the reality, developed by previous generations of primary and secondary cultures. The texts, dependent on the bilingual author speech and describing the artistic image of the primary culture in the acquired language, have their own characteristics and are encoded as "unusual" in the minds of both languages speakers" [5].

Modeling the process of interaction between the two languages while creating a semantic space of discourse/text as a result of such activities is the starting point for the linguistic and cultural analysis. Bilingualism is a psychological mechanism to produce speech works that belong to two linguistic systems, while the types of bilingualism distinguished from the linguistics point correspond sequentially to the types of acculturation. According to W. Weinreich, bilingualism is the ability to use two languages and alternate their use depending on the conditions of speech communication [23]. A coordinative bilingualism is observed in the case of equal speaking two disjoint language systems. There is also a mixed type, when the "second" language is learned on the base of already established system of native ("first") language, and constantly suffers its effects [24]. L.V. Shcherba also stresses that the bilinguals do not use both languages, but only one that has two expressions (Ibid). E. Cassirer proposes a similar argument: "The real problem... is not in learning a new language, but in forgetting the old one", because "our perception, intuition, and concepts are fused with the terms and speech forms of the native language. To get rid of the links between words and things, huge efforts are required ", that "are absolutely necessary when learning a new language "[25].

A bilingual literary text as a result of linguo-cognitive activities of a bilingual literary (artistic) person can be classified doubly: as a result of cognitive and speech creative activity of a producer - bilingual in the process of the primary and secondary language/literary personalities interaction, and in this case the cognitive potential of this text can be fully represented only by means of the target language, and as the text where the creative bilingual person intentionally saved markers of various levels of the source language.

Undoubtedly, we are dealing with a bilingual literary text only when this text is created by a linguistic/literary personality, who is inherently bilingual. It seems that the translated text as a result of an interpreter’s work- another linguistic personality - with a certain number of foreignlanguage elements retained, as well as the additional comments in order to realize a specific artistic task, cannot be qualified as a bilingual text. In this case, it is important to remember the criterion of producing the bilingual text by the only person, because when trying to consider the translation activity as the attempt to present an absolute adequacy of the author's text, which means the unity of the original and translated texts, some conflicts in concepts will inevitably arise. Two linguistic identities cannot, by definition, form a whole as a result of the chronological sequence of work on a particular text, as any native speaker is at the same time author of the individual world picture. These individual pictures of the world are never exact copies of each other, and relate to the national picture of the world in their mutual correlations. Defining the coordinates of semantic space of the bilingual text allows to describe specifics of the bilingual language personality and regularity of his/her development. Here the following parameters can be allocated:

The intertextual plan of the bilingual text (rather full reception of such text is characterized by references to other texts without which its sense won't be realized;

The intratextual plan of the bilingual text demonstrates its sense at the level of contexts of the lexemes and their combinations usage in it, and also their synonyms, metaphors, antonyms and metonymies in a full corpus of the texts of the writer in all their set;

Language game acts as result of interaction of intertextual and intratextual plans that fully realizes the potential of the bilingual literary text.

Poligenetics in the bilingual literary text becomes a condition for "cultural synthesis" effect: in such text various cultural contexts [26] can interact that is carried out due to the use of separate lexemes and their combinations in language, foreign to the whole text, and by means of author's intension of the autotranslation. The bilingual literary text gains translingual features because the usage "shows" a context of other language. Structural-semantic organization of the bilingual literary text is caused by an intertextuality and metatext characteristics as its result that in general defines the general vector of literary conceptualization. Specifics of literary conceptualization is established during the cognitive and semantic analysis of literary texts. Complicated character of the literary text of the bilingual writer is fixed, first of all, that it reflects cognitive and language aspects of speech and thinking activity of the literary bilingual personality. Such text represents norms of language coding of information by bilinguals, and also norms of bilingual conceptualization (exarticulation and categorization of primary culture reality objects and search of their actual meaning in language of the acquired culture). Mutual correlations of aspects of linguocognitive activity within two world language pictures appear as the description and as representation by linguistic means of the second language of the national picture of the world of the "first" language, but it is indisputable that languages possess various ways of the description of extra language reality. So, the high ability to be coded of the Russian linguoculture is realized that the "secondary" language world is presented in consciousness of the creative bilingual individual [27] as the second subject on an equal basis with the first one, and "primary" national linguoculture becomes an object of the description by two subjects. Literary norms create necessary comfortable conditions for the most complete description of a language world picture fragment therefore the role of the most popular in society at this historical stage of the literary language for creation of the bilingual literary text by the bilingual writer is indisputable. However not all meanings, specific to the source national language, can be adequately mastered by the target language that determines semantics of the bilingual literary text. Thereby the text created by the bilingual literary personality finds characteristics of "nonstandard" which is easily identified by the target language speakers relating to the language personality of bilingual writer.


Thus, the bilingual literary text can be examined not only in terms of shown features of a specific language/literary personality, i.e. not only in the aspect of the creative subject - a bilingual writer, but as a total original text and its autotranslation, which allows to determine the integral and differential features of the national world pictures within the individual author's picture of the world, as well as to identify linguo-cognitive and linguocultural priorities of the bilingual author of the specific literary text.

The literary world of bilingual authors carries out a metatextual function: a bilingual literary text represents an axiological system of the nation, its goals and fundamental concepts. Bilingual literary text acquires the character of the collective memory fund, giving a vector for the development of understanding the world in the field of collective national consciousness. It is a specific reflection of the historical, sociopolitical, cultural and ethical existence of an ethnic group, defining, thus, some national identity of the creative personality.

Even a glance at a literary text without any attempts to analyze it, would allow to make a univocal conclusion about the nature of rhetical imagery, the profound authenticity of logic stages building, even when it does not deal with anything having a national markedness.

The national picture of the world is the basic premise of cultural continuity, receptive and interpretive potential of traditions, which enables it to keep constantly the national identity of the ethnic group. It also makes explicit the changes in the cultural sphere, primarily formed as an artistic and poetic images, which are the results of the creative efforts of the best representatives of the national culture. Artistic images manifested in the texts of national writers determine not only their individual author's view of the world, but also mark the specific national picture of the world that reflects a collective consciousness of the nation. Therefore, the reconstruction of the national picture of the world is impossible without the interpretation of the key artistic and poetic systems, while bilingual writers text can modulate the image of the ethnos world through the prism of two languages.


The publication is prepared within the scientific project No. 16-04-00037 supported by Russian Foundation for Humanities


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