The Components of the Conceptual Category Memory and Its Role in the Production of Semantic Content of Modern Prose Texts
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Abstract: The article discusses the works of contemporary American writers, winners of the 2015–2017 Pulitzer Prize: “The Sympathizer”, “Nothing Ever Dies” [Nguyen 2015, 2016]; “Underground Railroad” [Whitehead 2016]; “Less” [Greer 2017]. The research aim is to reveal the correlation between the semantic content of the literary work represented by the concepts of a certain conceptual category and the production of the associative-semantic field (ASF) and lexico-syntactic features (lexical and syntactic “knots”) used in the text. Having studied at the initial stage two multi-genre works of the contemporary American writer Viet Thanh Nguyen “The Sympathizer”, “Nothing Ever Dies” [Nguyen 2015, 2016], the authors have posed a hypothesis that the conceptual category memory, formed with the help of such concepts as ethics, memory, power, dual, global, participates in the formation of the plot of the work of fiction and fills it with certain semantic content. The article analyzes the components of the conceptual category memory presented above and the author’s text-forming lexical and syntactic techniques, such as the frequency representation of internationalisms, one-member sentences and prolonged chain alternations. Conceptual and structural methods of analysis are applied to the texts of literary works and allow the researcher to obtain the results revealing the foundations of the literary narrative plot construction and the provision of its semantic content while activating the conceptual category of the author’s consciousness memory (AC memory). As a conclusion, the authors highlight the differences and similarities between the works presented, expressed within the associative-semantic fields (ASF) of the texts formed with the help of the concepts ethics, memory, power, dual, global. The ASF is the cognitive result of the artistic expression of the text, which, in turn, is realized on the basis of the lexical corpus and the grammatical structure of modern English and is formalized via the organization of the plot and filling the text with specific semantic content. The conclusions report the presence in the works of the prose writers named above of three different associative-semantic fields with a similar basic cognitive element - the conceptual category memory: 1) AC (V.T. Nguyen) → The Sympathizer → ASF (Vietnam) = Love – Life – War ↔ Memory ↔ Sensation – Children = Your Memory ↔ Collective Memory; 2) AC (C. White- head) → The Underground Railroad → ASF (Slavery) = Love – Life – Labor – Freedom ↔ Memory ↔ Justice – Child- ren = Your Memory ↔ Collective Memory; 3) AC (A. S. Greer) → Less → ASF (Free-Love) = Free-love – Life ↔ Memo- ry ↔ Sensation – Loneliness = Your Memory ↔ Collective Memory.
Key words: Concept; associative-semantic field; semantic content; knot; author’s consciousness; utterance; fiction narrative; plot.
Butakova, L. O., Myachin, K. A. (2020). The Components of the Conceptual Category Memory and Its Role in the Production of Semantic Content of Modern Prose Texts. In Philological Class. 2020. Vol. 25 ⋅ №3. P. 85-99. DOI 10.26170/FK20-03-07.