Research article
Issue: № 11 (113), 2021


Научная статья

Налдеева Л.Е.*

Тамбовский государственный университет имени Г.Р. Державина, Тамбов, Россия

* Корреспондирующий автор (naldeeva[at]


Автор данной статьи рассматривают некоторые пропозициональные когнитивные модели, по которым происходит формирование целого ряда английских двухкомпонентных зоонимов в процессе концептуальной деривации. Цель и задачи заключаются в выявлении ряда характеристик, на основе которых осуществляется словотворчество с использованием метода пропозиции, предполагающей интерпретацию концептов, репрезентируемых компонентами сложных зоонимов, и создание «нового» концепта, репрезентируемого сложным словом, внутри которого исходные концепты выступают как согласованные по тем или иным концептуальным характеристикам друг с другом. В связи с тем, что раньше материал не рассматривался с указанных позиций данное исследование на материале изложенных групп сложных слов - названий животных были выявлены определенные пропозициональные модели.

Ключевые слова: английские двухкомпонентные зоонимы; концептуальная деривация; вторичная интерпретация; пропозициональная когнитивная модель; атомарный предикат; операциональный концепт.


Research article

Naldeeva L.E.*

Derzhavin Tambov State University, Tambov, Russia

* Corresponding author (naldeeva[at]


The author of this article considers some propositional cognitive models, according to which a number of English two-component zoonyms are formed in the process of conceptual derivation. The purpose and objectives are to identify a number of characteristics on the basis of which word-making is carried out using the method of proposition, which involves the interpretation of concepts represented by components of complex zoonyms, and the creation of a "new" concept, represented by a complex word, within which the original concepts act as consistent with one or another conceptual characteristics with each other. Due to the fact that the material was not previously considered from these positions, this study revealed certain propositional models based on the material of the groups of compound words - names of animals.

Keywords: English two-component zoonyms; conceptual derivation; secondary interpretation; propositional cognitive model; atomic predicate; operational concept.

Zoonymic vocabulary is a very significant and noticeable part of the world picture of any nation. This layer of vocabulary contains the idea of national identification, the uniqueness of the people, knowledge about various beliefs and customs. In this regard, the interest of linguists in the study of this group of words is increasing and there are more and more works in which zoonyms are studied in one or another aspect. If we talk about the cognitive approach, then in it the consideration of a person's knowledge of the world around him is carried out through language.

The purpose of the article is to consider two-component zoonyms as the result of conceptual derivation, which involves the interpretation of concepts represented by the components of complex zoonyms, and the creation of "a new concept represented by a complex word, within which the original concepts act as consistent with each other according to certain conceptual characteristics" [1]. There are a number of ways of conceptual derivation using certain cognitive mechanisms and models, one of which is the propositional cognitive model. When identifying and studying two-component zoonyms in the English language, the task is to identify propositional cognitive models of their creation.

In our reasoning, we rely on the fact that word formation occurs, in the vast majority of cases, according to various word-formation models that have developed historically in the language, as well as on the fact that there is a certain analogy between word-formation models as templates for creating new derived units and cognitive models as mental representations. The cognitive model takes the form of a proposition, considered as a construct linking concepts [8]. The arguments displayed by the subject variables and describing the linguistic situation are the components of the proposition. In addition, a significant component is the basic predicate, which, in turn, displays the properties of the above-mentioned terms and the relationships between them. The predicate of a proposition is an atomic predicate or an operational concept. E. S. Kubryakova believes that an atomic predicate either indicates the presence of a type of connection, or the most generalized and abstract type of connection that does not need to be specified [7, P. 119]. The atomic predicate implies the role that the argument of the proposition gives. It corresponds to a derived word and is not capable of arbitrary reconstruction. Verbs such as to produce, to make, to involve, to cause, and many others can be included in the group of atomic predicates. An operational concept (OPER / BE OPER) is a generalized predicate that either indicates the action itself, or is itself a means of connecting concepts into the conceptual structure behind a certain group of derived words [10, P. 199]. The composition of the proposition includes the ACTOR hyperconcept, which is revealed due to "a higher degree of activity of the objective entity that correlates with the first argument compared to the one that correlates with the second argument" [10, P. 90]. The OBJECT concept contains and reflects all the features and properties of the subject to which the action of a certain property is directed. OBJECT is considered as a basic level concept that has a partitive relationship with the concepts of OBJECT and PATIENT. The concept of TIME denotes an interimar representation of an object or person. It also transmits data about the duration, periodicity, regularity in the description of an event or action. The concept of PLACE carries the knowledge of "localization in space", “connection with any place", as well as the inherent property of this place. The concept of QUALITY does not have a clear definition, but, according to I. Kant, it is often "associated with sensations and always has a purely empirical character" [6]. Hegel wrote that "quality is a property in the sense that it shows itself in some external relation as an immanent definition" [5]. In language, the quality attribute spreads from one object to another, which leads to the formation of various groups of objects grouped according to a single attribute.

The definition of the type of connection of concepts compared with generating nouns characterizes the regeneration of the propositional structure, which correlates with a structurally motivated complex word. There are a number of examples when the verbal component is already part of a complex word, the predicate remains from the previous derivation process, and there is no need to restore it. In the examples when a structurally motivated complex noun does not contain any verbal elements, it is necessary to restore the implicit atomic predicate, which during word creation sets a vector that determines the relationship of two concepts compared with generating nouns. If a similar situation arises, as noted by E. S. Kubryakova it is necessary to understand which logical operation determines the creation of a complex word (identification, classification, etc.) and, accordingly, which of the possible predicates for these operations most simply describes the relations between concepts represented by generating nouns [7, P. 21]. Following E. M. Pozdnyakova, we assume that if the logical operations of identification or conjunction are the basis for creating a complex word, then the restored atomic predicate is the predicate-bundle BE [10, P. 106].

It should be noted that among structurally motivated complex words, there are complex words whose components are nouns (N+N), and complex words with a verbal component. In most cases, it is the second component of a compound word that is the verbal noun (N+N(v)).

As a result of the study, the following propositional cognitive models were identified:


Table 1 – Propositional cognitive models

N+N Word-formation meaning Word-formation meaning
musk deer, lac insect, silkworm One who produces something ACTOR – PRODUCE – OBJECT

Let's look up the words’ definitions mentioned in the table: musk deer means “a small East Asian deer without antlers, the male of which produces musk in an abdominal sac”, lac insect means “an Asian scale insect which lives on croton trees and produces lac”, silk moth is “a large moth with a caterpillar that produces silk " [12]. It follows from the above that the first argument of the propositional structure represented by this group of derived nouns is the concept of ACTOR, and the second is the concept of OBJECT. Using the method of semantic inference and taking into account the word-formation meaning of derived words, it is possible to identify the atomic predicate PRODUCE and restore the proposition: ACTOR – PRODUCE-OBJECT.

Let's consider another group of endocentric structurally motivated complex nouns.


Table 2 – Group of endocentric structurally motivated complex nouns

N+N Word-formative meaning Propositional structure
mayfly, night crawler, nighthawk, night heron, nightingale, nightjar, night owl, June bug One who sings, appears, flies, etc. during some time ACTOR – OPER– TIME

Here are the dictionary definitions of the mentioned complex words: night crawler: “North American an earthworm that comes to the surface at night, often used as fishing bait” [12], nighthawk: “an American nightjar with pointed wings” [12], night heron: “ a small short-necked heron that is active mainly at night” [12], nightingale: “a small, brown European bird known especially for the beautiful song of the male, usually heard during the night” [12], nightjar: “a nocturnal insectivorous bird with grey-brown plumage, large eyes and gape, and a distinctive call” [12], mayfly: “a short-lived fly which appears in May” [12], June bug: “chiefly North American a chafer or similar beetle which often flies in June” [12].

Thus, we can state that the first argument of the propositional structure represented by this group of complex nouns is the concept of ACTOR, and the second is the concept of TIME. Based on the knowledge of the two arguments of the propositional structure, as well as using the method of semantic inference, it is possible to identify the operational concept of OPER. Thus, the restored propositional structure has the following form: ACTOR-OPER-TIME.

Let's turn to the following group of endocentric structurally motivated compound words formed according to the N+N model.

Table 3 – Group of endocentric structurally motivated compound words formed according to the N+N model

N+N (subordinate) Word-formative meaning Propositional structure
earthworm, housefly, house martin, house mouse, house sparrow, land crab, wood duck, woodworm One who lives/lays something/builds something somewhere ACTOR – OPER – PLACE

Let's clarify the dictionary definitions of these complex words: earthworm - “a common type of long thin brown worm that lives in soil”, housefly - “a small fly often found in houses”, house martin - “a black-and-white bird of the swallow family which builds mud nests on the walls of buildings”, house mouse - “a greyish-brown mouse found abundantly as a scavenger in human dwellings”, house sparrow - “a small, grey and brown bird that is found in most parts of the world” -The house sparrow is strongly associated with human habitation, and can live in urban or rural settings, land crab - “a crab that lives in burrows on land and migrates to the sea to breed”, wood duck - “tree-nesting North American duck, the male of which has brightly coloured plumage”, woodworm - “the wood-boring larva of the furniture beetle” [12].

Therefore, the first argument of the proposition is the concept of ACTOR, and the second is the concept of PLACE. Based on the knowledge of the concepts that are arguments of the propositional structure represented by the above complex nouns, as well as using inference, we can conclude that the implicit predicate is the operational concept OPER, which binds the concepts into a single conceptual structure, which has the following form: ACTOR – OPER - OBJECT.

In conclusion, it should be noted that the formation of two-component zoonyms in English is possible with the help of various propositional cognitive models. In this article only three types of models were presented that the following types of propositions were identified on the material of these groups of zoonyms ACTOR – PRODUCE – OBJECT, ACTOR – OPER– TIME, ACTOR – OPER – PLACE which are able to nominate animals of different classes. It seems perspective way to identify cognitive models of other types, according to which complex zoonyms are formed.

Конфликт интересов Не указан. Conflict of Interest None declared.

Список литературы / References

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Список литературы на английском языке / References in English

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