The first reference to speech personality was made by L.Weisgerber. In Russian linguistics the term was introduced in the early 30s by V.V.Vinogradov.
The notion of speech personality
The first reference to speech personality was made by L.Weisgerber. In Russian linguistics the term was introduced in the early 30’s by V.V.Vinogradov. In the same period such question was discussed by Humboldtians (L. Weisgerber). Later the notion of “speech personality” was investigated by a range of prominent scholars, such as Yu.N. Karaulov, V.I. Karasik, O.B. Sirotinina and others. Besides, this problem is interdisciplinary, since it covers the areas traditionally studied not only by linguists, but also by psychologists and psycholinguists.
Yu. Karaulov in his monograph Russian Language and Language Personality elaborated his own original methodology of reconstructing speech personality, which he defines as “a personality expressed in the language and through the language; it is a combination of abilities and characteristics of a person that stipulates production of speech texts that differ in: a) degree of linguo-structural complexity; b) depth and accuracy of reproducing reality; c) certain purposeful direction.” (Tr. V.T.) [1; p.3]
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He worked out the structure of speech personality which consists of three levels:
- Zero level – verbally semantic level or lexicon. This level represents :
- units: readiness to nomination, word choice, using another language’s lexis, having working knowledge of special terminology;
- verbal grid: ability to perceive grammar structures, oral and written speech, right spelling;
- stereotypes: everyday speech, readiness to monolog, patterns and cliches.
2) First level – linguo-cognitive level, represented by a thesaurus of speech personality:
- units: ideas and concepts which are combined in a well organized and systematized world picture of a certain speech personality which reflects his or her values and outlook;
- thesaurus includes readiness to make modal statement, argue, combine conversational terms and improvise;
- stereotypes: ability to use inner speech in accordance to transfer the context of other’s people speech.
3) Second level – motivational, pragmatic level – reflects pragmaticon of personality, the system of interests and motives etc. of a certain person in the process of communicative activity (communicative roles and spheres) [2; p. 20].
Combination of these three levels of speech personality gives us an opportunity to describe formal means of expression, to investigate the communicative activity and to study speech personality as a whole. However, we should take into consideration that these levels are distinguished hypothetically. In everyday life we observe their diffusion and interdependence. This Karaulov’s three-tier structure of speech personality reflects general type of personality which includes such components:
- moral component – system of values and beliefs;
- culturological component – level of cultural awareness;
- personal component – level of individuality [2; p. 123].
Besides the notion of speech personality we also consider the notion of idiolect. A person's idiolect is his or her own personal language, the words they choose and any other features that characterise their speech. The term ‘idiolect’ is intended to mark the notion of a language which is not the language of a community (sociolect) but rather of an individual, taking into consideration that some people have distinctive features in their language; these would be part of their idiolect, their individual linguistic choices and idiosyncrasies.
Every idiolect includes the vocabulary appropriate to a person’s various interests and activities, pronunciation which reflects the region in which we live or have lived, and variable styles of speaking that depend on whom we are addressing. It is the way each person groups his/her words or phrases in a sentence to convey a thought.
Every speaker has a very rich active vocabulary built up over many years, which differs from the vocabularies of other people not only in terms of actual items but also in preferences for selecting certain items.
Consequently, an idiolect is unique to each person, because each of us belongs to different social classes, we all speak a language variety. Thus we can say that the systemic research of verbal communicative behaviour of a person gives an opportunity to reveal speech personality, which in its turn is a clue to revealing personality or individuality as a whole.
List of references:
- Караулов Ю.Н. Предисловие. Русская языковая личность и задачи ее изучения//Язык и личность. – М.: Наука, 1989. – С. 3–11.
- Караулов Ю.Н. Русский язык и языковая личность. – М.: Наука, 1987. – 263с.