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Describing Life: Towards the Conception of Howard Pattee

Abstract

A description of living systems is still a topic of discussion among a number of disciplines. By an evaluation of the approaches, we get to an axis differentiating those that are indisputable in sense of dealing with verifiable and measurable phenomena. We thus also get to approaches that integrate particular extensions when dealing with the possibilities to describe living systems and processes. It is a task for biosemiotics to find connections of these approaches and thus ways to enrich each other or simply describe phenomena to the widest extent possible. One of the authors whose work is permeated by this idea is Howard Pattee. Inspired by his work, we discuss the options of description when talking about living systems and semiotic apparatuses. We do so by a formulation of two viewpoints that differ in questions of contextual dependency, interpretation and necessity of the existence of an autonomous agent as indispensable elements for the description of life phenomena.

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Academic and Literary Communication: Addressability, Statuses, and Functioning

Abstract

The article addresses the issue of creation and functioning of each link in the communication chain addresser/sender-message-addressee/recipient in three communicative statuses: external, internal, and potential. Personal and transpersonal communication is analyzed. Semantic and functional features of academic vs literary communication are considered.

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Average Word Length from the Diachronic Perspective: The Case of Arabic

Abstract

Previous studies based on English, Russian and Ch inese corpora show that the average word length in texts grows steadily across centuries. These findings are in accordance with our results: the average word length in Arabic texts also grows during the analysed time span (8th century to the first half of the 20th century). Our paper shows the detailed statistics of the word length distribution century by century. The dynamics of the average word length correlates with the dynamics of the average word distribution entropy, which encourages an explanation of the phenomenon based on the Shannonian theory of communication.

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Conflict, Confrontation, and War Reflected in Mass Media: Semantic Wars, their Victors and Victims

Abstract

War presented in mass media as a piece of hard news has three spaces: military, economic, and informational. From a linguistic point of view, conflict has two constituents: CONFLICT-STATE and CONFLICT-ACTION. The variety of conflict is confrontation, which includes physical collision, armed opposition, verbal collision, collision of outlooks and interests. Each conflict or confrontation has a cognitive script, on which confrontational substrategies are being built.

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A Contrastive Analysis of Persian and English Vowels and Consonants

Abstract

The study presents a contrastive analysis of two distinct sound systems, namely, those of Persian and English. It provides a descriptive analysis and a contrastive study of consonants and vowels of these languages, expatiating on the similar and dissimilar features of the two sound systems. Dissimilarities are especially important since they may result in production of deviant sounds by foreign language learners.

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De Morgan’s laws and NEG-raising: a syntactic view

Abstract

In this paper, we will motivate the application of specific rules of inference from the propositional calculus to natural language sentences. Specifically, we will analyse De Morgan’s laws, which pertain to the interaction of two central topics in syntactic research: negation and coordination. We will argue that the applicability of De Morgan’s laws to natural language structures can be derived from independently motivated operations of grammar and principles restricting the application of these operations. This has direct empirical consequences for the hypothesised relations between natural language and logic.

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Fantasy Word Sounding in Marketing Phonosemantics

Abstract

The paper represents the results of a linguistic experiment aimed at establishing if the sounding of different fantasy brand names can cause the same associations in collective consciousness. The experiment drew upon crowdsourcing. The data received can be useful for marketing phonosemantics in relation to the methods used for the creation of new brand names.

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The formal method in Germany and Russia: the beginnings of European psycholinguistics

Abstract

German–Austrian psychology is a direct source of the European formalism movement both in the German context (Germany, Austria) as well as in Russia. This interest of the formalists in the corporeal component of linguistic and literary production has resulted in a particular research stream, which could be defined as a ‘linguo-somatic orientation’. In particular, this is the case of Alois Riegl’s [1] perceptive ‘tactile–optical’ method; Adolf von Hildebrand’s [2] architectonic conception; Konrad Fiedler’s [3] ‘sensorial aesthetics’; W. Wölfflin’s [4] ‘basic concepts’ of the art history, W. Worringer’s [5] psychological arts typology as well as Oskar Walzel’s sound-corporeal poetics elaborated during 1920 [6]. Within Russian formalism, psychological notions (such as ‘representation’, ‘sensation’, ‘apperception’, ‘series’, ‘clear and dark zones of consciousness’, ‘verbal gestures’ and ‘sound gestures’) are fundamental in nearly all the formalist conceptions (Viktor Šklovskij, Evgenij Polivanov, Lev Jakubinskij, Osip Brik, Boris Eixenbaum and Jurij Tynianov). This psychological background constitutes a rather heterogeneous constellation composed of psychological aesthetics and psychological linguistics of the second half of the 19th century. Independently of its intrinsic theoretical values, the formalist way of thinking about language and literature is based on the implicit dominance of psychology, which takes its sense only with respect to the German cognitive tradition, appropriated by the Geisteswissenschaften of this time. In this respect, European formalism participates in the large movement of psychologisation of the humanities. To this extent, the case of Russian formalism is really representative: it invites the rethinking of the genealogy of European structuralism in general. This accumulation of conceptual tools borrowed from the German psychological tradition also reveals a cognitive charge of the formalist theories. The latter constitute a conceptual link between the properly psychological past of the European Geisteswissenschaften and the ‘cognitive’ future of the actual research programmes. Beyond the borrowing of conceptual tools from the psychological trend, the formal method has found in psychology its inspiration for producing new models of analysis. This intrinsically cognitivist dimension of the formalist programme explains its late success during the 1950s–1960s, the period often and abusively called the period of the cognitivist revolution. In reality, it deals with the re-emergence of the research programme of the cognitivist sciences, rather exhaustively formulated by the German psychological tradition..

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Frame Modeling of the Concepts of Life and Death in the English Gothic Worldview

Abstract

The Gothic worldview is understood as a manifestation of the environment’s reflection in peoples’ thoughts, which shows the perception of real and unreal / supernatural worlds in their symbiosis and determines the human’s role in it. LIFE and DEATH are universal concepts of culture and most fully they can be shown in the form of frame, the main structural elements of which are ACTANTS, PREDICATES, QUANTIFIERS, PLACE, and TIME.

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Genetic analysis of cabbages and related cultivated plants using the bag-of-words model

Abstract

In this study, we aim to introduce the analytical method bag-of-words, which is mainly used as a tool for the analysis (document classification, authorship attribution and so on; e.g. [1, 2]) of natural languages. Quantitative linguistic methods similar to bag-of-words (e.g. Damerau–Levenshtein distance in the paper by Serva and Petroni [3]) have been used for the mapping of language evolution within the field of glottochronology. We attempt to apply this method in the field of biological taxonomy – on the Brassicaceae (Cruciferae) family. The subjects of our interest are well-known cultivated crops, which at first sight are morphologically very different and culturally perceived as objects of different interests (e.g. oil from oilseed rape, turnip as animal feed and cabbage as a side dish). Despite the phenotypic divergence of these crops, they are very closely related, which is not morphologically obvious at first sight. For this reason, we think that Brassicaceae crops are appropriate illustrative examples for introducing the method. For the analysis, we use genetic markers (internal transcribed spacer [ITS] and maturase K [matK]). Until now, the bag-of-words model has not been used for biological taxonomisation purposes; therefore, the results of the bagof-words analysis are compared with the existing very well-developed Brassica taxonomy. Our goal is to present a method that is suitable for language development reconstruction as well as possibly being usable for biological taxonomy purposes.

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