Key areas of research
- Language and thinking. Cognitive thinking is based on the experience and generalization of speech activity. In the process of thinking, the semiotic and primary language behavior of a person is correlated with his individual experience: a person communicates to himself, translates his impressions in the form of signs and consistently correlates them with his experience. As a result, a subjective experience becomes the subject of reflection and apperception and becomes the subject of linguistic analysis.
- Non-linguistic methods of communication. How does communication take place in areas which are not directly related to speech activity – in particular, in the arts, where, unlike in language, the signs are organized on a spatial basis, not on a time scale? To what extent can we talk about the ‘language of the arts’? Are linguistic mechanisms involved here or do we have to talk about a more general system of communication?
- Point of view as a category of language and art. Point of view as an organizing structural concept is one of the key mechanisms uniting the language with various areas of human culture. In language this concept has crucial importance for determining categories of tense, aspect and definiteness (articles). Changing points of view as a potential opportunity is understood in the process of mastering a language: through understanding pronouns. In fiction, a change in the point of view becomes a key principle of narrative building (and a fictional text extrapolates the facilities which are contained in the natural language). In the visual arts, this phenomenon is realized as the theory of perspective.
- Deixis in the system of communication. During information exchange, the communicants have to coordinate their individual experiences: they create signs which generalize the experience of different people. How does it happen? How do we coordinate our concepts? Here a significant role is played by deixis: deictic words act as a bench mark during private experience coordination, which gives the opportunity to carry out communication.
- Structural specifics of the poetic language. The core of this area is the study of poetic functions of the natural language. The key material is Russian poetry from the first half of the 20th century.
- Linguistics and narratology. This area of the laboratory’s work is probably the most diverse and varied. The distance between a historical fact and its reflection in a narrative text, the criteria of translation ability and specifics of cultural contacts, linguistic methods in textological study of the medieval historical narrative; complex reconstruction of the text history – this is the key range of problems which the laboratory staff are involved with.
- History of culture in the light of proper nouns. The problem of the choice of name in the Middle Ages was closely connected with the problems of hereditary rights, strategy of power and political struggle. The names which were given to heirs of the power can be the finest indicator of the relevance of some interdynastic or international connections between different life stages of the ruling family. At the same time, the principles of the choice of name, existing from generation to generation, provide unity to an expanded dynasty and the stability of its power privileges. Co-existence of a traditional and a Christian name, appearance and evolution of multi-naming, variation of principles of two-part naming, the choice of patron saints for princes and cult of family patrons, naming in honour of relatives live or dead – all these and many other processes are studied as parts of a unified system of naming.
- Semiotics and symbolic language of power. The study of the role of images and image rows of various origin in the social organization and primarily in the relations of supremacy and subordination have recently been attracting more and more attention among researchers. A researcher of semiotics is particularly interested in the process of ‘production’ and ‘consumption’ of various images of power (most often expressed in a myth, text, visual image and ritual) in specific historical cultures, as well as the mechanism of their transfer from one epoch to another. Such image rows play an important, and sometimes vital, role in the realization of power relations: on one hand, in ‘setting’ someone to be ready to obey, and on the other hand, in the ability to implement supremacy and administration.
- Historical pragmatics. Study of the relics of the non-book scripts from medieval Russia (birch bark manuscripts, epigraphy, act writings) from the point of view of their functional pragmatics and communicative organization, in the context of similar written traditions of ancient and medieval eras.
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