DOI: 10.18413/2313-8912-2022-8-2-0-1

Cognitive bases of lexical synonymy of nouns

The pertinence of this work stems from the need to study the cognitive bases of lexical synonymy of nouns, through which the semantic proximity between synonyms is formed for native speakers. Most of the works devoted to synonymy have been carried out within the framework of the systemocentric approach. This study tries to solve the problem: it studies synonymy in anthropocentric and cognitive aspects and it allows revising the traditional approach. The article aims to describe the cognitive bases of the synonymous similarity of different categories of Russian nouns. The linguistic materials for research are: 1) two psycholinguistic experiments (426 participants); 2) Russian National Corpus; 3) Russian dictionaries; 4) publications in the media. In the first experiment, subjects suggested synonyms for the stimuli; in the second experiment native speakers explained the meaning of the stimuli. The hypothesis is that logical and situational foundations create semantic proximity in the native speaker’s lexicon. The research has shown that the hypothesis was confirmed. According to the logical basis, the semantic similarity of synonyms is the result of the coincidence of most of the semantic components identified by using logical procedures: synonyms have the same core semantic components. This base is typical for object nouns. For situational basis, the semantic proximity is associated with the ability of synonyms to express similar situations from the point of native speaker’s view. The situation is understood broadly as a fragment of reality (scene) in which objects – people, objects, non-objective entities – are in certain relationships with each other. This basis is realized primarily for abstract nouns and personal names. The distinguished bases cannot always be clearly distinguished, especially for polysemantic words. Depending on the category of nouns and communicative strategy a native speaker can refine the meaning, using synonyms, or neutralize the differences between synonyms.

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