Some problems of semantics, describing the emotions terminology

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


Vesntik TSU. Philology. 2013

Some problems of semantics, describing the emotions terminology

About the author:

Michail A. Buryakov,


This article contains a logical-semantic analysis of emotional names. Emotional processes are examined in a twofold manner: as the result of a person’s practical experience, expressed in a term’s lexical meaning, and as the product of development of the grammatical subject (and predicate) category, reflecting various emotional and psychic processes. The author suggests that emotional processes (affects, emotions, and feelings) can be examined as stages of subjective-objective approximation, from which the semantics of emotional terms originates and on the basis of which it is formed. The author demonstrates that emotional terms could not have appeared at the stages of either “affective judgment” or “emotional judgment”, as the subject was identified with either the object (S is O) or the action (SV is O). Only at the stage of the “judgment of feeling” did appearance of the first emotional terms become possible, since the relationship (S is P) replaces action between the subject and the object. From the logical and grammatical standpoint, this refers to the varying nature of predicativity, as predicative attitudes pertain not to the grammatical subject, but to the speaker. Hence, they do not influence the semantics of the predicate, and the latter proves to be counterposed to action. This opposition comprises the logical and grammatical basis of active-typology languages. The process of identifying the speaker’s subject with the acting agent and of reflecting the subjective attitude in a language later leads to the expression of the “psychic” in the variety of predicative forms. Along with the verbal predicate, there appear nominal, adjectival, finite (impersonal verb), and infinite (participle) ones.


1. Dodonov, B.I. Jemocija kak cennost' [Emotion as a Value]. Moscow: Politizdat, 1978 (in Russian).

2. Leont'ev, A.A. Needs, Motives, and Emotions. Psihologija motivacii i jemocij — The Psychology of Motivations and Emotions. Ed. Gippenreiter, Yu.B., Falikman, M.B. Moscow: ACE, Astrel, 2009 (in Russian).

3. Viljunas, V. Psihologija jemocij [The Psychology of Emotions]. St. Petersburg: Piter, 2004 (in Russian).

4. Potebnja, A.A. Mysl' i jazyk [Thought and Language]. Moscow: Labirint, 2010 (in Russian).

5. Leont'ev, A.A. Lekcii po obshhej psihologii [Lectures on General Psychology]. A Handbook for University Students. 5th edition. Moscow: Smysl; Akademia Publ., 2010 (in Russian).

6. Kacnel'son, S.D. Istoriko-grammaticheskie issledovanija [Historical Grammatical Research]. St. Petersburg: Peterburgskoe lingvisticheskoe obshhestvo, 2010 (in Russian).

7. Klimov, G.A. On the Characteristics of Active-type Languages. Voprosy jazykoznanija — Questions of Philology. No. 4: 3–13 (in Russian).

8. Ulenbek, K.H. Identifying Nature of Possessive Flexion in the Languages of North America. Jergativnaja konstrukcija predlozhenija — Ergative Sentence Construction. Moscow, 1950. 186–207 (in Russian).

9. Klimov, G.A. Tipologija jazykov aktivnogo stroja [Typology of Active-type Languages].

2 nd edition. Moscow: Librokon, 2009

10. Ulenbek, K.H. Agens and Patiens in the Case System of the Indo-European Case. Jergativnaja konstrukcija predlozhenija — Ergative Sentence Construction. Moscow, 1950. 101–102 (in Russian).

11. Benvenist, Je. Obshhaja lingvistika [General Linguistics]. Moscow, 1974 (in Russian).

12. Kuznetcov, P.S. Istoricheskaja grammatika russkogo jazyka: Morfologija [Historical Grammar of the Russian Language: Morphology]. 3rd edition. Moscow: Editorial URSS, 2010 (in Russian).

13. Semeren'i, O. Vvedenie v sravnitel'noe jazykoznanie [An Introduction to Comparative Philology]. 3rd edition. Moscow: Editorial URSS, 2010 (in Russian).

14. Leont'ev, A.A. Dejatel'nost', soznanie, lichnost' [Activity, Consciousness, and Personality]. Moscow: Smysl; Akademia Publ., 2004 (in Russian).

15. Stepanov, Ju.S. Aspect, Voice, and Transitivity [the Balto-Slavic Problem II]. Izvestija AN SSSR, Serija lit-ry i jazyka — News of AS USSR. Vol. 36, No. 2 (1977). P. 135–152

(in Russian).

16. Guhman, M.M. Constructions with Dative-Accusative Case of the Person in Indo-European Languages. Izvestija AN SSSR — News of AS USSR. No. 3–4 (1945) (in Russian).

17. Judakin, A.P. Razvitie struktury predlozhenija v svjazi s razvitiem struktury mysli [Sentence Structure Development in Connection with Thought Structure Development]. 2nd edition. Moscow: Librikom, 2011 (in Russian).

18. Vinogradov, V.V. Russkij jazyk (grammaticheskoe uchenie o slove) [Russian Language (Grammatical Teaching About the Word)]. 2nd edition. Moscow: Nauka, 1972 (in Russian).