Name as a sign: semiotic functions of the names of things in the context of sayings and proverbs

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


Vesntik TSU. Philology. 2013

Name as a sign: semiotic functions of the names of things in the context of sayings and proverbs

About the author:

Maria A. Safyanova,
post-graduate student, Institute for Humanities, Tyumen State University


This article presents a research in the field of ethnolinguistics. Taking proverbs with the component names «tool» and «household item» as data for analysis, we found out that a thing’s name can be used as a sign of household item, as a sign of situation of its real use and function and as a sign of notions formed by this thing in traditional mind. Functioning as a sign of household item, the thing’s name generally actualizes real features and functions, that are inherent in the thing in everyday use. As a sign of some situation the thing’s name can refer to some historical, sacral or everyday realities. As a sign of ideas about the subject the thing’s name connects a designated thing with some categories — heaven/earth/infernal, own/another’s, outside/inside etc. As we analyzed component names «tool» and «household item», the first place between the concepts designated by these names was taken by the concept «work» and it is associated with such concepts as industry/ laziness, mastery, images of a specific worker and so on. Besides, names of some things can be used as a sign of some people’s groups, characterized by social, gender features or by features of character.


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