Deep and Surface Semantics of Words in Political Texts

Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates


2017, Vol. 3. №1

Deep and Surface Semantics of Words in Political Texts

For citation: Drozhashchikh N. V. 2017. “Deep and Surface Semantics of Words in Political Texts”. Tyumen State University Herald. Humanities Research. Humanitates, vol. 3, no 1, pp. 22-32. DOI: 10.21684/2411-197X-2017-3-1-22-32

About the author:

Natalia V. Drozhashchikh, Dr. Sci. (Philol.), Associate Professor of the Department of English Philology and Translation Studies, University of Tyumen;; ORCID: 0000-0002-5910-2402


This article is devoted to the problem of deep and surface word meanings interaction in the United States presidential inaugurals (XVIII-XX cc.). The aim of the article is to define the mechanisms of meaning distribution in political texts. The keywords that express the surface semantics and the associatively connected meanings in deep mental structures are identified and analyzed. The surface semantics of the keywords contains the generalized meanings of “government”, “nation”, “country”, “people”, “leader”. The deep semantics inherited from the Indo-European past reveals the meanings of “leadership”, “plurality”, “force”, “order”, “stability”, “individuality”, “unity” which go back to physical, spatial, emotional prototypical concepts. The interaction of the deep and surface word meaning structures leads to the emergence of basic conceptual metaphors such as “society is a person”. It also revitalizes the inner form of the word and enables the readers to guess its prototypical initial sense. As a result a new additional meaning emerges and thus a pragmatically efficient text is created.


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