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Language − Literature − the Arts: A Cognitive-Semiotic Interface


Edited By Elżbieta Chrzanowska-Kluczewska and Olga Vorobyova

The book offers an interdisciplinary discussion of the cognitive-semiotic interface between language, literature, and the arts, with a special focus on creativity and imagination. It brings together international contributors suggesting a wide range of innovative perspectives on the correlation between verbal discourse and creative artefacts. The book reveals the specificity of such phenomena as parallax, transparency, corporeal imagination, and multimodality. Alongside interpreting artistic texts, the contributors search for cognitive and semiotic manifestations of creativity in political and everyday discourse.

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The Art of Being Formal: A Cognitive Perspective (Igor Pustovoit)


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Igor Pustovoit

Hofstra University, USA

The Art of Being Formal: A Cognitive Perspective

Abstract: This study examines the notion of formality and its role in contemporary stylistics. While traditional classifications of Russian functional styles would focus on stylistic markedness, a contemporary cognitive approach aims at determining the correlation between underlying concepts and their linguistic manifestations. Formality is viewed here as a linguistic universal, the dichotomy formal/informal being recognized by both scholars and speakers of the respective language. From the perspective of embodied cognition, formality can be regarded as a distancing device, an extension of near/far as the most basic human metaphor. Formal style alienates communicants and establishes a safe distance between them, whereas an informal style respectively converges and brings participants of interaction closer to each other. The study discusses the role of modern technologies in reducing the share of interactional communication between individuals, on the one hand, and offices and businesses. on the other, which results in increasingly formalised interaction. It also analyzes the relationship between the categories of formality and politeness, as well as lexical, derivational, and syntactic manifestations of formal interaction.

1. Traditional approaches to functional styles and challenges of the modern world

Human ability to blend in while maintaining each individual’s unique and original self remains one of the major paradoxes of our social existence. We simultaneously want to be “like everyone else”, but “not like the others”. This duality inevitably affects our...

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