Combinatorial Syntagmatics: from the Theory of Valency to the Theory of Conceptual Integration

  • A. V. Korolyova National Pedagogical Dragomanov University
Keywords: the theory of valency, the theory of distribution, combinatorial syntagmatics, the configuration of the language signs, compositional semantics, the theory of conceptual integration


The topical and complicated problem of modern linguistics has been examined in the article. It deals with the study of the processes and mechanisms of creating new senses by the various combinations of both language signs among themselves and the transformation of the meanings of ready-made signs. This problem was begun to be solved in structural linguistics by the representatives of the theory of valency and the theory of distribution. The following conclusion has been made: developing in parallel as two directions of syntagmatics, both the theory of valency and the theory of distribution caused a lot of discussions on their correlation between them, as well as with the understanding of the problem of compatibility in general. However, their representatives agreed that these categories are in a relationship of matching: inclusion, cohesion and interdependence. They are represented with two levels of combinatorial syntagmatics: while the language level is more typical for valency, then the speech one is, predominantly, for distribution. The particular attention is paid to a new cognitive view of the essence of the valency and distribution. It helps to assume that both notions are broadly understood to be cognitive categories that reflect the ability of native speakers to associate certain language signs in a specific communicative situation, usually called the context. It is pointed out that the development of this problem was reflected in the works of representatives of compositional semantics. They first focused their attention on studying the relationship among the configurations of components of complex signs from the cognitive point of view. The arguments are given to justify a new stage in the development of combinatorial syntagmatics, developed by J. Fauconnier and M. Turner, the supporters of the theory of the conceptual integration. According to it the creation of new senses by the configuration of language signs occurs in the system of mental spaces – the mental spheres (cognitive contexts reflected in the consciousness of the carriers of a certain language), connected with the comprehension by a person of various situations and having a cognitive status, i.e. with the process of cognition of the phenomena of the surrounding reality.


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How to Cite
Korolyova, A. (2018, August 21). Combinatorial Syntagmatics: from the Theory of Valency to the Theory of Conceptual Integration. Scientific Journal of National Pedagogical Dragomanov University. Series 9. Current Trends in Language Development, (17), 99-111.