Abstract. The article describes cognitive aspects of learning English language. It is introduced that methods and problems of assimilation of the second nonnative language, learner’s perception and cognitive activity and his mental nature, internal mechanisms of his thought, and also learner’s ways and methods of studying the second language from the cognitive point of view. Keywords: cognitive linguistics, cognition, language picture of the world.
The logic, philosophy, physiology, psychology long since were engaged in human
intelligence, regularities of thinking. So, in philosophy there is the whole section –
gnoseology, which is engaged in the theory of knowledge. Therefore it is possible to claim
that cognitive science has a huge tradition which roots go to antiquity. But within cognitive
science old questions began to consider in a new way. For example, that the different nature
of realities (things, the phenomena, events) causes their various display in consciousness:
one are presented in the form of evident images, others are presented in the form of naive
concepts, the third are presented in the form of symbols.
Cognitive science is the direction in science which object of studying is the human
reason, thinking and those mental processes and states which are connected with them. It is
science about knowledge and knowledge of perception of the world in the course of human
Today there is a term as cognitive revolution. N. Chomsky, the famous American
linguist, wrote: "Cognitive revolution belongs to conditions of a reason / brain and volume
as they cause behavior of the person, especially to cognitive states: to conditions of
knowledge, understanding, interpretations, beliefs, etc." [1, p. 73]
The processes connected with knowledge and information are called cognitive, or
cognition. Their synonyms are also the words "intellectual", "mental", "rational". In the
cognitive science people are studied as system of processing of information, and the
behavior of the person is described in terms of his internal states. These states are
physically shown, observable and are interpreted as receiving, processing, storage, and then
mobilization of information for the rational solution of tasks.
Modern researches specify that the cognitive science unites some scientific
directions: cognitive psychology, cultural anthropology, modeling of artificial intelligence,
philosophy, neurosciences, linguistics. In this regard it is important to note interdisciplinary
nature of cognitive science.
The term "cognitive science" is called as:
program of researches of the human "cogitative mechanism";
studying of a processing of information which is come to the person from different
creation of mental models of the world;
the structure of the systems providing any cognitive acts;
understanding and formation by the person and the computer program of the
thoughts stated in a natural language;
creation of model of the computer program which is capable to understand and
produce the text;
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wide range of the mental processes serving cogitative acts.
Cognition is an important concept of cognitive linguistics, it covers knowledge and
thinking in their language embodiment, and therefore the cognition and cognitive science
were closely connected with linguistics. It has already become an axiom that the relations
between language and other human activities are connected. Language than the culture and
society, furnishes to cognitive scientists the clue to understanding of human behavior.
Therefore language came under cognitive scientists' spotlight.
The purpose of cognitive linguistics is to understand how processes of perception,
categorizations, classifications and judgments of the world are carried out, how
accumulation of knowledge is occured, what systems provide different types of activity
Language provides the most natural access to consciousness and thought processes,
and at all not because many results of cogitative activity are verbalized but because "we
know about structures of consciousness only with the help of language which allows to
report about these structures and to describe them in any natural language".
Language, as we know, is exclusive attribute of the person. At the same time the
person is the central figure in that picture of the world which is drawn by language. As have
shown researches of the last decades, the semantic system of language is based on the
principle of anthropocentrism: to describe the size, a form, temperature, position in space,
function and other properties of objects, language as a reference point uses the person.
Depending on circumstances of people appears in language as the subject of the speech
(speaking), the subject of consciousness, perception, will, emotions, etc. and even just as
the physical body having a certain structure (a face, the head, legs, etc.) and the holding
certain position in space. The figure of the person speaking is central for categories of time
and a modality. But not less important role is played by a figure of the person and in
lexicon, including subject.
The cognitive linguistics is "the linguistic direction in which center of attention is a
language as the general cognitive mechanism, as the cognitive tool, system of the signs
playing a role in representation (coding) and a transformation of information" [2, p. 247]
.Therefore, the central problem of cognitive linguistics is creation of model of language
communication as bases of an exchange of knowledge.
V. Humboldt considered that language was the main activity of human spirit
penetrating itself all spheres of human life and knowledge. At last, in cognitive linguistics
the attention of researchers switches to identification of a role of language as conditions and
tools of knowledge. Any language, designating something in the world, creates or forms for
the speaker the world picture. Language allows to gain a complete and adequate idea of
human consciousness and reason.
The knowledge and language describe each other. According to Humboldt,
languages are not simply means of the image of already learned truth, and the opening tool
of still unknown object, and in general language is "the body forming thought", it is not
only the means of communication, but also expression of the spirit. Through variety of
languages we can see the richness of the world and variety of that we learn in it as different
languages give us different ways of thinking and perception of the reality surrounding us.
The well-known metaphor offered in this regard by Humboldt is a metaphor of circles: in
his opinion, each language describes a circle round the nation which it serves, the person
can go beyond which limits only so far as he right there enters a circle of other language.
Studying of foreign language is acquisition of the new point of view in the attitude which
already developed at this individual. And all these are possible because language of the
person represents the special world which is located between the outside world and that
The picture of the world is always characterized by national and cultural specifics as
it is formed under the influence of historical events, geographical conditions and
ethnopsychological features of the separate people. On this basis in modern science
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language is defined as one of the leading signs of ethnos. But national and cultural specifics
are established only against universal unity in attitude: through the analysis of the facts of
language access to a global invariant image of the world in which universal, nodal concepts
of uniform universal cross-cultural space are highlighted opens.
Language picture of the world, having arisen as a metaphor, now is one of the main
concepts of a cultural linguistics. The language picture of the world is a way of a world
view of the people through a prism language. The person understands world around and
himself by means of the language in which it is reflected socio-historical experience. Treats
this experience as national experience, so and universal. But national experience brings
specific features in every separate language. By means of the language carriers get a certain
language picture of the world. It forms at the person a certain relation to the world (to
animals, natural phenomena, people around to his people, to itself). Defining the relation of
the person to world around, a language picture of the world sets human standards of
behavior in this world. Each language specially conceptualizes the world. There is a
uniform frame of reference, collective philosophy of native speakers. Thus, it is possible to
tell that language not only transfers information, but also creates the internal organization
of that is subject to the message [3, p. 112].
The language picture of the world isn't necessary among with special pictures of the
world (chemical, physical, etc.), it precedes them and forms them because the person is
capable to understand the world and himself thanks to language in which socio-historical
experience – both universal, and national. The last also defines specific features of language
at all his levels. Owing to specifics of language in consciousness of his carriers there is a
certain language picture of the world through which prism the person sees the world.
Language – the culture fact, a component of culture which we inherit, and at the
same time her tool. "The language picture of the world is a common cultural property of the
nation, it is structured, multilevel. Language picture of the world causes communicative
behavior, understanding of the outside world and interior. Language is the most important
way of formation and existence of knowledge of the person of the world. Reflecting the
objective world in activity process, the person fixes results of knowledge of the word.
Language picture of the world, being an intermediary between the person and reality,
fixes national and specific vision of the world. The scientific picture of the world is a fruit
of professional cognitive activity of the person in which results of scientific activity of all
mankind are reflected; this picture reflects the objective knowledge of the world actual in a
certain stage of development of scientific thought. The language picture of the world is
generated by ordinary consciousness. Researchers call such picture of the world "naive".
Overlapping of these systems is to a certain extent conditional, these systems are
interrelated. Here an element of a scientific picture of the world from a fragment "time"
which has entered language – the word a phase, or a stage. Therefore, the language picture
of the world incorporates elements of various systems of the mental organization of
knowledge, that is various pictures of the world which are built by the person.
The separate fragments of a picture of the world coded by means of language
semantics can be outdated over time. The person develops the world – new areas in a
language picture of the world appear: electronic money, rush hour, computer, credit card,
Facing a language picture of the world of a foreign language, we thereby face with
culture, national mentality, a specific mindset of thinking of carriers of this language. Often
there is a question that bears in itself primary character: language picture of the world or
national mentality and character of carriers of this language picture of the world? Cultural
and community traditions, historical events, external living conditions (geographical,
climatic, natural) form communities also engender a basis of national character, mentality,
temperament. Further these peculiar features of the nation and national mentality get to
their national language, to them language picture of the world, being fixed there. In a
consequence all these traits of character of the nation are transferred by means of language
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to the next generation already in a ready verbalized view. On the initial stage language is
the peculiar "egg" generated by "chicken" – national mentality which in turn depends on
historical, cultural, external and other conditions dwellings of the nation. Later the listed
above conditions of dwelling can change, however national character, already, being fixed
in a language picture of the world of the nation, it continues to be transferred from one
generations to the subsequent. In this case the language picture of the world already turns
into "chicken", generating own "eggs", namely presenting to new generations the already
fixed and the created mental specifics of attitude. When the child masters the language, he
learns the world surrounding it at the language level, masters the language picture of the
world inherent in carriers this language.
The person perceives the world as a picture
· The picture of the world is a certain vision and designing of the world according to
logic of outlook
· The picture of the world arises at the person during all his contacts with the world
· The picture of the world is a global image of the world which is never a specular
reflection of the world
· The picture of the world is such vision of the universe which is characteristic of
these or those people as representations of members of society about themselves and about
their actions, their activity in the world.
The language picture of the world is a peculiar window to a national world view and
attitude. Each language bears in itself special system of perception of the world which thus
is divided between all carriers of this language. Special national mentality finds the
reflection absolutely in everything: in semantics of lexical units, available these or those
grammatical categories and values, in registration of syntactic and morphological
structures, in features of word-formation models of language and so on.
It is enough to show how the different nations greet. In English language at a
meeting people speak: "Hello!". It can literally be perceived as a health wish to the
interlocutor. Such greeting belongs to many Slavic languages: Ukrainian, Bulgarian and so
on. It is possible to draw a conclusion that health was the most significant in a Slavic
picture of the world. A traditional greeting of Chinese is "你吃了吗?" that in translation:
"Have you eaten?". Such way of a greeting sets thinking of its reasons of emergence, whose
sources can directly root in national mentality of Chinese. Now using all these greetings,
we practically don't think of their initial sense. However the language picture of the world
fixes and stores in itself even those lines of national mentality which people can already not
remember. The gastronomic greeting is very widespread in China. They say that such
special attention to food is caused by that Chinese in the long history often starved and
almost always underrate. Really, droughts, floods, invasions of a locust and other
misfortunes periodically tormented the Chinese population.
Studying a language picture of the world of other language, we thereby get into a
mentality of this nation, it is similar attempts to look at the world eyes of carriers of this
language picture of the world. The cognitive base of the nation is reflected in a language
picture of the world. At learning of foreign language to everyone, even to the person with
excellent lexical and grammatical knowledge of language, it is necessary to face inevitable
communicative failures. Insufficient possession of a language picture of the world of the
learned language, and also a difference between a language picture of the world of the
learned language and native language is the reason of it. Since the birth, having absorbed a
language picture of the world of the native language, we look at the reality surrounding us
from that point of view which our native language presented us it. It is almost impossible to
be reconstructed on a language picture of the world of a modern language, the person
masters a foreign language most often at the level of the instrument of communication, thus
he continues to look at the world eyes of the native language picture of the world. It often
leads to pseudo-understanding, that is superficial understanding of this or that phrase, when
the foreigner can't understand sense of the phrases consisting of acquaintances to him
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words. Cognitive base of the people, verbalized in language and consisting of verbal case
phenomena, being an integral part of a language picture of the world, often it appears out of
sight of the foreigners who are engaged in studying of this language.
The language picture of the world doesn't seek to display original reality of the
world. The language picture of the world is dynamic, it is exposed to changes, evolution,
but they don't happen instantly, despite frequent changes and opening, for example. Of
course, surrounding changes in a scientific picture of the world, in the history, society
impacts on a language picture of the world, but they get into it gradually, keeping thus
perception of the world of century prescription [4, p. 291]. The mankind knows long ago
that our Earth makes revolutions round the Sun, however still in languages there are
expressions: "The sun rises", "The sun sits down". It is reflection of long geocentric
perception of the world. Long ago it is known that Earth represents a sphere, however
expression "on the edge of the earth" is still used. By physics it was established that black
color as that represents lack of any color, but any of languages didn't expel black color from
dictionary structure. National languages never strive for adequacy, they store in themselves
all that knowledge of the world that once were available for carriers. In language there is
special "a space of meanings", knowledge of language of the world, the historical
developed experience of a separate linguistic community is enshrined in this "space". It
should be noted that at native speakers the separate picture of the world differing from
existing isn't created, and there is only a specific coloring of this world which is caused by
the national relation to certain phenomena, subjects that is connected with a way of life,
specifics of activity of each separate people. It includes not only objects, but also a position
of the person to them.
The language picture of the world of various nationalities coincides with logical
thinking and reflection of the world in consciousness of people. However thus in each
separate language there is the special distinctive phraseology, it is a separate site in a
language picture of the world. The phraseology, metaphorical, synonymic means of
expression, poetic pictorialism – all this belongs to those sites of a language picture of the
world which bear in themselves national mentality of native speakers. The phraseology
plays a special role in a language picture of the world, it creates the specific color of each
separately taken language. Phraseological units are "nation life mirrors". They are
connected with background knowledge of native speakers, with their cultural and historical
traditions, practical experience. By means of them the people show the attitude to world
around. Semantics of phraseological units is directed on the characteristic of activity of the
person, and also on the characteristic him. The anthropocentric understanding of the world,
mythological concepts becomes frequent a basis of phraseological units. By means of
phraseological units to objects the associative signs connected with a world picture are
attributed. Language possesses ability to fix reference and stereotypic representations of
separate collectives, it can objectify аt activity of consciousness of the person, and all this
becomes available to studying by means of language. V. Humboldt considered that it is
possible to find reflection of national nature of culture in language. Language and culture
have ontologic unity by means of communication through values of language signs.
Edward Sepir wrote: "The culture can be defined somehow THAT this society does and
thinks. Language is HOW to think" .
Language pictures of the world have the general basis at all languages of the world,
however they differ in specificity in each separate language. Distinctions in language
pictures of the world bring us to the different mental worlds. A language picture of the
world of each separate people, being a derivative of national mentality, comprises special
national outlook, special national logic of thinking and perception. National mentality of
the people is shown absolutely in everything: in lexicon, grammar, pragmatics, semantics
of language. It is possible to finish with S.G. Terminasova's words: "Language fixes not all
that is in national vision of the world, but is capable to describe everything".
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Language – a world around mirror as S.G. Terminasova in the work "Language and
cross-cultural communication" writes. He reflects reality and creates the picture of the
world specific and unique for each language and, respectively, the people, an ethnic group,
the speech collective using this language as a means of communication. Comparison of
language with a mirror is lawful: the world around is really reflected in him. Behind each
word there is a subject or the phenomenon of the real world. Language reflects everything:
geography, climate, history, living conditions.
So, the concept of a language picture of the world includes two connected among
themselves, but various ideas: 1) the world picture offered by language differs from
"scientific" and 2) each language draws the picture representing reality a little differently
than it is done by other languages. Reconstruction of a language picture of the world makes
one of the most important problems of modern linguistic semantics.
It is necessary to focus attention that the concept of "a language picture of the world"
is connected with the concepts "people", "ethnos", "nation" and understanding of national
character of the personality.
As some researchers note, the language picture of the world in general is abstraction.
They really exist and only language pictures of the world of concrete national languages –
national language pictures of the world can be analyzed.
Ordinary (language) consciousness of the certain person's individual national picture
of the world is result of reflection of the objective world. The language pictures of the
world limited to the social sphere are opposed to also national language picture of the world
– territorially (dialects) and it is professional (sublanguages of sciences and crafts).
In the conclusion it would be desirable to note that the language picture of the world
reflects the conditions of perception of reality which have developed during the last periods
of development of language in society. At the same time the language picture of the world
changes over time, and its changes is a reflection of the changing world and emergence of
Literature: 1. Chomsky N. Language and mind. – Kirov, 2003. – 194 p. 2. Fodor J.A., Bever T.G., Garrett M.G., The psychology of language: An introduction to psycholinguistics and generative grammar. – New York: McGraw-Hill, 1974. – 537 p. 3. Jackendoff R.S., Semantics and cognition. – Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1983. – 293 p. 4. Залевская А.А., Введение в психолингвистику. – М., 1999. – 382 с. Кисметова Г.Н., Утегалиева Л.М. Познавательные аспекты овладения иностранным языком В статье описываются познавательные аспекты изучения английского языка, рассматриваются методы и проблемы усвоения второго неродного языка, восприятия и познавательной деятельности обучающегося, его умственных способностей, внутренних механизмов его мысли, а также способов и методов обучения второму языку с когнитивной точки зрения. Ключевые слова: когнитивная лингвистика, когниция, языковая картина мира. Кисметова Ғ.Н., Утегалиева Л.М. Шет тілін меңгерудің танымдық аспектілері Мақалада ағылшын тілін оқытудың танымдық аспектілері сипатталып, екінші тілді меңгерудің әдістері мен проблемалары, білім алушының қабылдауы мен танымдық әрекеті және оның ойының ішкі механизмдерінің ақыл-ой сипаты, сондай-ақ білім алушыға когнитивті тұрғыдан екінші тілді үйретудің әдіс-тәсілдері қарастырылады. Тірек сөздер: когнитивті лингвистика, когниция, әлемнің тілдік бейнесі.