Truth and Lie in English Discourse

Topics: Semantics, Meaning of life, HarperCollins Pages: 8 (3025 words) Published: January 11, 2013
Kseniia Shengera
21 December 2012
The concepts Truth and Lie in English discourse
The question about Truth is one of the essential questions closely associated with the usage of language. The process of communication considers sincerity between the interlocutors, and that logically excludes not only evident lie, but also propositional. Thereby the studying of Lie (in general) is a direct subject of linguistic investigation, especially in situations, when Lie starts to be cultivated as an art. The social sphere extension of such concepts as Truth and Lie presents serious obstacles in the path to achievement of mutual understanding and cooperation between people. No wonder that these phenomena attract attention of philosophers, sociologists, political analysts, specialists in marketing, communication theory etc. With the concentration of linguistic attention on the investigation of human factor in language (Aratjunova N.D., Kubrjakova O.S., Gibbs R., Lakoff G., etc.) lie and deception occupy their place among objects of linguistic study (Bolinger D., Vaynrych H.). According to Bolinger, the truth is dependable on built-on common knowledge or “common sense” of the speaker and hearer; therefore it is no longer a linguistic question, but certainly a pragmatic . The linguist explains that it is the context, and not abstract sentences, that is important in an appropriate description of facts. More than that, it is necessary to mention that in Bolinger’s interpretation of the concept “context” it implies speaker’s intention to share his opinions and knowledge (543). On the assumption of mentioned conjecture, it stands to reason to treat truth and lie as concepts of cognitive linguistics. From the academic point of view, we can specify the following features of the concept: abstraction, sameness in understanding by representatives of the same cultural environment, who have the identical mentality. The concept is a product of collective conscious that has cultural value for native speakers; it gives an opportunity to model a depicted reality. Therefore, we perceive the language not just as a tool of communication and cognition, but also as a phenomenon that represents the mental-cultural code of the whole nation, interprets visual environment, and creates a particular reality, where human lives. This reality, created by language, has a considerable impact on the way how we react and percept everything that surrounds us. The perception is a special, drawling in time process, regulated by specific rules and standards. Its initial phase is the phenomenon realization of a different nature, the rules of which can be both fully consciously realized, explicit, and unconscious, implicit, incorporated in a system of organs of sense perception (Workachev 27). In English language the concept “Truth” is represented by just one word – Truth. The word Verity, which can be also considered within the research of a given concept, has no evident notional difference from the word Truth, and it usage frequency is so insignificant that it permits to leave it out of account. In accordance with N. Zemskova, even in translations of the Old and New Testaments linguists mainly prefer to use the word Truth (238 units). Instances of using the word Verity are rather solitary (2 units) (Земскова 12). We distinguish general meanings corresponding to the concept “Truth”: 1) conformity to fact or actuality; 2) sincerity, integrity; 3) fidelity to an original or standard; 4) reality, actuality. The concept “Lie” we consider as opposition to the concept “Truth”, as soon as it also actualizes in the same fields of knowledge. Nevertheless, it is necessary to point out that there is the opinion that linguists should treat lying not as a pragmatic question, as soon as it is a “defective assumption” (Searle, and John 321), that lacks an incentive and, thus, looses significance of information. To the...
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