Германские языки | Филологический аспект №05 (97) Май 2023

УДК 811.11-112

Дата публикации 31.05.2023

Некоторые особенности репрезентация процессов памяти в публичных выступлениях

Исхакова Рита Фанисовна
канд. филол. наук, старший преподаватель кафедры английского языка в сфере наук о Земле, Факультет иностранных языков, Санкт-Петербургский государственный университет, РФ, г. Санкт-Петербург, ritaiskhakova@gmail.com

Аннотация: Статья посвящена исследованию специфики вербализации в английском языке процессов, которые происходят в памяти индивида при хранении в памяти информации, при ее утрате и восстановлении. Целью данной работы является определение и выявление особенности употребления глаголов памяти в речи публичных выступлений Королевы Елизаветы II. Был проанализирован массив публичных выступлений монарха. Уделялось внимание прагматике указанного стиля, учитывались индивидуальные особенности. На основании проведённого анализа выявлен наиболее частотный глагол в рамках указанного материала, определены некоторые общие черты использования глаголов памяти, кроме того, подчеркнуты особенности, связанные со статусом выступающего.
Ключевые слова: глаголы памяти, речь публичного выступления, хранение, восстановление, забывание, английский язык

Some features of memory representation in public speeches

Iskhakova Rita F.
PhD in Philology, Senior Lecturer of The Department of English Language in the sphere of Earth sciences, Faculty of Foreign Languages, Saint Petersburg State University, Russia, Saint Petersburg

Abstract: The article is dedicated to studying the specific features of verbalization in the English language of those processes that occur in an individual's memory during the storage, loss, and recovery of information. The aim of this work is to identify and reveal the peculiarities of using memory verbs in the speeches of Queen Elizabeth II. A large corpus of the monarch's public speeches was analyzed, with attention given to the pragmatics of the specified style and individual characteristics taken into account. Based on the conducted analysis, the most frequent verb within the given material was identified, and some common characteristics of using memory verbs were determined. Additionally, the features associated with the speaker's status were emphasized.
Keywords: memory verbs, public speech, storage, loss and retrieval, the English language

Правильная ссылка на статью
Исхакова Р.Ф. Some features of memory representation in public speeches // Филологический аспект: международный научно-практический журнал. 2023. № 05 (97). Режим доступа: https://scipress.ru/philology/articles/nekotorye-osobennosti-reprezentatsiya-protsessov-pamyati-v-publichnykh-vystupleniyakh.html (Дата обращения: 31.05.2023)

The study of verbal and cogitative processes and the relationships between the elements of the language world human triad are at the forefront of contemporary linguistics. E.S. Kubryakova attributed its anthropocentrism to the fundamental principles of its development since the late 20th century [5, p. 212]. Researchers’ interest is determined by the fact that every individual is involved in a complex process of understanding the surrounding world from the moment of their birth. Memory plays a key role in the cognitive activities of individuals and in the formation of the linguistic personality's worldview, as the process of perceiving the surrounding world and forming its verbal representation is possible thanks to memory. Memory and its functioning have been of particular interest for scientists since ancient times, and to this day, mnemonic processes are considered from numerous perspectives within various approaches [1; 2; 3].

The linguistic representation of memory processes has also been analyzed in terms of lexical, grammatical, and semantic characteristics [4; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10]. In this article, we will examine the peculiarities of verbalizing memory processes in official speeches, particularly in Queen Elizabeth II's annual Christmas addresses and her speeches for her jubilees. The texts of these speeches are interesting primarily because their content reflects the thoughts and feelings of the Queen herself, whereas, for example, the Throne Speech before the Parliament, delivered by the Monarch, is written by the Government.

Public speeches are characterized not only by the individual peculiarity of the oratorical style but also reflect culturally and nationally specific features of the linguistic personality. Depending on the type of text and a specific functional style it belongs to, verbs of memory may exhibit lexical, semantic, pragmatic and stylistic peculiarities. This article will aim to attempt to identify and describe the specificity of memory verb usage in public speeches.

The main words that represent the functioning of memory in the English language are memory verbs such as "to remember," "to recall," "to recollect," "to forget," and "to remind." The analysis of their meanings allowed identifying and describing a sequence of processes related to memory: storage, loss, and retrieval of information from memory [10, p. 189].

As an analytical tool, a mnemonic situation (hereinafter MS) was employed [4, p. 11]. It is an abstract model with a specific structure that allowed us to identify and describe those linguistic elements that make complex memory processes explicit, i.e. the way we think our memory works and how we express that using language.

The mnemonic situation consists of the following components [4, p. 11]:

  • the subject: an individual who remembers, forgets, or retrieves specific information from memory;
  • a memory process, represented by memory verbs;
  • the informational actant: the information that an individual first receives while perceiving the world, the information that the subject stores, forgets, or retrieves from memory.
  • the informational causator: an impulse that triggers memory processes. It can be any type of impact on the subject provided that it enables the subject to retrieve information from memory, to become aware of its loss, or it might be the reason for the loss of information.

All the components of a mnemonic situation are conveyed explicitly in the English language; however, it should be noted that the informational causator can be implicit.

Let us now consider some examples illustrating the peculiar representation of memory processes in public speeches. First, let us turn to the subject of the MS.

 (1) "At Christmas, I enjoy looking back on some of the events of the year. Many have their roots in history but still have a real point for us today. I recall especially a dazzling spring day in Norwich when I attended the Maundy Service."

(2) "We remember the dark days of the Battle of Britain when the pilots of the Royal Air Force fought in our skies to protect us from invasion."

(3) "People who often feel forgotten by the march of time remember struggles unknown to young people today and which they will not forget."

(4) "400 years after the winds blew and the Spanish ships were scattered, the events were remembered in both countries."

As the analysis of the examples has shown, the subject in the majority of mnemonic situations is represented in the language by the first-person singular pronoun (I), as the Queen refers to personal memories (example 1). A significant portion of the examples is characterized by the usage of the first-person plural pronoun (we) when the Queen speaks on behalf of the entire nation (example 2). In several examples, the subject of the mnemonic situation is expressed in the language by nouns or the third-person pronouns (example 3). In example 4, the subject of the mnemonic situation is implicitly expressed as representatives of both the United Kingdom and Spain.

Let us now turn to the memory verbs. The analysis has shown that modeling new shades of meaning for the verbs "to remember," "to recall," "to remind," and "to forget" is based on their usage in different tenses and aspects and the use of these verbs in directive speech acts, such as requests.

(5) "There's a lesson in this for us all. And we should never forget our obligation to make our own individual contributions, however small, towards the sum of human goodness."

(6) "On this birthday festival, which we try to make an occasion of happiness for our own families, we must not forget those children who are the victims of ill-treatment or neglect."

(7) "This year I hope we will continue to remember the many innocent victims of violence and intolerance and the suffering of their families."

(8) "At the same time, we must remember those still held hostage."

(9) "We are reminded here of our past, of the continuity of our national story and the virtues of resilience."

(10) "We were reminded, too, that the success of these festivals depended to an enormous degree on the dedication and effort of an army of volunteers."

The main semantic differences of memory verbs in examples 5-8 lies in the intentional nature that these verbs acquire in statements that function as a request, a promise, or a demand. In these examples, the Queen urges everyone to remember their duty and not to forget those in need of help and care. These examples illustrate voluntary memory, i.e. that memory process that is happening when a person is intentionally trying to remember or forget something. In a significant portion of the analyzed examples (examples 9-10), the verb "to remind" is used in the passive voice in the first person plural. This gives a phrase a more formal character and illustrates involuntary memory when a person unintentionally remembers or reproduces information without a specific goal to remember or recall anything.

Now let us consider the features of the informational actant (IA), which refers to the information stored in, lost from, or retrieved in an individual's memory.

(11) "I am reminded of a lady of about my age who was asked by an earnest little granddaughter the other day, 'Granny, can you remember the Stone Age?'"

(12) "There are many of my mother's generation still with us, they can remember the First World War. Prince Philip and I can recall only the Second."

(13) "I remember with much pleasure the friendships I have enjoyed with leaders from every part of the Commonwealth, some of them stretching over many years."

(14) "I will never forget that day (the 50th wedding anniversary), nor a day 5 years ago when Windsor Castle suffered a terrible fire."

(15) "I shall never forget the events in Normandy last June, when the representatives of the wartime allies commemorated the 50th anniversary of the D-day landings."

(16) "The story of the good Samaritan reminds us of our duty to our neighbor."

The analysis has shown that the IA in most cases is represented by socially significant events or phenomena: war, friendly relations with leaders from the Commonwealth countries, a fire at Windsor Castle, or the commemoration of the D-day landings. In some cases, the IA consists of some private information of personal nature (example 11). However, the predominant type of IA is information that is important from the Queen's perspective, and as a mentor, she urges not to forget about moral and ethical obligations, the social responsibility of all citizens, etc. (examples 8, 16).

Finally, let us examine the features of the informational causator, any impulse that triggers a mnemonic process.

(17) We brought home some souvenirs of our visit. In our case it was some delightful early prints of Sydney, which served to remind us of the extraordinary developments which have taken place in Australia in the short space of 200 years.

(18)   The message of Christmas reminds us that inspiration is a gift given as well as received and that love begins small and always grows.

(19)   Your visit to this country inevitably reminds us of our shared history, our common language, our strong intellectual and cultural links.

(20)   The anniversary reminded me of the remarkable changes that have occurred since the coronation: many of them for the better and other things that have remained constant, such as the importance of family, friendship and good neighborliness.

In the majority of the analyzed examples, the informational causator (IC) is represented by a specific event or a situation in which the subject participates and which is characterized by certain spatial and temporal parameters, i.e., the place and the time, (examples 19-20): a visit by the President of the United States or 60 years since the coronation. In such cases, we can speak of a mixed type of IC, as all channels of perception are activated. A visual impulse (a souvenir brought from Australia) acts as an IC in example 17. This is one of the rare cases in the analyzed material where a single channel of perception generates an impulse that initiates a memory process.

To summarize, let us point out the following distinct features of memory processes’ representation in the public speeches by Queen Elizabeth II.

  1. Since the speeches, the scripts of which we analyzed, are not spontaneous but rather are written in advance, memory functioning, for example, in cases of information retrieval, is shown only in retrospect. That is, the retrieval of information in memory in the above examples always lies outside the moment of speech, whereas in cases of interaction through a dialogue, both external and internal, the awareness of the absence of information or its retrieval at the moment of speech is possible.
  2. According to the analysis of the factual material, the most frequent word conveying memory processes within the framework of this study is the verb "to remind," used in the passive voice, which belongs to a formal register and is quite expected in the Queen's speech.
  3. In a significant number of examples, a memory process is presented as desirable, recommended, or necessary, which is achieved by using memory verbs in directive speech acts, quite often in combination with modal verbs. This usage is highly characteristic of the Queen's speeches, where she appears as a mentor to the nations within the Commonwealth.


Список литературы

1. Ассман А. Забвение истории – одержимость историей. – М.: Новое литературное обозрение, 2019. 552 с.
2. Брагина Н.Г. Память в языке и культуре. – М.: Языки славянских культур, 2020. 520 с.
3. Губжокова С.М. Общее понятие о мнемических процессах в научной психологической литературе // International Journal of Humanities and Natural Sciences, vol. 7-1 (70), 2022. С. 44-47.
4. Исхакова Р.Ф. Когнитивно-семантический анализ мнемических глаголов: на материале современного английского языка : автореф. дис. канд. филол. наук; Санкт-Петербург, 2009. 18 с.
5. Кубрякова Е.С. Эволюция лингвистических идей во второй половине ХХ века (опыт парадигмального анализа). Язык и наука конца ХХ в. – М.: Институт языкознания РАН, 1995. С. 144-238.
6. Куличенко Ю.Н., Королевская Е.М. Сопоставительная характеристика мнемических фразеологизмов в русском и английском языках. Лингвистика, переводоведение и методика обучения иностранным языкам: актуальные проблемы и перспективы. 2019. С. 148-151.
7. Рогачева Ю.Н. Репрезентация фрейма "память" в современном английском языке (на материале глагольной лексики): автореф. дис. канд. филол. наук; Белгор. гос. ун-т. - Белгород, 2003. 17 с.
8. Рябко Е.И. Реминисценция как смыслообразующий компонент кинотекста и текста киноперевода. Филологические науки. Вопросы теории и практики. 2021. Том 14. Выпуск 8. С. 2512-2517
9. Тивьяева И.В. Культурно-релевантные свойства памяти в английской фразеологии. Актуальные проблемы филологии и педагогической лингвистики. 2021. №2. С. 250–261.
10. Хомякова Е.Г. Прагматика информационной миграции в рамках когнитивно-информационной ситуации с глаголами памяти // XXXIV Международная филологическая конференция. Выпуск 14. Филологический факультет СПбГУ, 2005. С. 187 – 194.
Список источников
11. Queen’s Christmas broadcasts [электронный ресурс] URL: https://www.royal.uk/speeches

Расскажите о нас своим друзьям: