Lazebna N. Linguistic semiotics of English-language digital discourse

Українська версія

Thesis for the degree of Doctor of Science (DSc)

State registration number


Applicant for


  • 10.02.04 - Германські мови


Specialized Academic Board

Д 17.051.02

Zaporizhzhia National University


A new branch of linguistics – digital linguistics – has been originated, with the central link of the English-language digital discourse (ElDD) therein. The relevance of the research is determined by the humanitarian paradigm of knowledge focus on the study of cognitive / communicative aspects of speech activity. Consequential formation of ElDD made of ‘morphemes’/ PL ‘commands’, linguistic and semiotic representation of PL texts, speech patterns between a Human and Machine, and their further multimodal mediation attracts various linguistic and extralinguistic factors, which foster this social and digitalized phenomenon (ElDD) to the metalevel of human activity. The integration of digital discourse into the scientific realm, its linguistic ‘charge’ and relevant specifics, interaction of (artificial) programming languages and (natural) English language, – all these identifiers highlight a new perspective for further development of linguistic and conceptual world pictures. Solving the scientific problem of ElDD will help to understand the impact of modern information technology on the communicative culture of the society. The deepened interest of linguistics in this technocratic ‘dimension’ will contribute to its understanding in multidisciplinary aspects, both by the humanities and the exact sciences bringing them closer to the common frontiers. ElDD represents a three-layer cognitive and communicative construct in the unity of micro-, meso- and macro-levels. Microlevel of ElDD represents a basic level, which integrates linguistic and mathematical conglomerate with the coded communication “Human ↔ Machine” (using natural English language and programming languages (PL) therein. Microtexts are chains of predicates and commands of PL. Mesolevel of ElDD is an intermediate level of “Human ↔ Machine” communication, a special realm for embodying digitalized nature of the English language and its “twofold” representation both as a means for tools creation for its “self-processing” and the object for such processing. Mesotexts describe the process of natural language processing thus reflecting NL and PLs interaction, which is anchored by its focal points (determiners/articles; descriptors/ adjectives, adverbs; additives/ adverbs, prepositions). Morphosplit is identified in terms of logical structure split into lemmas, affixes, and endings. This is a directed vector of textual matter processing, which gives rebirth of symbols into words, word forms into lemmas, and further syntactic relations. Morphosplit of a Human is cognitive-oriented, while Morphosplit of a Machine is digital-oriented. This process determines the initial interaction of NL and PLs. Text clusterization is another analytical stage for text matter analysis based on morphological analysis, tokenization, and stemming. Linguistic purification strategies, such as an active representation of human request, its characterization, and description are used together with digital-oriented purification strategies (request details using digital tools; consequential distillation of data). This research correlates the semiotic basis of the natural English language (N(E)L) with visual-graphic means, symbols, alphanumeric commands of programming languages (PL). The integration of the latter into the digital text space acts as a kind of linguistic and semiotic symbiosis. PLs represent the fundamental principle and postulate of ElDD existence. A correlative-conceptual intersectoral approach to comparing the key concepts of semiotics, programming languages, and natural English language (transition from word forms to lemmas; the principle of constructing nominative phrases and verbs as constructs of digital discourse; analysis of the most used verbs, their valence, and other linguistic models constructions); slots of N(E)L; verbs mapping of the agentive rhetoric of PL; correlations between the concepts of modality and personality for N(E)L and PL. The research considers texts processing by the Machine and Human in terms of semantic, stylistic analysis and adequacy, and also focuses on lingual templates developed for chatbots. The logical and mathematical approach is used to construct logical connections, quadronymic interpretation of the main parameters of ElDD and the corresponding text space, as well as to develop speech patterns “Human ↔ Machine”. The ways and methods of the integral and differential use of both verbal and non-verbal sign systems in PL in comparison with N(E)L are analyzed. The types of synchronous changes in the social and cultural dimension of the sign are determined; the processes of transformation of signs during their actualization in N(E)L and PL are described; common and distinctive features in the arrangement of grammatical, lexical-semantic, and graphic means of natural English and programming languages in their projection on different modes of communication in “Human ↔ Machine” system are identified.


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