World of Science. Series: Sociology, Philology, Cultural Studies
World of Science. Series: Sociology, Philology, Cultural Studies

2022, Vol. 13, No. 3. - go to content...

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Kletckaja S.I. [Strategies and mechanisms of semantization meaningless in the interpretations of the phrase of the Khomsky ‘Colorless Green Ideas Sleep Furiously’] World of Science. Series: Sociology, Philology, Cultural Studies, 2022, Vol. 13, No. 3. Available at: (in Russian).

Strategies and mechanisms of semantization meaningless in the interpretations of the phrase of the Khomsky ‘Colorless Green Ideas Sleep Furiously’

Kletckaja Svetlana Ilʹinichna
Southern Federal University, Rostov-on-Don, Russia
Institute of Philology, Journalism and Intercultural Communication

Abstract. To date, there is a fairly rich tradition of semantization and interpretation of the famous phrase N. Khomsky ‘Colorless Green Ideas Sleep Furiously’, created as an example of a grammatical, but meaningless statement, but this material has not yet received a systematic linguistic understanding. Based on the analysis based on the methods of lexico-grammatical and communicative-pragmatic analysis, as well as categories developed by the theory of text, theory of discourse and narratology, the article describes two semantization strategies of the phrase Homsky: search for isotopy with support for portable values and designing a hypothetical communicative context context in which this phrase could arise. Analysis showed that only the first strategy is able to provide more completed, complete and whole interpretations, while the second strategy that implies a reference to the author’s fictitious figure, other than the real author («Poet», «People’s Commissar», «Crazy», «Publicist «And so paragraph.), Only outlines the general direction of interpretation. These two strategies largely assume each other and are often used in the complex, but remain autonomous. By virtue of this, the strategy for the design of a hypothetical communicative context can be considered as a prerequisite for the application of the search strategy of isotopia. At the same time, neither each of these strategies individually nor both strategies in the complex are not able to provide a single «canonical» interpretation of the phrase of Homsky. The analysis also allows us to conclude that the degree of deviation of meaningless speech material from the rules and conventions of the language system largely determines the set of interpretation strategies applicable to it. The results of the study allow you to shed light on communication and interpretation mechanisms, which, in the case of obviously meaningless phrases, appear more brightly.

Keywords: linguistic absurdity; nonsense; nonsense; semantization; interpretation; discourse isotopy; Homsky

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