Druzhinin A.S. Motion Pictures as a Source of Empirical Language Data (A Case Study of Counterfactuals)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu2.2021.3.14

Andrey S. Druzhinin

Candidate Sciences (Philology), Associate Professor, English Language Department no. 3, MGIMO University

Prosp. Vernadskogo, 76, 119454 Moscow, Russia

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Abstract. The article focuses on the problem of research methodology in linguistics and argues that motion pictures, or feature films, provide a good source of empirical data for a realistic investigation of language as a communicative behavior. Evidence from epistemology and philosophy of science shows that scriptism and rationalism as two dominating methodologies in traditional linguistics do not give a whole picture of language functionality because through them we cannot observe a human's communicative behavior in dynamics. The aim of the article is to offer an alternative understanding of the subject-matter, method and data for linguistic research which would be grounded on human experience observable in films. In particular, the term 'languaging' is adopted to describe the dynamic process of experience construction in referential and attentional framings. The investigation of languaging is thus based on the principle of holism, circularity and 'double perspectival' view of one's experience. The author of the article gives a number of reasons why written texts alone do not provide reliable data in this respect and why motion pictures are a more viable alternative. The paper introduces the methodology of holistic research and open-ended experiential analysis and demonstrates in a case study how counterfactuals as grammatically and experientially enacted patterns can be observed and investigated in the film Atonement.

Key words: experience construction, experiential context, motion pictures, languaging, enactivism, holism.

Citation. Druzhinin A.S. Motion Pictures as a Source of Empirical Language Data (A Case Study of Counterfactuals). Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 2. Yazykoznanie [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. Linguistics], 2021, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 166-175. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu2.2021.3.14

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