(Uzhhorod National University)
Conceptualisation of old age in English : Interdisciplinary perspective
Vendredi 4 novembre 2022, 10h30-12h
LPL, salle de conférences B011
In the present study, I aim to analyse cultural and social constructions of old age and the aged in English. Drawing on the thesis about the interrelation between language and culture, I hypothesize that the concept old age in English is verbalized by a set of socially and culturally loaded representations. This research adopts a cognitive-semantic approach when meaning is defined as conceptualization. It aims at revealing the notional content of the concept old age in English with the focus on the definitions of the lexeme ‘old age’ in present-day lexicographical sources (both printed and on-line). Firstly, the concept of old age as a mental unit and complex knowledge cluster is analysed, its nominative field is defined. It appears to be a multicomponent structure representing the period or time in life when one is old, the person or the group of persons who are old and the state or condition of being old. Secondly, I will highlight the definitions of old age in English and compare different discursive models of ageing conceptualisation. Old age as a social phenomenon is usually defined through the prism of its medico-biological and socio-philosophical characteristics as a final stage of human life with considerable physiological and psychological changes leading to little involvement of a person in social activities. However, the demographic processes of the recent decades have resulted in radical changes in old age delimitation, when it gets measured not only within chronometric framework, but also by sociocultural criteria. Old age as a cultural phenomenon is different from the chronological age, as it is characterized by vague boundaries, the interaction between different age stages, and deviations from their logical order. Furthermore, adopting the interdisciplinary research perspective, the study reveals discursive models of old age conceptualization, providing the description of the new reality of old age not only as a biological phenomenon, but also as a social construct with a complex cognitive structure represented in discourse with normative, axiological, stereotypical, figurative and symbolic components. Moreover, the paper gives insight into the metaphorical conceptualization of old age in the literary discourse and authors’ creative associations about this stage of life.
Key words: old age concept, ageing, conceptualisation, conceptual metaphor, discourse analysis, interdisciplinary approach.