Psychological and pedagogical features of scientific ecological discourse

Sergii Rudyshyn



The article provides an overview of the theoretical and methodological approaches of linguists, psychologists, philosophers to the formation of the terminosphere of linguistic ecology – a marginal branch of linguistics that studies the relationship between language and the environment, which is based on how people behave with the natural world under the influence of thoughts, concepts, ideologies and worldviews that are expressed in language. The author made a critical review of the terms "language ecosystem", "biolinguistic tradition"; the potential negative risks of adapting biomorphic metaphors into language policy are pointed out, as the objectification, enumeration and biologization of languages makes them natural objects rather than cultural artifacts. It is argued that the ecological term is an element of the ecological term system, names a special concept and requires a clear definition. Preservation of the primary scientific and natural meaning of the concepts "ecology", "ecosystem" is urgent, since the solution of ecological problems requires the definition and intensification of those areas of research where it is possible to find ways of human existence in accordance with nature.

The author points out the perspective of the practical application of ecological discourse in teaching practice, lexicographic work, and the formation of soft skills in the form of language culture, national unity, and ecological values among native speakers according to the "principle of complementarity".

Keywords: linguistic ecology, language ecosystem, ecological discourse, ecology.

Statement of the problem in general form and its connection with important scientific and practical tasks

Today, environmental security and food are two of the most important scientific and political problems of mankind that need to be urgently solved. All other — political, social, economic, energy, demographic, and problems of modern technologies are directly or indirectly related to them. Therefore, the issues and terminology of ecology take on a special meaning in such fields as the humanities, social and behavioural sciences, and information technology, in which it becomes a special terminology, a means of expressing professional and social problems in the form of marginal terms, in particular: language ecology (Haugen, 1972; Zhukovska, & Derkach, 2011; Klochko, 2017; Kutsa, 2021; Mirchenko, 2014; Radu, 2013; Rosmaritza, 2004; Serbenska, 2002; Taranenko, 2021; Troian, & Kantarzhy, 2019; Finke, 2013; LeVasseur, 2015, etc. ), soul ecology (Pestunov, & Stetsenko, 2009), spiritual ecology (Marvan, 1993), ecological justice (Hardashuk, 2005), electronic ecosystem of education management (Kvyetnyу, 2022), creativity ecosystem (Samokhina, 2019), software ecosystem (Sydorov, Hrinenko, 2014), etc.

The emergence of this terminology revealed its opposite impact on the understanding of the conceptual and categorical system of classical ecology in society. The causes and processes of emergence and use of new terms were studied by Stasiuk (2020), in the conclusions of her doctoral dissertation she notes: “Sociocognitive terminology as a new linguistic direction develops on the postulates of sociolinguistics, cognitive linguistics (cognitive semantics) and terminology, studies the emergence and functioning of the term in the social context, taking into account human cognition (naive/professional cognition, scientific/professional categorization and conceptualization)”.

Thus, there is reason to believe that this mechanism transforms ecological terms into linguistic and ecological ones, and the meaning of the latter reflects new ways of human thinking, life and orientation in the world. In particular, the following can be observed: the terms “ecology” and “ecosystem” as scientific linguistic units within the “native” terminology of ecology, as a result of transformations (borrowing, import of other concepts and their conceptual specialization) are metaphorically transcribed into the language of linguistic ecologists as purity (absence of pollution), reliability, balance (Halliday (2001), the term “ecosystem biodiversity” is formalized as “diversity of ecosystem languages” and “bilingual diversity” (Fill, 2000; LeVasseur, 2015; Nettle, & Romain, 2002). In addition, the new concept proposes to apply the methods of ecological analysis, ecological assessment, and ecological monitoring in the language sphere to build a scale of ecological safety and develop criteria for assessing the state of the language (Ecolinguistics. Syllabus, 2020, p.5); substantiates the possibility of managing the ecosystem as a technical device (Sydorov, & Hrinenko, 2014), etc.

A notable example of this transformation is the emergence of a new term “software ecosystem”, which was developed by scientists at the National Aviation University. This ecosystem is defined as a complex of systems created by the interaction of autonomous open subsystems of technical, natural, social, and economic origin, interconnected by the exchange of software products and intelligence (Sydorov, & Hrinenko, 2014). According to the authors, a formalized description of the components of the “software ecosystem” contributes to a more visual presentation of data, which simplifies the analysis of the functioning and evolution of these ecosystems.

In the context of the research title, it can be stated that in recent decades in the field of linguistics there has been created a centre of specialists of different fields (linguists, psychologists, philosophers) who position themselves as linguo-ecologists (Haugen,1972; Fill, 2000, 2001; Bondar, 2003; Hordun, & Kalynovska, 2021; Hudz, 2013, 2015; Zhukovska, & Derkach, 2011; Klochko, 2017; Kutsa, 2021; Mirchenko, 2014; Radu, 2013; Rozmaritsa, 2004; Serbenska, 2002; Serpak, Sydorchuk, & Sapun, 2021; Taranenko, 2021; Troian, & Kantarzhy, 2019; LeVasseur, 2015; Steciag, 2010; Stibbe, 2015, etc.).

Today, in this marginal area, a large body of research and recommendations has been accumulated, but the conceptual and categorical apparatus and independent research methods are not clearly defined. Professional ecologists and natural science lecturers experience cognitive dissonance caused by familiarization with linguists' arbitrary interpretation of the essence of rules, theories, and laws of ecology; import of concepts and combination by the analogy of heterogeneous, organically incompatible elements in the form of concepts that are borrowed from opposite concepts – “ecology of language” (or “linguistic ecology”), “language ecosystem”, “bilingual variety of ecosystem”; interpretation of the environment only as a society; understanding of environmental pollution as pollution of language (surzhyk, slang, profanity), etc. (Rudyshyn, 2021).

К. Taranenko describes an example of the explanation of the genesis of linguistic ecology: “In the middle of the 20th century, ecologists started to consider not only representatives of the flora and fauna, but also humans as organisms, which led to the emergence of several scientific disciplines such as ecopsychology, ecosociology, ecopedagogy, etc. The need to build ecological communication has led to the broadening of the concept of ecology, namely its transition to the linguistic field of study. The result of transferring the concept of ecology as a doctrine of the environment to the linguistic sphere was the emergence of an interdisciplinary science of ecolinguistics, which studies language as an ecological system, explores ways to protect the language from destruction, damage, spoilage at all levels”. (Taranenko, 2021, p. 212).

The reflections of the article authors on the metaphorical conceptual apparatus of ecological linguists about the understanding of humans as an organism, human language, the terms “ecology” and “ecosystem” are based on biological and ecological scientific knowledge (Potish, Medvid, Hvozdevskyi, & Kozak, 2000; Reimers, 1994; Rudyshyn, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2018, 2021):

1. Human according to the scientific definition (since the time of Linnaeus) is a biological organism with the species name Homo sapiens L.; the place of a human in the taxonomy of living organisms of the biosphere is as follows: Kingdom Animalia, Type Chordata, Class Mammalia, Order Primates, Family Hominidae, Genus Homo, Species Homo sapiens.

2. Ecology is a biocentric interdisciplinary science about the interrelation of organisms, their groups (populations, cenoses) with each other, and their environment. An ecosystem is a set of living organisms (biocenosis) that have adapted to living together in a certain habitat (biotope), forming a unified whole. Obligatory components of the ecosystem are producers, consumers, and reducers, which are related by the trophic, topical, factory, and phoric forms of relationships. Biological and landscape diversity ensures the homeostasis of the ecosystem.

Preservation of the primary scientific and natural meaning of the concepts "ecology", "ecosystem" is urgent, since the solution of ecological problems requires the definition and intensification of those areas of research where it is possible to find ways of human existence in accordance with nature.

3. The language of vertebrates is a set of symbols and gestures that form the basis of their communication; a set of specific signals – sound, smell, visual, etc. that act and reflect the state of the animal in a particular situation (on the principle of “here and now”). Animal language is innate and is a species trait, the animal does not have to learn it. If a chicken hatched in isolation, it immediately has the “vocabulary” that a hen or a rooster should have. “Language” (communication, information transfer in the ecosystem) of biodiversity of microorganisms, mushrooms, plants, and protists takes place not using speech signals, but in the form of various forms of sexual reproduction (creates new information for variability and the emergence of new traits) and biochemical communication (allelopathy, taxis, etc.).

4. Human language is not a species instinct of H. sapiens, but a form of social inheritance of the conditioned reflex of speaking this language according to a model (sound and verbal). The conditioned reflex arises based on unconditional ones and must be constantly reinforced because it can disappear. The arguments of this statement are the language of feral children and immigrants; the doctrine of academician Pavlov about the first and second signal systems.

Thus, ecologists and biologists have faced “terminological entropy” – metaphorical interpretations of the conceptual apparatus of natural sciences by linguo-ecologists and uncertainty in the theoretical and practical use of new terms.

The purpose of the article is a critical review, summary, and classification of theoretical and methodological developments in the marginal area of linguistics – linguistic ecology, to understand the environmental discourse in linguistic descriptions and its practical implementation.

Summary of the main material

It is advisable to start describing the ecological discourse by defining the concept of “discourse”. Discourse (from French discours – conversation on a topic) – the unity of speech and the situation in which it occurs; includes the flow of speech, its preconditions, limitations and results, extra-linguistic context and unspoken goals and intentions that accompany the act of speech. Elements of discourse are certain events, their participants, circumstances, and place of events, assessment of participants of events, and information that correlates discourse with events. Thus, discourse cannot be studied in isolation from its environment. Discourse is often characterized as “language immersed in life” (Zahorodniuk, 2019). Komar (2009) suggests that “reality is created within different discourses that shape its social meaning”. Thus, the subject of discourse analysis is the study of how texts acquire meaning in social processes and interactions (mainly according to the “principle of complementarity”).

There are different types of discourses, each of which is one of the possible, alternative worlds: journalistic, psychological, philosophical, political, Internet discourse, religious, etc. The transition of ecological scientific communication into the space of other discourses is a significant event in the creation of ecological discourse, which includes the concept, value system, language means, etc. Ecological discourse adopts the types of texts of other discourses that cover ecological topics.

The history of the use of the term “ecology” in connection with the language dates back to the 70s of the XX century. The term “ecology of language” was first proposed by the American linguist Einar Haugen, who in his work “Ecology of Language” (1972) combined aspects of the interaction between language and environment based on socio- and psycholinguistics (Haugen, 1972). The scientist introduced the concept of “environment” as a linguistic environment – a society that uses language as one of its codes (sign systems); considers language to be a part of the ecosystem in which it emerges, develops, and fades away (by analogy with a living organism). Haugen highlights the following problems and tasks of the ecology of language: research, documentation and rescue of endangered languages; study of the problems of linguistic demography, peculiarities of interaction between the language and its speakers, taking into account regional, class or religious origin; clarification of the speaker’s attitude to the language; the level of language standardization and features of spelling codification, etc. Thus, the ecology of language (according to Haugen) is a field of socio- and psycholinguistics that studies the interrelation of language with its environment to preserve the identity of each language and support linguistic diversity.

The term “ecolinguistics” was first proposed by Alvin Fill (Fill, 2000) – the term is common to all fields of research that combine ecology and language. British linguist Stibbe, who became the first ever professor of ecological linguistics, explains the use of the term “ecolinguistics” as follows: “the “eco” in the name is because the discourse is viewed through an ecological prism, and the “linguistics” is due to the use of linguistic analysis methods” (Stibbe, 2015). According to Stibbe, ecolinguistics is a very broad field in which scientists from different fields work, who are interested in developing a general theory and methodology of language research given the new ecolinguistic paradigm.

It is worth mentioning that at the present stage of the development of linguistic ecology the following terms coexist to denote this direction: ecolinguistics, linguoecology, ecological linguistics, ecology of language, and linguistic ecology. We consider them synonymous and suggest the linguistic community define one of the most acceptable.

We believe that such marginal areas of linguistics as mathematical linguistics, linguistic geography, and linguistic analysis of the transformation of chemical terms were similarly created and named. Linguistic geography is a section of dialectology, that, based on the method of mapping linguistic phenomena, studies their territorial distribution (Linguistic Geography, 2021). Mathematical linguistics is a branch of linguistics devoted to the study of language using mathematical methods; the study of the possibility of applying mathematical methods to describe and study natural and artificial languages, to explain linguistic events; the direction is considered the theoretical basis of applied linguistics (Mathematical Linguistics, 2018). Linguistic chemistry is at the crossroads of linguistics and chemical education, investigates the problems of transformation and interpretation of chemical terms, their linguistic analysis, correct usage and translation; linguistic games/chemistry puzzles; analysis of chemical historical sources, etc. (Linguistic analysis of chemical terms, 2022; Problems of transformation of chemical terms, 2012).

Fill’s work “Textbook of Ecolinguistics: Language, Ecology and the Environment” (Fill, 2001) summarizes the research and ideas of ecolinguists for three decades (since the beginning of Haugen's pioneering research in the 70s of XX century). The textbook is divided into four parts, which correspond to the most important areas of ecolinguistic research. It begins with the main section “The Roots of Ecolinguistics”; then there are sections “Ecology as a Metaphor”, “Language and Environment”, and “Critical Ecolinguistics” – all sections cover the criticism of the language system from an ecological point of view. It is noted that ecolinguistics is not a homogeneous science, but studies several phenomena that interact with language. Fill considers the main topics of ecological linguistics research to be language change and language contact, the disappearance of rare languages and their replacement by more economically significant ones, the unification of language communities due to the displacement of linguistic minorities, the balance between languages, language planning, bilingualism and language acquisition, as well as the role of language in political, social and economic conflicts.

The results of further research were reflected by Steffenson and Fill in the article “Ecolinguistics: Current Status and Prospects” (Steffensen & Fill, 2014). The scientists outlined the future horizons of ecolinguistics – the discursive and linguistic dimensions of the environmental crisis in terms of the nature-culture dichotomy; called for the continuation of the cooperation of ecological schools and traditions. The authors proposed to distinguish specific ways of conceptualizing four ecologies of language: natural, cognitive, socio-cultural and symbolic ecology of language. The argumentation of the essence of the natural ecology of language is as follows 1) language depends on the natural habitat of those who use it; 2) the relationship between language and natural ecology is complex and the danger of reductionism hangs over the ecolinguist who dares to explore the interaction between language and its natural ecology (Steffensen & Fill, 2014, p.9). As a reminder, reductionism is a methodological principle, the basis for interpreting the reality of the processes in the system, which can be understood by studying its parts/components individually.

In explaining the essence of the cognitive ecology of language, the authors rely on the conceptual provisions of social psychology, in which human behaviour is conditioned by the values of the language ecosystem. The sociocultural ecology of language is defined as a sphere of human (linguistic) interaction that combines applied linguistics, sociolinguistics, anthropological linguistics, conversation analysis, and many areas of discourse analysis. The authors provide the existence of symbolic ecology of language by differentiating two parts of language ecology: 1) psychological – the coexistence and interaction of language occurs in the minds of bilingual or multilingual speakers); 2) social part – the language interacts with other languages in a particular social group or geographical area where native speakers live. In the example of the ecosystem of the language of immigrants in America, it is shown that in the psyche of speakers over time there is a linguistic shift, switching of codes that affect the community, its culture (in particular, the Norwegian language has yielded to the influence of American English in immigrant communities) (Steffensen & Fill, 2014).

Therefore, the emphasis on the preservation of linguistic diversity moves to the plane of culture, macro- and micro-political processes, socialization, and legal rights of individuals and groups to speak and receive education in their native language. We believe that eco-linguistic discourse becomes a discourse of ideological orientation, which develops soft skills in native speakers in the form of language culture, national unity, patriotism and environmental values.

In particular, the Law of Ukraine “On Ensuring the Functioning of the Ukrainian Language as the State Language” (2019) states that the Ukrainian language as the only state language performs the functions of the language of interethnic communication, is a guarantee of human rights protection for every Ukrainian citizen regardless of their ethnic origin and is also a factor of unity and national security of Ukraine. The procedure for the use of the languages of indigenous peoples and national minorities of Ukraine in the relevant spheres of public life is determined by the law on the procedure for exercising the rights of indigenous peoples and national minorities of Ukraine, taking into account the peculiarities defined by the Law. This Law does not apply to the sphere of private communication and religious rites.

The Ukrainian centre of linguistic ecologists exists and among its active members are philologists of Zhytomyr Ivan Franko State University – N. O. Gudz, V. V. Zhukovska, and N. O. Derkach (Gudz, 2013, 2015; Zhukovska & Derkach, 2011); Lesya Ukrainka Volyn National University – S. M. Gordun, I. M. Kalynovska, and V. M. Yushchak (Gordun & Kalynovska, 2021; Ecolinguistics. Syllabus, 2020); Odesa I. I. Mechnikov National University – O. I. Bondar (Bondar, 2003, 2006); the National University of Technology “Dnipro Polytechnic” – K. V. Taranenko (Taranenko, 2021); psychologists of Khmelnytskyi State University – S. O. Klochko (Klochko, 2017); philosophers of Odesa State Environmental University – A. O. Troyan, N. I. Karandzhi (Troyan & Karandzhi, 2019), etc. If we summarize the environmental discourse of Ukrainian linguo-ecologists, it mainly covers the culture of speech, preservation of language traditions and language rights, protection of the language from the invasion of borrowings, prevention of its levelling, impoverishment, merger with other languages, as well as prevents the spread of negativism in the language and conflictogenic texts containing elements of manipulative technologies.

In particular, О. Bondar notes that the emergence of the linguo-ecological direction is caused by the crisis of inter-individual interaction, the social world of people, as opposed to the cosmic, natural, biotic world to which man belongs (Bondar, 2006, p.79). He also emphasizes that linguoecology is most closely related to linguistic disciplines, namely: sociolinguistics, ethnolinguistics, neurolinguistics, psycholinguistics, cognitive linguistics, rhetoric, theory of speech culture, history of language, lexicography, etc.

Taranenko proposed criteria for distinguishing between ecological and non-ecological environments: the non-ecological environment is characterized by any verbal or non-verbal means, strategies or tactics of communicative interaction of the media that contradict communicative-pragmatic and ethical-speech norms and adversely affect human mental health; the ecological environment is harmonious in these indicators for human life (Taranenko, 2021). We disagree with the conclusion of her study that the ecological environment is not presented as biotic and landscape, but only social.

We are attracted by the opinion of G. Bevzo, who believes that the environmental terminology covers two main categories: 1) ecological, which includes terms that name the phenomena of nature, the environment (e.g., nature, sea, forest); 2) social, which includes terms related to the anthropogenic impact of society on the planet’s ecology (e.g., waste utilization, filtration, deforestation) (Bevzo, 2017, p. 166). At the conceptual level, lexical units are united by one concept – “ecology”. The distribution of ecological concepts is based on the main areas of ecology as a science, which are based on a common theme.

V. Yushchak from Lesya Ukrainka Volyn National University developed and presented the syllabus of the elective discipline “Ecolinguistics”, the training program “Language and Literature (English), speciality 035 Philology” (Ecolinguistics. Syllabus, 2020).

The description of the discipline states that this course belongs to the philological direction, and promotes the generalization and systematization of knowledge about linguistic studies, which together deepens the linguistic competence of the future philologist. The basic knowledge for studying this course is linguistic disciplines: Introduction to Linguistics, Practical Phonetics, Practical Grammar, Lexicology, Fundamentals of Applied Linguistics, Discourse Studies, and Linguistics. At the same time, “the discipline “Ecolinguistics” incorporates the available knowledge about each level into a dynamic system model of applied direction, which allows an understanding of the nature of language as an ecosystem, and also demonstrates the interdisciplinary links of linguistics with all areas of scientific research” (Ecolinguistics. Syllabus, 2020, p.2).

There are 14 competencies that the student acquires as a result of the study, most of which correspond to the speciality 035 Philology, but competency No. 7 causes cognitive dissonance, namely: “Application of environmental analysis, environmental assessment, environmental monitoring in the language sphere to make a scale of environmental friendliness and formulate criteria for assessing the state of the language” (Ecolinguistics. Silabus, 2020, p.5). We propose to delete or modify the content of competence No. 7 during the update of the working curriculum of the discipline “Ecolinguistics”.

Learning outcomes in the syllabus “Ecolinguistics” are defined as follows: “As a result of studying this course, students will know the basic concepts and terms in the field of ecolinguistics; object, subject, purpose, tasks, theoretical bases of ecolinguistics, as well as its relationship with other linguistic branches; features of language planning and language policy; methods of ecolinguistic research developed in Ukrainian and international linguistics” (Ecolinguistics. Silabus, 2020, p.4).

Note that according to the Law of Ukraine “On Higher Education” (2019), one of the main requirements for learning outcomes is their measurability (Art. 1.1.19). In this description of the learning outcomes, it is not taken into account that they should be clearly defined (knows, understands, can do) to determine the quality of their achievement by the student after graduation (Development of educational programs. Methodological recommendations, 2014). Thus, the learning outcomes are only declared and do not imply that the student is able, in particular, to apply methods of environmental analysis, environmental assessment, and environmental monitoring in the language sphere.

The expert opinion on the syllabus of the course “Ecolinguistics” in the accreditation of the training program “Language and Literature (English)” should be made by experts of the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Education.

Special attention should be paid to the research of linguists of the Educational and Scientific Institute of Philology of the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, who do not position themselves in publications with the fashionable word “linguo-ecologists”, but philologists who study the environmental terminology. The research of S. Ovseichyk “Ecological Terminology Creation in Ukraine” (10.02.01 – Ukrainian language), in which for the first time in Ukrainian linguistics the eco-terminology system is singled out, its connections with branch terminology systems are traced, semantic and structural characteristics of Ukrainian eco-terminology are established, is a pleasant impression. The author identified the ways and sources of the creation of eco-terminology and studied the means and methods of term creation, structural types and word-formation models of environmental terms (Ovseichyk, 2006, p. 10).

S. Ovseichyk highlights that the emergence of ecology as a separate natural science involved the development of appropriate terminology aimed to serve this field of knowledge. The specifics of the eco-terminology formation are determined by the fact that it is a kind of “conglomerate of conceptual subsystems from such traditional sciences as biology, geology, hydrology, and new branches of scientific knowledge that have emerged at the junction of related disciplines (agroecology, architectural ecology, engineering ecology, etc.).” (Ovseichyk, 2006, p. 10). Thus, the emergence of new areas of science requires the recording, storage and transmission of special information, a certain rethinking of long-used terms, which in modern dictionaries are designated as “ecological”.

The author shows that Ukrainian eco-terminology is formed both based on specific vocabulary and by direct and indirect lexical borrowings. The Ukrainian eco-terminology system includes borrowings – names of special concepts from classical Greek and Latin (60%) and modern European languages, among which borrowings from English (19%), German (10%) and French (10%) prevail. Most of the borrowed terms have a sectoral indirect nature of assimilation, which is due to the specifics of ecology itself as an interdisciplinary natural science (Ovseichyk, 2006, p.175).

S. Ovseichyk studied the influence of context on the perception of the term as ecological vocabulary and notes that the contextual factor is one of the main ones for eco-terminology today because it allows distinguishing ecological vocabulary within the sciences of the natural cycle. As an example, the author compares excerpts from ecological journals:

1. Excerpt of the text: “Analysis of the dynamics of vegetation and avifauna indicates the parallelism and interconnection of the completion of ecological domains of autotrophic and heterotrophic blocks”. S. Ovseichyk comments: “the use of such biological terms as “vegetation dynamics”, “avifauna”, “autotrophic block”, “heterotrophic block” together with the term “ecological domain” allows to classify these terms as ecological since they are aimed at revealing the essence of the ecological phenomenon, in this case – the concept of “ecological domain”.

2. Excerpt from the text: “The doctrine of biocenosis by V. M. Sukachov (1964), the laws of formation of interrelations of edaphotopes and forest ecosystems in the steppe, established by A. P. Travleiev (1972), and the typology of forest ecosystems of the steppe zone developed by O. L. Belgard (1950; 1971) ...”. Comment by Ovseichyk: “From the above paragraph one can see that the biological terms “biocenosis”, “edaphotope” and the geographical term “steppe zone” in the context with the term “ecosystem” and as part of separate terms-phrases (“forest ecosystem”, “typology of forest ecosystems of the steppe zone”) acquire ecological meaning and have the right to be used in dictionaries with the remark ecological (Ovseichyk, 2006, p. 43).

The study of S. Ovseichyk emphasizes that the ecological term is an element of the eco-terminology system, it names a special concept and requires a clear definition. Impressed by the author’s position on the main features of the ecological term: 1) nominative; 2) definition; 3) context dependence, primarily when it comes to biological terms; 4) a clearly defined place in the eco-terminology; 5) a tendency to monosemy within the terminology of the environmental field; 6) accuracy of the designation of the environmental concept; 7) stylistic neutrality; 8) the absence of expressive meanings; 9) systemic relations and connections within the environmental terminosystem, related sectoral terminosystems and commonly used vocabulary; 10) motivation, which is realized in three types, corresponding to the three main ways of terminological word formation (morphological, syntactic and semantic) (Ovseichyk, 2006, p. 44 ).

Structural features of the Ukrainian eco-terminology are analyzed in detail in the third chapter of the dissertation by S. Ovseichyk. Nine thematic groups were identified in the eco-terminology, including: “Names of actions and processes”, “Names of properties, characteristics, abilities”; “Names for the designation of values, indicators, constant coefficients”, “Names of units of measurement”, “Names of methods and techniques for the study of environmental phenomena”, “Names of instruments, devices for the study of environmental phenomena”, “Names of environmental laws, principles, rules, theorems”, “Names of sciences, scientific directions, branches”, “Names of objects of research” (Ovseichyk, 2006, p. 173).

We see the practical significance of S. Ovseichyk’s work in the fact that the results obtained can be used in the study of Ukrainian scientific terminology; in lexicographic work, in particular in the compilation of translated and explanatory environmental dictionaries; for writing scientific papers on terminology and terminography.

Noteworthy is the dissertation research of N. Rudenko “Ecological vocabulary as an object of translation (based on the material of a dictionary article, annotation, report, as well as a journalistic article on environmental topics’ (10.02.16 – translation studies), which proposes a translation classification of ecological vocabulary, shows that ecological vocabulary contains thematic zones, namely: 1) techno-oriented, 2) nature-oriented and 3) social-oriented. The author sees the main task in the translation of environmental realities and environmental symbols as preserving their conceptual component and ethnospecificity (including symbolism) (Rudenko, 2011, pp. 17–18). The results of this research actualize the problem of choosing translation strategies and tactics taking into account the relationship between the status of environmental lexemes and the adequacy of their reproduction not only in environmental texts but also in related discourses.

Topics and tasks of modern ecolinguistics

The achievements of linguo-ecologists over the past five decades were successfully summarized by S. Gordun and I. Kalynovska in the article “Trends in the development of ecolinguistics and its role in solving environmental problems” (Gordun & Kalynovska, 2021). The main directions of ecolinguistics are indicated:

1. “Ecological linguistics”, which “starts” from ecology and metaphorically transfers ecological terms (environment, ecosystem, diversity), principles and methods of research to language and linguistics; studies the relationship and influence of languages on each other.

2. “Linguistic ecology”, which considers the actualization of environmental topics in language, based on linguistics and its methods. Languages and texts are analyzed from the point of view of their “environmental friendliness”, the role of language in describing the actual problems of the world around us is studied. This area includes the study of the relationship between language and environmental issues, and the reflection in language on the problems of human interaction with nature, and the surrounding world.

The tasks of ecolinguistics: the study of linguistic diversity (its forms, functions and consequences of the coexistence of languages); the study of endangered languages (documentation and rescue); establishing links between biological and linguistic diversity (“biolinguistic tradition”); study of ecological and non-ecological elements in the language system (grammar), processes of deep ecologization; study of ecological discourse (environmental texts, ideology, surface ecologization in tests); teaching ecological literacy; creation of a theory of language based on the principles of ecology (Fill, 2000; Fill & Mühlhäusler, 2001; Gordun &Kalynovska, 2021).

It is worth noting that the “biolinguistic tradition” is perhaps the most popular area of ecolinguistics, and the ecological metaphor of linguistic diversity is widely accepted by scholars working in the field of language planning and anthropological linguistics. Proponents of the concept of biolinguistic diversity (Nettle &Romain, 2002; LeVasseur, 2015) interpret the term “linguistic ecology” and practically, metaphorically considering the multilingual system in the world as an ecological system, and the extinction of minority languages as a loss of biodiversity in this ecosystem (hence, the argumentation of the need for linguistic minorities in the world).

We support the criticism of the “bilingualist tradition”, namely the biomorphic view of linguistic diversity as biological (Pennycook, 2004). Potential negative risks of adapting biomorphic metaphors into language policy immediately arise, as objectification, enumeration and biologization of languages make them natural objects rather than cultural artefacts.

Selivanova in her work “Linguistic Encyclopedia” (Selivanova, 2010) detailed new directions of research in the field of linguistic ecology, namely: 1) the study of the global linguistic situation in the world; 2) the establishment of the causes, forms, functions and consequences of linguistic diversity; 3) the analysis of the factors of language extinction; 4) the systematization of ecological and non-ecological elements of language systems; 5) the analysis of texts that touch upon or develop the topics of environmental protection; 6) the study of ecodiscourses, i.e. communication-related to legal norms of environmental protection, educational texts that provide eco-literacy education, etc.

Thus, the process of ecolinguistics formation is not complete, as this field of knowledge is dynamically developing, changing and responding to the changes taking place in the modern world, to the daily challenges of mankind.

Our thoughts and suggestions to linguo-ecologists

When analyzing and planning the research of the “language ecosystems”, we propose to make wider use of the theoretical provisions of synergetics – an interdisciplinary science that deals with the processes of self-organization, emergence, maintenance of stability and decay of systems of different nature (Paitgen & Richter, 1993; Hacken, 1980). We consider a system to be a structure that, through the interaction of parts, maintains its existence as a whole due to the flow of energy, matter and information. Each part of the system has a relatively independent organization and functions, but together they are united for a specific purpose and form a new–emergent quality.

If the language system is considered from the point of view of its openness and nonlinearity, it is characterized by the “philosophy of instability”, is a phenomenon of “evolving complexity” and is distinguished by the fact that it is sensitive to the present, future and past (Lukyanets et al., 2000; Prigozhin & Stengers, 1986). Such a language ecosystem becomes an object of transdisciplinary research in the fields of socioecology, cultural studies, psychogenetics, higher nervous activity, etc.

The systems approach evaluates the entire (ecosystem) according to its laws of thinking, which allows the expression of such reflections:

1) all systems are functionally analogous (according to Von Bertalanffy, 1968), so language systems are subject to the general laws and rules of building and development of systems, in particular: they cannot be imposed a way of development; there are several alternative ways of development; diversity is a creative principle; in special states of the unstable environment (bifurcation points) the actions of micro-society can influence macrosocial processes; the future state of the system (attractor) organizes, forms, changes its current state. Thus, the future determines the current state of the system. This is an argument for the necessity to choose and implement a Ukrainophile attractor in the European dimension in the conditions of historical disasters;

2) the language ecosystem of Ukraine is a subsystem within larger systems (the state, Europe, the world); therefore, it does not exist autonomously; many official and thousands of invisible creative, political, and personal connections of different strengths have been formed between its components. All complex systems have a buffer capacity of stability, which helps to counteract (resist) any changes for a long time. When implementing innovation in any terminosphere, it is advisable to take into account the so-called “feedback loop”.

For example, if linguistic ecologists introduce changes in one part of the terminosystem (for example, in scientific discourse), these changes generate waves that reach all other types of discourse (political, journalistic, Internet discourse, etc.) and change them as well. The modified waves in the feedback loop eventually return to the source part (the terminosphere of linguistic ecologists) and try to discuss the initiated changes.

Thus, when an external factor tries to introduce certain innovations in the ecosystem but does not change the traditionally established links in it, the dynamic equilibrium (homeostasis) of the system does not change for a long time. Conclusion: the network of connections of the language ecosystem should be interested in changes and self-organize along a new path.

3) in nature, more specialized forms, whose genetic reserves for further adaptation are reduced, die out faster – the rule of progressive specialization by Despereaux works (Potish, 2000; Reimers, 1994; Rudyshyn, 2013). If we metaphorically transform the rule to the native speakers in the ecosystem, then at present the possession of one language is not a sufficient condition for effective activity and successful adaptation in the European space (Ukraine is already a candidate for EU membership);

4) any model (technical device, language or educational system) is a conditional (ideal) image and by definition must have limitations. In particular, language policy is aimed at ideology and culture, which mainly requires the use of metaphors, and emotional patriotic expressions, rather than scientific knowledge. For example, in the context of Ukraine’s existential war with the “Russkiy mir”, it is inappropriate for geneticists to exhibit their “science” on forums called “Language is the DNA of the nation” and claim that language is not written in the genes (in DNA), that it is a type of social inheritance by pattern (sound and verbal). Leaving this for scientific articles in professional journals of category A and conferences of the appropriate level.

We believe that our code is the Ukrainian mental matrix, which contains folk life, language, history, culture, ethnography, art, science, views on education and upbringing of the younger generation. It gives (“encodes”) the right orientation and meaning of life. Such a matrix is a condition for the preservation of the Ukrainian language in the world of globalization, secularization and pragmatism and, at the same time, requires creative and responsible transformation for the free and harmonious development of Ukraine in the world space. The paradigm of the Ukrainian matrix is proclaimed by the words of Taras Shevchenko – “Learn from others and do not shun your own...”. Therefore, we should keep, follow and protect our matrix and then it will keep us.


An ecological term is an element of the ecological terminology system, it names a special concept and requires a clear definition. Ecology – biocentric interdisciplinary science about the relationship of organisms, their groups (populations, communities) between themselves and their habitat. Preservation of the primary scientific and natural meaning of the concepts "ecology", "ecosystem" is urgent, since the solution of ecological problems requires the definition and intensification of those areas of research where it is possible to find ways of human existence in accordance with nature.

Ecolinguistics is a new interdisciplinary field of knowledge that studies the relationship between language and the environment, based on the way people deal with the natural world under the influence of thoughts, concepts, ideologies and worldviews expressed in language.

The pragmatic in the model called “linguistic ecology” is a psycholinguistic construct that unites enthusiastic linguists and encourages them to communicate on environmental topics. We think this model uses the positive energy of emotional and cognitive perception of the words “ecology” and “ecological” as clean (without pollution), balanced, healthy and positive for human life in the environment.

We are critical of the “bilingual tradition”/biomorphic view of linguistic diversity as biological. We believe that this creates negative risks of adapting biomorphic metaphors into language policy since the enumeration, objectification and biologization of languages make them natural objects rather than cultural artefacts.

The process of formation of ecolinguistics is not complete, this field of knowledge is dynamically developing, changing and responding to the changes taking place in the globalized world. We suppose that a necessary feature of the discourse called “linguistic ecology” is its philological and ideological/cultural orientation, which makes it possible to use it in such areas:

– in the study of Ukrainian scientific terminology; in teaching practice (training courses on the theory of speech communication and pragmatics); lexicographic work (compilation of translated and explanatory environmental dictionaries; for the choice of translation strategies and tactics, taking into account the relationship between the status of environmental lexemes and the adequacy of their reproduction in texts related to environmental discourse); for writing scientific works on linguistics (terminology and terminography, etc.).

– development of soft skills in native speakers according to the “principle of complementarity” in the form of language culture, protection of linguistic traditions and language rights, national unity, patriotism and environmental values; to perform an emotional function, because, in the process of communication on environmental issues, terms and statements that are ideologically, axiologically or emotionally marked are used, which causes the transformation of human and nature values, their reorientation to intangible values, to positive or negative emotions.

The interpenetration of the terminosphere of linguistics into ecology can be compared to the horizontal transfer of genes (information), which is used by genetic engineers; in contrast to the traditional vertical transfer of conceptual and categorical apparatus within each science separately. The result of the transfer is the creation of “GMO” – linguistic ecology as a new reality; the vehicle (vector) of horizontal transfer is a person.

Linguo-ecologists metaphorically transfer the methods and terms of ecology to the language, so the expression “linguistic ecology” refers to the so-called “oxymoron” (Latin oxymoron – nonsense) – a literary and poetic technique (stylistic form) that combines opposite in content contrasting concepts and creates a semantic paradox, but together gives a new idea. Examples of oxymorons are the expressions: old New Year, ordinary miracle, dead souls, a living corpse, hot ice, optimistic tragedy, noble bandit, honest crook, end of eternity, deafening silence, and sustainable development.

As a result, wish language ecology/linguistic ecology/ecological linguistics to gain wide recognition by the world scientific community by analogy with the recognition of the term “sustainable development”, standardized in the documents and textbooks of all countries.


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