Ashot S. Abrahamyan

Key words – sentence, utterance, reality, representation, situation, image, intonationality, referentiality, predicationality, contоur, perspective, index, symbol, icon, diagram.

Speech is the process of utterance production. The sentence, the linguistic basis of speech utterance, includes other linguistic units: sounds, morphemes, words. When they appear in the capacity of sentence components, these units, being the primary carriers of fundamental language processes, that is, phonation, designation and structuration, not only preserve their main properties, but also pass them on to the sentence in which these properties are revealed not through simple repetition, but through absolutely new embodiments, inherent only to sentence. Here the sound combination acquires intonation, referential intention is added to the signification, and the structure becomes predicational (including both grammatical and communicative predications). Intonationality, referentiality and predicationality are most important sentence characteristics and necessary conditions for its formation. Three main aspects of the language are supplemented with them in the sentence: expression – with intonationality, contents – with referentiality, structure – with predicationality. Together they form a joint basis for the transfer from a linguistic unit to its speech usage.

By analogy with the intonational contour of the sentence it is also possible to speak on its referential contour (idea of possible referential scope) and predicational contour (flexible hierarchic combinations of deep and surface predications). Prior to speech realization and still in its “expectation”, intonational, referential and predicational contours exist as generalized features of potential utterances and remain in the sphere of virtuality. For them realization is merely a perspective. Thereby they present themselves as intonational perspective, referential perspective and predicational perspective of the sentence. Actualization of these perspectives takes place through interrelated and simultaneous processes of intonating, referring and predicating.

The word, morpheme and sound pass also their semiotic characteristics on to the sentence. The indexical aspect of the sound, the symbolic aspect of the morpheme, the iconic aspect of the word have twofold manifestations: as features of sentence components and as features of the sentence itself. Indexicality, symbolicity and diagramic iconicity are combined in the sentence, this combination being equal, without the dominance of one over the others. That is the very peculiarity of sentence as a linguistic sign. On these grounds the sentence-utterance can be characterized as an indexical-symbolic-iconic sign.

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