Verbal Representation of The Concept “Sacrament” in Students’ Linguistic Consciousness

Keywords: concept, free association test, sacrament, religious discourse, students.


Objective. The aim of this research is psycholinguistic analysis verbal representation of the concept "sacrament" in students' linguistic consciousness.

Materials & Methods.  We used free WAT (word association test) for psycholinguistic analysis. The respondents have been received a questionnaire with ten words-stimuli (related to religious discourse: clergyman, priest, theologian, church, religion, preaching, sacrament, faith, sin, prayer). In this article, we only analyzed associations for “sacrament”. The sample consisted of 246 students (biologists, psychologists and publishers) from Lesya Ukrainka Eastern European National University.

Results. As a result of the free WAT, 277 responses to the stimulus word “sacrament” were, among them 131 different associations. Among the most frequent responses were “confession”, “baptism”, “communion”, “church wedding” and “mystery”. In general, respondents often associate the sacraments with one of the traditional church rites or with their mysterious or sacramental content. We analyzed the grammar and logical characteristics of the obtained associations. It has been shown that central paradigmatic reactions to the stimulus word “sacrament” predominate. The thematic features of the associations to “sacrament” have been analyzed. Seven different thematic groups have been identified: church rite, mystery, sacred, innermost, purgation, emotional experience, organization. The most numerous thematic group is “church rites”. The least numerous thematic group is “organization”. Cluster analysis revealed that the verbalized concept of “sacrament” is represented by two semantic groups of associations: “church rite” and “secret – organization”.

Conclusions. Students view sacrament on two sides. On the one hand, as a ritual (confession, baptism) and its peripheral components (prayer, icon). On the other hand, they also try to comprehend the sacred content of the sacraments (through the prism of faith or emotional experience). An attempt to verbalize concept of “sacrament” is carried out through the use of metaphors. It is demonstrating the faith of young people in the supernatural, miraculous and sacred nature of the sacraments.


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How to Cite
Kostruba, N., & Virna, Z. (2020). Verbal Representation of The Concept “Sacrament” in Students’ Linguistic Consciousness. PSYCHOLINGUISTICS, 28(1), 149-167.