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The article regards the problem of speech genre’s revelation in the mind of language speaker. In this respect, it proposes the complex approach to the investigation of speech genres which relies on the use of various sources of material including the data of associative experiment presented in the associative dictionary. The value of associative data is fully discussed in relation with such problems as the acquisition of speech genres by language speaker and their actual range in what they call “the genre competence”; it is also considered to be relevant to the problem of speech genre name. The authors prove the effectiveness of method by which the stimuli evoking the certain reactions are analysed in the investigation of polysemous words denoting speech genres in one of their senses. Based on the analysis of verbal associations for such words as “ssora” (“a row, quarrel”), “otvet” (“an answer”), “sovet” (“an advice”) some essential conclusions can be drawn. Firstly, it can be established if a certain name is relevant for language speaker as a name of speech genre. Secondly, we may find in what the representation of structure of the studied polysemous words in the dictionary differs from that constructed on the basis of the associations of speakers. These conclusions may lead to the further statements on the true relations of such phenomena as speech event, speech act, speech action and speech genre.
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