1. Introduction -- 2. Different views on grammaticalisation and its relation to word-order -- 3. Historical overview of oblique subjects in Germanic and Romance -- 4. Historical overview of stylistic fronting in Germanic and Romance -- 5. Accounting for the differences and similarities between the languages under investigation -- 6. Explaining the changes: minimalism meets von Humboldt and Meillet -- References.
Cross-situational word learning, like any statistical learning problem, involves tracking the regularities in the environment. However, the information that learners pick up from these regularities is dependent on their learning mechanism. This article investigates the role of one type of mechanism in statistical word learning: competition. Competitive mechanisms would allow learners to find the signal in noisy input and would help to explain the speed with which learners succeed in statistical learning tasks. Because cross-situational word learning provides (...) information at multiple scales—both within and across trials/situations—learners could implement competition at either or both of these scales. A series of four experiments demonstrate that cross-situational learning involves competition at both levels of scale, and that these mechanisms interact to support rapid learning. The impact of both of these mechanisms is considered from the perspective of a process-level understanding of cross-situational learning. (shrink)
Through computational modeling, here we examine whether visual and task characteristics of writing systems alone can account for lateralization differences in visual word recognition between different languages without assuming influence from left hemisphere (LH) lateralized language processes. We apply a hemispheric processing model of face recognition to visual word recognition; the model implements a theory of hemispheric asymmetry in perception that posits low spatial frequency biases in the right hemisphere and high spatial frequency (HSF) biases in the LH. (...) We show two factors that can influence lateralization: (a) Visual similarity among words: The more similar the words in the lexicon look visually, the more HSF/LH processing is required to distinguish them, and (b) Requirement to decompose words into graphemes for grapheme-phoneme mapping: Alphabetic reading (involving grapheme-phoneme conversion) requires more HSF/LH processing than logographic reading (no grapheme-phoneme mapping). These factors may explain the difference in lateralization between English and Chinese orthographic processing. (shrink)
Locke’s claim that the primary signification of (most) words is an idea, or complex of ideas, has received different interpretations. I support the majority view that Locke’s notion of primary signification can be construed in terms of linguistic meaning. But this reading has been seen as making Locke’s account vulnerable to various criticisms, of which I consider two. First, it appears to make the account vulnerable to the charge that an idea cannot play the role that a word meaning (...) should play. I argue that the role Locke actually gives to signified ideas is not susceptible to this criticism. Second, it appears to make Locke guilty of at least some degree of semantic idealism. I argue that Locke is not guilty of this and that he makes a proper distinction between the non-referential relation that holds between a word and its primary signification and the referential relation that holds between a word and things the word is used to speak about. (shrink)
A one-stop resource on the current developments in word order research, this comprehensive survey provides an up-to-date, critical overview of this widely debated topic, exploring and evaluating research carried out in four major ...
How does language (spoken or written) impact thought? One useful way to approach this important but elusive question may be to consider language itself as a cognition-enhancing animal-built structure. To take this perspective is to view language as a kind of self-constructed cognitive niche. These self-constructed cognitive niches play, I suggest, three distinct but deeply interlocking roles in human thought and reason. Working together, these three interlocking routines radically transform the human mind, and mark a genuine discontinuity in the space (...) of anitnal minds. (shrink)
Sainsbury and Tye (2011) propose that, in the case of names and other simple extensional terms, we should substitute for Frege's second level of content—for his senses—a second level of meaning vehicle—words in the language of thought. I agree. They also offer a theory of atomic concept reference—their ‘originalist’ theory—which implies that people knowing the same word have the ‘same concept’. This I reject, arguing for a symmetrical rather than an originalist theory of concept reference, claiming that individual concepts (...) are possessed only by individual people. Concepts are classified rather than identified across different people. (shrink)
What property does a word have which enables us, when we hear an appropriately produced string of words, to come to an understanding of what is being said? A natural response is to claim that a word has a meaning, and that what we understand is in part composed from the meanings of the words used. But the attempt to handle meanings directly is problematic, and various speculations point in an alternative direction. I describe one such alternative.
Semantic priming has been a focus of research in the cognitive sciences for more than 30 years and is commonly used as a tool for investigating other aspects of perception and cognition, such as word recognition, language comprehension, and knowledge representations. Semantic Priming: Perspectives from Memory and Word Recognition examines empirical and theoretical advancements in the understanding of semantic priming, providing a succinct, in-depth review of this important phenomenon, framed in terms of models of memory and models of (...)word recognition. The first section examines models of semantic priming, including spreading activation models, the verification model, compound-cue models, distributed network models, and multistage activation models (e.g. interactive-activation model). The second section examines issues and findings that have played an especially important role in testing models of priming and includes chapters on the following topics: methodological issues (e.g. counterbalancing of materials, choice of priming baselines); automatic vs. strategic priming; associative vs. "pure" semantic priming; mediated priming; long-term semantic priming; backward priming; unconscious priming; the prime-task effect; list context effects; effects of word frequency, stimulus quality, and stimulus repetition; and the cognitive neuroscience of semantic priming. The book closes with a summary and a discussion of promising new research directions. The volume will be of interest to a wide range of researchers and students in the cognitive sciences and neurosciences. (shrink)
The meanings in which the word "word" can be taken, the interpretations that the relevant meanings would necessitate of the "word-equals-world" thesis, and the extent to which Bhartṛhari can be said to be aware of or receptive to these interpretations are considered. The observation that more than one interpretation would have been acceptable to Bhartṛhari naturally leads to a discussion of his notion of truth, his perspectivism, and his understanding of the nature of philosophizing as an activity (...) in which language plays a basic role and epistemology and ontology are interdependent. The difference of Bhartṛhari's thinking from that of the Vedāntins of Śaṅkara's tradition is identified, and a brief comment on the history of vivarta and pariṇāma as philosophical terms is offered. (shrink)
According to a widespread view the lexicon is a kind of appendix to the grammar, whose function is to list what is unpredictable and irregular about the words of a language. In more recent studies it has been acquiring a rich internal organization of its own and is becoming recognized as the site of pervasive grammatical regularities. The particular approach to the lexicon that I will assume in this paper comes out of this trend, integrating several ideas from work on (...) both morphology and phonology in the seventies. I shall begin by outlining the central assumptions and their motivation, and proceed to a series of issues raised by this framework which,have to do with the proper formulation of word—formation processes. (shrink)
This volume is a collection of original contributions from outstanding scholars in linguistics, philosophy and computational linguistics exploring the relation between word meaning and human linguistic creativity. The papers present different aspects surrounding the question of what is word meaning, a problem that has been the center of heated debate in all those disciplines that directly or indirectly are concerned with the study of language and of human cognition. The discussions are centered around the newly emerging view of (...) the mental lexicon, as outlined in the Generative Lexicon theory (Pustejovsky, 1995), which proposes a unified model for defining word meaning. The individual contributors present their evidence for a generative approach as well as critical perspectives, which provides for a volume where word meaning is not viewed only from a particular angle or from a particular concern, but from a wide variety of topics, each introduced and explained by the editors. (shrink)
The structure of words is often thought to provide important evidence regarding the structure of concepts. At the same time, most contemporary linguists posit a great deal of structure in words. Such a trend makes some atomists about concepts uncomfortable. The details of linguistic methodology undermine several strategies for avoiding positing structure in words. I conclude by arguing that there is insufficient evidence to hold that word-structure bears any interesting relation to the structure of concepts.
This paper studies the doctrinal and historical relations between the augustinian theme of the inner word as it was understood in Thirteenth-century thought --especially by Thomas Aquinas -- and William of Ockham's idea of mental discourse. The differences are shown to be deeply significant and are replaced in the context of a crucial shift that occurred in the decades between Aquinas and Ockham: the shift from theology to logic as providing the main inputs and stimulations for the development, on (...) an aristotelian basis, of a radically new sort of philosophy of mind. (shrink)
This paper offers a comparative analysis of the uses and formulations of speech-act theory in Derrida's and Deleuze/Guattari's work. It begins by juxtaposing Derrida's concept/nonconcept of 'iterability' to Deleuze and Guattari's conception of the 'order-word' and then examines these theories of the speech act in terms of their implications and consequences for a politics of resistance. Whereas Deleuze and Guattari generate a detailed material stratum — an order-word plateau — for exploring the performative in socio-political contexts, Derrida attends (...) to the singular, wholly unique acts that occur when a repeatable formula such as a political declaration is uttered or otherwise takes place.The paper then concludes by drawing a tentative link between iterability and Deleuze and Guattari's notion of 'deterritorialisation' via the order-word plateau. (shrink)
Some students in the humanities take fright when introduced to the formal manipulations characteristic of elementary sentential & predicate logic. One way to lessen the pain of initiation is to start with word games, of which Lewis Carroll’s Doublets (section 1) is a familiar example. The paper presents some other games that successively introduce more of the..
How Children Learn the Meanings of Words (HCLMW) defends the theory that words are learned through sophisticated and early-emerging cognitive abilities that have evolved for other purposes; there is no dedicated mental mechanism that is special to word learning. The commentators raise a number of challenges to this theory: Does it correctly characterize the nature and development of early abilities? Does it attribute too much to children, or too little? Does it only apply to nouns, or can it also (...) explain the acquisition of words such as verbs and determiners? More general issues are discussed as well, including the role of the input, the relationship between words and concepts, and debates over nativism, adaptationism, and modularity. (shrink)
The Immanent Word establishes that the philosophical study of language inaugurated in the 1759 works of Hamann and Lessing marks a paradigm shift in modern philosophy; it analyzes the transformation of that shift in works of Herder, Kant, Fichte, Novalis and Schlegel. It contends that recent studies of early linguistic philosophy obscure the most relevant commission of its thinkers, arguing against the theological appropriation of Hamann by John Milbank; against the "expressive" appropriation of Hamann and Herder by Christina Lafont (...) and Charles Taylor; and against Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy’s uncritical championing of Schlegel’s ideological position. (shrink)
In the beginning was the word, or grunt, or groan, or signal of some sort. This, however, hardly qualifies as an information revolution, at least in any standard technological sense. Nature is replete with meaningful signs, and we must imagine that our early ancestors noticed natural patterns that helped to determine when to sow and when to reap, which animal tracks to follow, what to eat, and so forth. Spoken words at first must have been meaningful in some similar (...) sense. But in time the word became flesh (corpus) and dwelt among us, as "inscription" (literally, to put into writing) inaugurated the dawn of human history. This did not happen instantly. One place to enter the story is with clay tokens to represent trade transactions that in time became accounting tablets and, then, the world's first literature (Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, The Epic of Gilgamesh, etc.) and codes of law (The Codes of Ur-Nammu, Lipit-Ishtar, Hammurabi, and so forth.) This event happened around the north shore of the Persian Gulf sometime in the 4th millennium BCE and was enshrouded in mystery as the role of the scribe trained in the art of inscribing and deciphering signs belonged to the priest (Deibert 1997). With the sanction of religion, writing gave birth to "civility" (literally, life in the city) and defined the line between "history" and "pre-history," the latter being a term designating everything that happened before. There is little doubt that the invention of writing was significant and that it deserves recognition as the first revolution in the history of information. Life as we live it today would have been impossible otherwise. Innovations in writing technologies happened with significant effects, but at various points in the history of information, changes in technology were so dramatic that they reshaped the course of human history in radical ways. The revolution in printing is well-studied; the invention of the printing press and movable type (c.. (shrink)
Discussion of Berkeley’s theory of language has largely ignored what he says about the ‘meaning’ of a general word. Berkeley distinguishes the meaning of a general word both from the extension of the word and from what the word might suggest in the mind of the language user. D. Flage has argued that Berkeley has an ‘extensional’ theory of meaning, but this is based on passages where Berkeley does not speak of word meaning. When Berkeley (...) explicitly discusses the meaning of particular words he does so with a view to explicating the sense in which a word is to be understood. Berkeley made a series of insightful distinctions when discussing words and their use, and these distinctions are of contemporary interest. (shrink)
Wittgenstein frequently uses the word 'aspect' (Aspekt) in his writings from 1947 to 1949. There he uses the word along with aspect-seeing and aspect-change, so that readers are misled into thinking his primary concern in using the word is something like Gestalt psychology or philosophy of psychology per se. However, Wittgenstein's late treatment of aspect is only a special case of a more general problem, namely phenomenology. In the middle-period writings, the word 'aspect' refers to a (...) phenomenological object. Basically, Wittgenstein's aspect means the way an object appears to us. For him, an 'aspect' is a phenomenological object. (shrink)
ERP studies have shown modulation of activation in left frontal and posterior cortical language areas, as well as recruitment of right hemisphere homologues, based on task demands. Furthermore, blood-flow studies have demonstrated changes in the neural circuitry of word processing based on experience. The neural areas and time course of language processing are plastic depending on task demands and experience.
In studies of Indian theories of meaning it has been standard procedure to examine their relevance to the ontological issues between Brahmin realism about universals and Buddhist nominalism (or conceptualism). It is true that Kumārila makes efforts to secure the real existence of a generic property ( jāti ) denoted by a word by criticizing Dignāga, who declares that the real world consists of absolutely unique individuals ( svalakṣaṇa ). The present paper, however, concentrates on the linguistic approaches Dignāga (...) and Kumārila adopt to deny or to prove the existence of universals. It turns out that in spite of adopting contrasting approaches they equally distinguish between the semantic denotation of a word and its pragmatic reference to a thing in the physical world. From a purely semantic viewpoint, Dignāga considers the exclusion ( apoha ) of others by a word as the result of a conceptual accumulation of the sense-components accepted in the totality of worldly discourse. Among the three characteristics Dignāga held must be met by universals, Kumārila attaches special importance to their entire inherence in each individual ( pratyekaparisamāpti / pratyekasamavāya ). This is because he pragmatically pays attention to the use of a word in the discourse given in a particular context ( prakaraṇa ) by analyzing a sentence into a topic and a comment. (shrink)
This paper addresses a phenomenon in which certain word-parts can be omitted. The evidence shows that the full range of data cannot be captured by a sublexical analysis, since the phenomena can be observed both in phrasal and in lexical environments. It is argued that a form of deletion is involved, and that the phenomena—lexical or otherwise—are subject to the same phonological, semantic, and syntactic constraints. In the formalization that is proposed, all of the above constraints are cast in (...) a parallel and declarative fashion, in the framework of Head-Driven Phrase Structure Grammar (Pollard and Sag Head-driven phrase structure grammar, 1994), since the various levels of linguistic description are locally and simultaneously available. Building on recent accounts of ellipsis, this paper proposes a unified and general account of word-part ellipsis and phrasal ellipsis. (shrink)
There is evidence that children learn both proper names and count nouns from the outset of lexical development. Furthermore, children's first proper names are typically words for people, whereas their first count nouns are commonly terms for other objects, including artifacts. I argue that these facts represent a challenge for two well-known theoretical accounts of object word learning. I defend an alternative account, which credits young children with conceptual resources to acquire words for both individual objects and object categories, (...) and conceptual biases to construe some objects (notably people) as individuals in their own right and most other objects as instances of their category. (shrink)
If there is such a thing as reason, it has to be universal - it must work the same way for everyone. Reason must reflect objective principles whose validity is independent of our point of view. To reason is to think systematically in ways that anyone looking on ought to be able to recognize as correct. But this generality of reason is what relativists and subjectivists deny in ever-increasing numbers. And such subjectivism is not just an inconsequential intellectual flourish or (...) badge of theoretical chic. It is exploited to deflect argument and to belittle the pretensions of the arguments of others. The continuing spread of this relativistic way of thinking threatens to make public discourse increasingly difficult and to exacerbate the deep divisions of our society. -/- In The Last Word, Thomas Nagel, one of the most influential philosophers writing in English, presents a sustained defence of reason against the attacks of subjectivism, delivering systematic rebuttals of relativistic claims with respect to language, logic, science, and ethics. His work sets a new standard in the debate on this crucially important question and should generate intense interest both within and outside the philosophical community. (shrink)
Bloom's book can be viewed as a long argument for an anti-Whorfian conclusion. According to Bloom, word learning is usually a process of mapping new words to pre-existing concepts. But an exception to this generalization – the learning of words from linguistic context – poses a problem for Bloom's anti-Whorfian argument.
At 14 months, children appear to struggle to apply their fairly well-developed speech perception abilities to learning similar sounding words (e.g., bih/dih; Stager & Werker, 1997). However, variability in nonphonetic aspects of the training stimuli seems to aid word learning at this age. Extant theories of early word learning cannot account for this benefit of variability. We offer a simple explanation for this range of effects based on associative learning. Simulations suggest that if infants encode both noncontrastive information (...) (e.g., cues to speaker voice) and meaningful linguistic cues (e.g., place of articulation or voicing), then associative learning mechanisms predict these variability effects in early word learning. Crucially, this means that despite the importance of task variables in predicting performance, this body of work shows that phonological categories are still developing at this age, and that the structure of noninformative cues has critical influences on word learning abilities. (shrink)
Word problems are notoriously difficult to solve. We suggest that much of the difficulty children experience with word problems can be attributed to difficulty in comprehending abstract or ambiguous language. We tested this hypothesis by (1) requiring children to recall problems either before or after solving them, (2) requiring them to generate f'mal questions to incomplete word problems, and (3) modeling performance pattems using a computer simulation. Solution performance was found to be systematically related to recall and (...) question generation performance. Correct solutions were associated with accurate recall of the problem structure and with appropriate question generation. Solution "errors" were found to be correct solutions to miscomprehended problems. Word problems that contained abstract or ambiguous language tended to be miscomprehended more often than those using simpler language, and there was a great deal of systematicity in the way these problems were miscomprehended. Solution error pattems were successfully simulated by manipulating a computer model’s language comprehension strategies, as opposed to its knowledge of logical set relations. o was.. (shrink)
Almost all words are the names of categories. We can learn most of our words (and hence our categories) from dictionary definitions, but not all of them. Some have to be learned from direct experience. To understand a word from its definition we need to already understand the words used in the definition. This is the “Symbol Grounding Problem” . How many words (and which ones) do we need to ground directly in sensorimotor experience in order to be able (...) to learn all other words via definition alone? The answer may shed some light both on the developmental origin of word meanings and on the evolutionary origin and adaptive value of language. We used an algorithm to reduce each of our dictionaries (Longmans LDOCE, Cambridge CIDE and WordNet) to its “grounding kernel” (“Kernel”) (which turned out to be about 10% of the dictionary) by systematically eliminating.. (shrink)
Ethical concerns of Internet users continue to rise. Accordingly, several scholars have called for systematic empirical research to address these issues. This study examines the conceptualization and measurement of consumers' perceptions regarding the ethics of online retailers (CPEOR). Also, this research represents a first step into the analysis of the relationship between CPEOR, consumers' general Internet expertise and reported positive word of mouth (WOM). Results, from a convenience sample of 357 online shoppers, suggest that CPEOR can be operationalized as (...) a second-order construct composed of four dimensions: security, privacy, fulfillment, and non-deception. Our findings also indicate that consumers' general Internet expertise significantly improves CPEOR and CPEOR are strongly predictive of consumers' WOM. Managerial and research implications are offered. (shrink)
This paper proposes a coevolutionary scenario on the origins of compositionality and word order regularity in human language, and illustrates it using a multi-agent, behavioral model. The model traces a `bottom-up' process of syntactic development; artificial agents, by iterating local orders among lexical items, gradually build up basic constituent word order(s) in sentences. These results show that structural features of language (e.g. syntactic categories and word orders) could have coevolved with lexical items, as a consequence of general (...) learning mechanisms (e.g. pattern extraction and sequential learning) initially not language-specific. Keywords: Computer simulation; language origin; coevolution; compositionality; word order regularity. (shrink)
It has been recently argued that some machine learning techniques known as Kernel methods could be relevant for capturing cognitive and neural mechanisms (Jäkel, Schölkopf, & Wichmann, 2009). We point out that ‘‘String kernels,’’ initially designed for protein function prediction and spam detection, are virtually identical to one contending proposal for how the brain encodes orthographic information during reading. We suggest some reasons for this connection and we derive new ideas for visual word recognition that are successfully put to (...) the test. We argue that the versatility and performance of String kernels makes a compelling case for their implementation in the brain. (shrink)
Considerations from an interaction-based approach to the evolution of language and the role of word-sentences therein show that the object-attribute ontology is arrived at a much later stage. Therefore, Hurford's arguments, by focusing on the predicate-argument structure, seem to miss out on most of the interesting aspects of the early stages in language evolution.
Sanskrit nominal compounds, highly productive at all stages of the language, are normally formed by combining bare nominal stems (sometimes with special stem-forming endings) into a compound stem, which bears exactly one lexical accent. A class of Vedic dvandva compounds (also known as copulative compounds, co-ordinating compounds, or co-compounds) diverge from this pattern in that each of their constituents has a separate word accent and what looks like a dual case ending.1 They are invariably definite, and refer to conventionally (...) associated pairs of divine or human beings, or personified natural and ritual objects. (shrink)
Learning depends on attention. The processes that cue attention in the moment dynamically integrate learned regularities and immediate contextual cues. This paper reviews the extensive literature on cued attention and attentional learning in the adult literature and proposes that these fundamental processes are likely significant mechanisms of change in cognitive development. The value of this idea is illustrated using phenomena in children's novel word learning.
The word processor is a stupid and grossly inefficient tool for preparing text for communication with others. That is the claim I shall defend below. It will probably strike you as bizarre at first sight. If I am against word processors, what do I propose: that we write in longhand, or use a mechanical typewriter? No. While there are things to be said in favor of these modes of text preparation I take it for granted that most readers (...) of this essay will do most of their writing using a computer, as I do. My claim is that there are much better ways of preparing text, using a computer, than the word processor. (shrink)
Previous research on lexical development has aimed to identify the factors that enable accurate initial word-referent mappings based on the assumption that the accuracy of initial word-referent associations is critical for word learning. The present study challenges this assumption. Adult English speakers learned an artificial language within a cross-situational learning paradigm. Visual fixation data were used to assess the direction of visual attention. Participants whose longest fixations in the initial trials fell more often on distracter images performed (...) significantly better at test than participants whose longest fixations fell more often on referent images. Thus, inaccurate initial word-referent mappings may actually benefit learning. (shrink)
Bloom's theory of word learning has difficulty accounting for children's verb acquisition. There is no predominant preverbal event concept, akin to the preverbal object concept, to direct children's early event-verb mappings. Children may take advantage of grammatical and linguistic information in verb acquisition earlier than Bloom allows. A distinction between lexical and grammatical learning is difficult to maintain for verb acquisition.
Two experiments were conducted to investigate children’s interpretations of standard arithmetic word problems and the factors that influence their interpretations. In Experiment 1, children were required to solve a series of problems and then to draw and select pictures that represented the problems’ structures. Solution performance was found to vary systematically with the nature of the representations drawn and chosen. The crucial determinant of solution success was the interpretation a child assigned to certain phrases used in the problems. In (...) Experiment 2, solution and drawing accuracy were found to be significantly improved by rewording problems to avoid ambiguous linguistic forms. Together, these results imply that (a) word-problem solution errors are caused by misinterpretations of certain verbal expressions commonly used in problem texts, and (b) these misinterpretations are the result of missing or inadequate mappings of these verbal expressions to partwhole knowledge. (shrink)
Bloom construes early word learning as a mapping task in which the word maps onto a psychological entity that is a concept. His test for successful mapping of referential terms is getting their extensions right; a concept's role is to pick out the right category of things in order for the sole business of the language, communication, to proceed. The local linguistic context generally provides only the language- specific word to be mapped onto the pre- and non-linguistic (...) concept, which plays much the same role as Locke's "ideas" did (Locke 1690), minus his tabula rasa. To solve the mapping problem, the child uses multiple strategies, of which the central one is discerning the intentions of speakers. In the basket of competencies available to the child, essentialism, the assumption that many individuals are referred to by the same word because of a shared hidden essence, is also a significant asset. Drawing upon a wealth of experimental results, Bloom applies this explanation to defeat the alternative explanations of empiricist associationism and of specifically linguistic constraints. (shrink)
Bloom provides a masterful synthesis of recent advances in word-learning, placing them within the framework of abiding theoretical issues. I will augment and challenge his approach by underscoring the significance of word extension for questions concerning (a) the origin and evolution of infants' expectations, and (b) domain-specificity in word-learning.
The central claim of this paper is that surface-faithful word-by-word update is feasible and desirable, even in languages where word order is supposedly free. As a first step, in sections 1 and 2, I review an argument from Bittner 2001a that semantic composition is not a static process, as in PTQ, but rather a species of anaphoric bridging. But in that case the context-setting role of word order should extend from cross-sentential discourse anaphora to sentence-internal anaphoric (...) composition. This can be spelled out as a two-part hypothesis. First, in all languages anaphoric composition derives incremental updates based on the topological order rather than the syntactic hierarchy. And secondly, rigid vs. free word order is simply rigid vs. free mapping from syntax to topology. To formalize this hypothesis, I first present, in section 3, Sevensorted Logic of Change with Centering. This makes it possible, in section 4, to articulate a system of constraints on basic meanings in Kalaallisut — a polysynthetic language with free word order, ideally suited to test the hypothesis of incremental update. The key assumptions about topology as the input to anaphoric composition are spelled out in section 5, which concludes the development of a general formal framework. This formal framework then serves, in sections 6 through 8, t o explicate topologically based incremental updates for increasingly more complex samples of an actual Kalaallisut text. This reveals ubiquitous patterns of prominence-guided anaphora, in all semantic domains, t o increasingly more complex types of discourse referents. These anaphoric patterns show that the context-setting role of word order indeed does extend from discourse to word-to-word anaphora. And this, in turn, strongly supports the hypothesis of topologically based anaphoric composition. Finally, in section 9 I adduce evidence from English that this hypothesis also holds for languages with rigid word order, albeit the fixed mapping keeps the topology close to the syntax. I conclude that both free and rigid word orders receive a natural account if semantic composition is viewed as topologically based anaphoric bridging.. (shrink)
This review proposes that Bloom's linkage of word meaning with more general cognitive capacities could be extended through examination of the social contexts in which children learn. Specifically, the child's developing theory of mind can be viewed as part of the process by which children learn word meanings through engagement in social interactions that facilitate both language and strategic behaviours.
Bloom's eloquent and comprehensive treatment of early word learning holds that social intention is foundational for language development. While we generally support his thesis, we call into question two of his proposals: (1) that attention to social information in the environment implies social intent, and (2) that infants are sensitive to social intent at the very beginnings of word learning.
Sound-symbolism is the nonarbitrary link between the sound and meaning of a word. Japanese-speaking children performed better in a verb generalization task when they were taught novel sound-symbolic verbs, created based on existing Japanese sound-symbolic words, than novel nonsound-symbolic verbs (Imai, Kita, Nagumo, & Okada, 2008). A question remained as to whether the Japanese children had picked up regularities in the Japanese sound-symbolic lexicon or were sensitive to universal sound-symbolism. The present study aimed to provide support for the latter. (...) In a verb generalization task, English-speaking 3-year-olds were taught novel sound-symbolic verbs, created based on Japanese sound-symbolism, or novel nonsound-symbolic verbs. English-speaking children performed better with the sound-symbolic verbs, just like Japanese-speaking children. We concluded that children are sensitive to universal sound-symbolism and can utilize it in word learning and generalization, regardless of their native language. (shrink)
Word recognition performance varies systematically as a function of where the eyes fixate in the word. Performance is maximal with the eye slightly left of the center of the word, and decreases drastically to both sides of this 'Optimal Viewing Position'. While manipulations of lexical factors have only marginal effects on this phenomenon, previous studies have pointed to a relation between the viewing position effect and letter legibility: When letter legibility drops, the viewing position effect becomes more (...) exaggerated. To further investigate this phenomenon, we improved letter legibility by magnifying letter size in a way that was proportional to the.. (shrink)
This article examines the relation between the biblical Word and visuality in one of the surviving early thirteenth century manuscripts of the Bible moraliseé, the codex Vindobonensis 2554 today housed in Vienna. The analysis focuses specifically on the relations between word and visuality. The goal is to investigate the vitality that may set the Word into motion. It is argued that the matrix of textual visuality in the Vienna codex 2554 is used as an effective tool that (...) adds vitality to the biblical passages while simultaneously creating a firm hierarchy of representation and resemblances that enforces not only certain norms but also a particular world order in 13th century French society. (shrink)
The paper discusses how abduction relates tochildren's early acquisition of words, and has three sections: (a) a brief description of Peirce's notion of abduction; (b) a developmentof a hypothesis for the content-related symbolic functioning of words; and (c)arguments that children's knowledge of such functioning involves two kinds of abduction. In (b), children's knowledge of the content-related symbolic functioning of words is argued to consist in practical knowledge ofhow to use words to direct attention to kindsof things. To acquire such knowledge, (...) a childmust form a practical causal hypothesis aboutthe kind of thing to which a word directs attention. I argue that forming such ahypothesis involves abduction. On the basis of empirical work of several developmentalists, I also argue that children use abduction notmerely in forming practical hypotheses for the functioning of their earliest words, but also in forming theoretical hypotheses about core(as contrasted perceptual and functional)features of natural and artificial kinds. (shrink)
If, as Augustine taught, the rational powers of the mind are made in the image of the Trinity, it stands to reason that there would be discernible parallels between trinitarian relations and epistemological relations. According to Bonaventure, the Trinity in general, and the Word in particular, provides the model and guarantor for human knowledge. Since knowledge is inherently relational, the basic relations of causality, similitude, and assimilation and expression that Bonaventure finds operative within the Trinity are also key elements (...) of human knowledge. The human mind most images the Trinity when it operates according to exemplar causality, expressing its habitual knowledge as a pattern according to which it fashions objects in the world. I suggest that no philosophical description of human cognition can be successful without accounting for the role that causality, similitude, and expression play in human knowledge. (shrink)
The roles of linguistic, cognitive, and social-pragmatic processes in word learning are well established. If statistical mechanisms also contribute to word learning, they must interact with these processes; however, there exists little evidence for such mechanistic synergy. Adults use co-occurrence statistics to encode speech–object pairings with detailed sensitivity in stochastic learning environments (Vouloumanos, 2008). Here, we replicate this statistical work with nonspeech sounds and compare the results with the previous speech studies to examine whether exclusion constraints contribute equally (...) to the statistical learning of speech–object and nonspeech–object associations. In environments in which performance could benefit from exclusion, we find a learning advantage for speech over nonspeech, revealing an interaction between statistical and exclusion processes in associative word learning. (shrink)
Hans-Georg Gadamer’s appropriation of Augustine’s analogy of the inner word, the verbum interius, is by now a well-known theme in philosophical hermeneutics. But what has received scarcely any attention is the Thomist side of Gadamer’s appropriation. Two thirds of Gadamer’s analysis of the verbum interius in his magnum opus, Truth and Method, is devoted to Aquinas, who employs Augustine’s verbum in developing a theory of the mind. In particular, Gadamer gives great emphasis to the Thomist insistence on the “non-reflective” (...) character of the inner word. Both Gadamer and Aquinas in their different historical contexts needed to combat subjectivism, which is what Aquinas is doing by insisting on the non-reflective character of the inner word. In this paper I examine this point ofconvergence to understand why their anti-subjectivism created such a deep common accord, and how this relates their projects to each other. How is the Scholastic involvement of the mind in the world analogous to the circular relation between language and understanding in hermeneutics, and where is the diff erence? (shrink)
There are two different ways of defining complexity.1) Traditionally, the word "complexity" is considered synonymous to "organization". The transformation of species is an expression of victory against random indifferencism.
Pulvermüller's Hebbian model implies that an impairment in the word form system will affect phonological articulation and phonological comprehension, because there is only a single representation. Clinical evidence from patients with word-form deafness demonstrates a dissociation between input and output phonologies. These data suggest that auditory comprehension and articulatory production depend on discrete phonological representations localized in different cortical networks.
In reply to Wierzbicka's advocacy of semantic primitives we argue that talk of the semantic primitives (like to see) repeats the fallacies addressed in the target article at a higher level. In reply to Malcolm's plea for a Wittgensteinian grammar of colour words, we argue that he uses words like “we” and “us” too easily, falling into the trap of “silly relativism.” In reply to McManus's science of word counts, we reiterate the nineteenth-century criticism that this method is (...) based on an illegitimate application of seemingly rigorous statistical methods. (shrink)
Recent research has demonstrated that word learners can determine word-referent mappings by tracking co-occurrences across multiple ambiguous naming events. The current study addresses the mechanisms underlying this capacity to learn words cross-situationally. This replication and extension of Yu and Smith (2007) investigates the factors influencing both successful cross-situational word learning and mis-mappings. Item analysis and error patterns revealed that the co-occurrence structure of the learning environment as well as the context of the testing environment jointly affected learning (...) across observations. Learners also adopted an exclusion strategy, which contributed conjointly with statistical tracking to performance. Implications for our understanding of the processes underlying cross-situational word learning are discussed. (shrink)
In order to account for how children can generalize words beyond a very limited set of labeled examples, Bloom's proposal of word learning requires two extensions: a better understanding of the “general learning and memory abilities” involved, and a principled framework for integrating multiple conflicting constraints on word meaning. We propose a framework based on Bayesian statistical inference that meets both of those needs.
Words are the essence of communication: They are the building blocks of any language. Learning the meaning of words is thus one of the most important aspects of language acquisition: Children must first learn words before they can combine them into complex utterances. Many theories have been developed to explain the impressive efficiency of young children in acquiring the vocabulary of their language, as well as the developmental patterns observed in the course of lexical acquisition. A major source of disagreement (...) among the different theories is whether children are equipped with special mechanisms and biases for word learning, or their general cognitive abilities are adequate for the task. We present a novel computational model of early word learning to shed light on the mechanisms that might be at work in this process. The model learns word meanings as probabilistic associations between words and semantic elements, using an incremental and probabilistic learning mechanism, and drawing only on general cognitive abilities. The results presented here demonstrate that much about word meanings can be learned from naturally occurring child-directed utterances (paired with meaning representations), without using any special biases or constraints, and without any explicit developmental changes in the underlying learning mechanism. Furthermore, our model provides explanations for the occasionally contradictory child experimental data, and offers predictions for the behavior of young word learners in novel situations. (shrink)
Dutch allows for variation as to whether the first position in the sentence is occupied by the subject or by some other constituent, such as the direct object. In particular situations, however, this commonly observed variation in word order is ‘frozen’ and only the subject appears in first position. We hypothesize that this partial freezing of word order in Dutch can be explained from the dependence of the speaker’s choice of word order on the hearer’s interpretation of (...) this word order. A formal model of this interaction between the speaker’s perspective and the hearer’s perspective is presented in terms of bidirectional Optimality Theory. Empirical predictions of this model regarding the interaction between word order and definiteness are confirmed by a quantitative corpus study. (shrink)
In this article, we develop a hierarchical Bayesian model of learning in a general type of artificial language-learning experiment in which learners are exposed to a mixture of grammars representing the variation present in real learners’ input, particularly at times of language change. The modeling goal is to formalize and quantify hypothesized learning biases. The test case is an experiment (Culbertson, Smolensky, & Legendre, 2012) targeting the learning of word-order patterns in the nominal domain. The model identifies internal biases (...) of the experimental participants, providing evidence that learners impose (possibly arbitrary) properties on the grammars they learn, potentially resulting in the cross-linguistic regularities known as typological universals. Learners exposed to mixtures of artificial grammars tended to shift those mixtures in certain ways rather than others; the model reveals how learners’ inferences are systematically affected by specific prior biases. These biases are in line with a typological generalization—Greenberg's Universal 18—which bans a particular word-order pattern relating nouns, adjectives, and numerals. (shrink)
As philosophers we look-through a phenomenon and we see as it appears. The philosopher feels the sensation of dissatisfaction and lives in revolt against an instinctive dissatisfaction with the language. We see as the words are played, because they are source of confusion. He searches the liberating word, which liberates us from dissatisfaction or mental cramps: it subverts an idea, renews a thought, creates new knowledge and opens to the difference. The choice of words, based on the listening to (...) the words, is an aesthetic analyse, in the sense that it is a pursuit of pleasure and an avoidance of pain. (shrink)
Pulvermüller traces the differences in brain activity associated with function and content words. The model considers words displayed primarily in isolation. Research on letter detection suggests that what distinguishes function from content words are their roles in text. Hence a model that fails to consider context effects on the processing of words provides an insufficient accounting of word representation in the brain.
The neural substrates of context effects in word perception are still largely unclear. Interhemispheric priming phenomena in word recognition, typically observed in normal subjects, are absent in commissurotomized patients. This suggests that callosal fibers may provide contextual integration. In addition, certain characteristics of human frontal cortical fields subserving sensorimotor learning, as investigated by positron emission tomography, provide evidence for contextual integration not confined to the visual system. This supports the notion of common aspects of cortical computations in different (...) cerebral areas. (shrink)
The hypothesis that perceptual mechanisms could have more representational and logical power than usually assumed is interesting and provocative, especially with regard to brain evolution. However, the importance of embodiment and grounding is exaggerated, and the implication that there is no highly abstract representation at all, and that human-like knowledge cannot be learned or represented without human bodies, is very doubtful. A machine-learning model, Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) that closely mimics human word and passage meaning relations is offered as (...) a counterexample. (shrink)
What is form? Why does form matter? In this imaginative and ambitious study, Angela Leighton assesses not only the legacy of Victorian aestheticism, and its richly resourceful keyword, 'form', but also the very nature of the literary. She shows how writers, for two centuries and more, have returned to the idea of form as something which contains the secret of art itself. She tracks the development of the word from the Romantics to contemporary poets, and offers close readings of, (...) among others, Tennyson, Pater, Woolf, Yeats, Stevens, and Plath, to show how form has provided the single most important way of accounting for the movements of literary language itself. She investigates, for instance, the old debate of form and content, of form as music or sound-shape, as the ghostly dynamic and dynamics of a text, as well as its long association with the aestheticist principle of being 'for nothing'. In a wide-ranging and inventive argument, she suggests that form is the key to the pleasure of the literary text, and that that pleasure is part of what literary criticism itself needs to answer and convey. (shrink)
Pulvermüller's account of lexical representation has implications for visual word recognition, given the claim we make that a foveally presented word is precisely split and contralaterally projected to the two hemispheres, and that this splitting conditions the whole process of visual word recognition. This elaboration of Pulvermüller's account raises issues of hemispheric differences and collaboration.
Three experiments examined contributions of study phase awareness of word identity to subsequent word-identification priming by manipulating visual attention to words at study. In Experiment 1, word-identification priming was reduced for ignored relative to attended words, even though ignored words were identified sufficiently to produce negative priming in the study phase. Word-identification priming was also reduced after color naming relative to emotional valence rating (Experiment 2) or word reading (Experiment 3), even though an effect of (...) emotional valence upon color naming (Experiment 2) indicated that words were identified at study. Thus, word-identification priming was reduced even when word identification occurred at study. Word-identification priming may depend on awareness of word identity at the time of study. (shrink)
Computational models such as E-Z Reader and SWIFT are ideal theoretical tools to test quantitatively our current understanding of eye-movement control in reading. Here we present a mathematical analysis of word skipping in the E-Z Reader model by semianalytic methods, to highlight the differences in current modeling approaches. In E-Z Reader, the word identification system must outperform the oculomotor system to induce word skipping. In SWIFT, there is competition among words to be selected as a saccade target. (...) We conclude that it is the question of competitors in the “game” of word skipping that must be solved in eye movement research. (shrink)
It has been well documented how language-specific cues may be used for word segmentation. Here, we investigate what role a language-independent phonological universal, the sonority sequencing principle (SSP), may also play. Participants were presented with an unsegmented speech stream with non-English word onsets that juxtaposed adherence to the SSP with transitional probabilities. Participants favored using the SSP in assessing word-hood, suggesting that the SSP represents a potentially powerful cue for word segmentation. To ensure the SSP influenced (...) the segmentation process (i.e., during learning), we presented two additional groups of participants with either (a) no exposure to the stimuli prior to testing or (b) the same stimuli with pauses marking word breaks. The SSP did not influence test performance in either case, suggesting that the SSP is important for word segmentation during the learning process itself. Moreover, the fact that SSP-independent segmentation of the stimulus occurred (in the latter control condition) suggests that universals are best understood as biases rather than immutable constraints on learning. (shrink)
Any complete theory of lexical access in production must address how words are produced in prosodic contexts. Levelt, Roelofs & Meyer make some progress on this point: for example, they discuss resyllabification in multiword utterances. I present work demonstrating that word articulation takes into account overall prosodic context. This research supports Levelt et al.'s hypothesized separation between metrical and segmental information.
We present a Chinese word segmentation system submitted to the closed track of Sighan bakeoff 2005. Our segmenter was built using a conditional random field sequence model that provides a framework to use a large number of linguistic features such as character identity, morphological and character reduplication features. Because our morphological features were extracted from the training corpora automatically, our system was not biased toward any particular variety of Mandarin. Thus, our system does not overfit the variety of Mandarin (...) most familiar to the system's designers. Our final system achieved a F-score of.. (shrink)
Many NLP tasks rely on accurately estimating word dependency probabilities P(w1|w2), where the words w1 and w2 have a particular relationship (such as verb-object). Because of the sparseness of counts of such dependencies, smoothing and the ability to use multiple sources of knowledge are important challenges. For example, if the probability P(N |V ) of noun N being the subject of verb V is high, and V takes similar objects to V , and V is synonymous to V , (...) then we want to conclude that P(N |V ) should also be reasonably high—even when those words did not cooccur in the training data. (shrink)
This discussion argues that for many word meanings, the child has to assemble a new category, using relatively slow information-sifting processes. This does not cause high semantic errors, because children probably hold off using a word until much such sifting has occurred, rather than producing the new word as soon as they have any information on it.
We propose that Bloom's focus on cognitive factors involved in word learning still lacks a broader perspective. We emphasize the crucial relevance of working memory in learning elements of language. Specifically, we demonstrate through our data that in impaired populations knowledge of some linguistic elements can be dissociated according to the subcomponent of working memory (visual or verbal) involved in a task. Further, although Bloom's concentration on theory of mind as a precondition for word learning is certainly correct, (...) theory of mind being a necessary condition does not make it a sufficient one. On the basis of our studies we point out the importance of a theory of mind related goal preference in acquiring spatial language. In general, we claim that more specific cognitive preferences and constraints should be outlined in detail for the preconditions of acquiring linguistic elements. (shrink)
In this paper I investigate how works of fine art differ from products of craft. I argue that historical and institutional definitions are incomplete becausethey fail to explain what is common to everything we call art. I then consider the way in which Francis J. Kovach and Jacques Maritain define art. I argue thatKovach’s four-fold division fails on logical grounds. Maritain’s division, however, makes the distinction between fine and useful art a matter of degree, not a division into separate species. (...) This does reflect our use of the word art, and means that, when we call something a work of fine art, we are not designating it as part of a species. Rather we signify that it possesses a particular attribute which, in some way, belongs to every product of human making, but is more clearly present, or more attended to, in works of fine art. (shrink)
The paper deals with the meaning of the word ‘variable’ as used by various authors in various disciplines. In the first part of his article the author explains the synonyms used for this word such as indefinite numbers, mappings or concepts. He further discusses the meaning of variables and unknowns as applied in modern logic and traditional mathematics. In economic models the variable is inseparably linked to the economic quantity by which it is characterized and interpreted. Distinctions are (...) made between endogenous and exogenous variables and between a variable and its time path. (shrink)
The Hebbian view of word representation is challenged by findings of task (level of processing)-dependent, event-related potential patterns that do not support the notion of a fixed set of neurons representing a given word. With cross-language phonological reliability encoding more asymmetrical left hemisphere activity is evoked than with word comprehension. This suggests a dynamical view of the brain as a self-organizing, connectivity-adjusting system.
On June 24th, 407, Augustine was in Carthage and was asked by his friend Aurelius to preach that day, the feast of the birth of John the Baptist. Drawing on the Gospel reading, he contrasted John as “Voice” with Christ as “Word” and meditated at length on the nature of speech, preaching, and conversion (Sermo 293A =Dolbeau 3). I draw on the sermons discovered by François Dolbeau to explore what they say about Augustine’s catechumenate and about him as a (...) teacher of catechumens. This supplements my book, Augustine and the Catechumenate, published before the Dolbeau sermons became fully available. (shrink)
A central component in the E-Z Reader model is a two-stage word processing mechanism made responsible for both the triggering of eye movements and sequential shifts of attention. We point to problems with both the verbal description of this mechanism and its computational implementation in the simulation. As an alternative, we consider the use of a connectionist processing module in combination with a more indirect form of cognitive eye-movement control.