Authors
Alexis Wellwood
University of Southern California
Christopher A. Vogel
Shandong University
Abstract
Questions about the nature of the relationship between language and extralinguistic cognition are old, but only recently has a new view emerged that allows for the systematic investigation of claims about linguistic structure, based on how it is understood or utilized outside of the language system. Our paper represents a case study for this interaction in the domain of event semantics. We adopt a transparency thesis about the relationship between linguistic structure and extralinguistic cognition, investigating whether different lexico-syntactic structures can differentially recruit the visual causal percept. A prominent analysis of causative verbs like move suggests reference to two distinct events and a causal relationship between them, whereas non-causative verbs like push do not so refer. In our study, we present English speakers with simple scenes that either do or do not support the perception of a causal link, and manipulate a one-sentence instruction for the evaluation of the scene. Preliminary results suggest that competent speakers of English are more likely to judge causative constructions than non-causative constructions as true of a scene where causal features are present in the scene. Implications for a new approach to the investigation of linguistic meanings and future directions are discussed.
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DOI 10.4148/1944-3676.1092
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References found in this work BETA

The Logical Form of Action Sentences.Donald Davidson - 1967 - In Nicholas Rescher (ed.), The Logic of Decision and Action. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 81--95.
Perceptual Causality and Animacy.Brian J. Scholl & Patrice D. Tremoulet - 2000 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 4 (8):299-309.
Events and Semantic Architecture.Paul M. Pietroski - 2004 - Oxford University Press.
On Semantics.James Higginbotham - 1985 - Linguistic Inquiry 16:547--593.

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Citations of this work BETA

Lexical Flexibility, Natural Language, and Ontology.Christopher A. Vogel - 2016 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 16 (1):1-44.

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