Concept composition during language processing

Two case studies and a model

Authored by: Maria M. Piñango

The Routledge Handbook of Chinese Applied Linguistics

Print publication date:  March  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138650732
eBook ISBN: 9781315625157
Adobe ISBN:


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The multidimensional conceptual space (MdS) model argues (1) that lexicalized meaning is a “packaged” conceptual structure from which it obtains its compositional principles, and (2) that the connection between lexicalized meaning and its conceptual substrate is actively engaged as comprehension unfolds. This chapter discusses two test cases, aspectual predicate composition and metonymy composition, known to be computationally taxing. Under the labels “perspective underdetermination” and “situation underspecification” respectively, they reveal concept composition at play during linguistic comprehension. We show that the MdS model captures the conceptual compositional effects observed. In so doing it represents a falsifiable proposal for the architecture of the language-cognition interface.

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