Thursday, May 23, 2013

Some ideas about language

1. Speech and text understanding are dynamic- meaning changes during reading/listening and is not a function of the whole.
2. Language works because of a shared world, not because of its internal structure (which is nearly arbitrary). 
3. The key cognitive capabilities are (a) naming; and (b) deriving word types from narrative. [over both the external world and the internal one]
Update: If best models come into this, it is in describing how we maintain multiple possible meanings, and resolve them by reading more words (i.e. making "additional measurements")


  1. As a sort of corollary, you wonder if some of the subtleties of word form and word order (say, in English) aren't merely to support an unnecessary complexity without changes to meaning. Like:
    "lower X as far as possible" versus "Make X as low as possible".
    It's like: well if you insist on putting words in that order, then this is the form it takes. It is in support of syntax, not meaning.

  2. In #1 you wonder: how can't the meaning be a function of the whole, after reading? The answer is that the final meaning is derived through earlier stages, and they need to be understood in the analysis.

  3. Not sure reading more words is just "additional measurements".