The embodiment of linguistic meaning

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Embodied views of language hold that linguistic meaning is derived from the interaction experience of the listener/speaker and the sensory, motor, and internal states that go along with it. This chapter reviews three kinds of evidence that support such views. (1) Linguistic descriptions draw upon processes and brain regions that support the event’s actual sensory experience. (2) These perceptual event representations are treated by the cognitive apparatus just like real events, triggering the motor behaviours that would be elicited in such circumstances. (3) The representation of action content draws upon information encoded in the understander’s own action control systems. Outstanding questions, problems, and implications of such an embodied view of linguistic meaning are discussed. Keywords: action simulation; embodied cognition; language; perceptual symbols; semantics


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