Construal operations in linguistics and artificial intelligence

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This essay deals with one of the fundamental aspects of the semantics of cognitive linguistics, namely the nature of construal operations, and this entails reference to the conceptualization of the described situation in the mind of the language user. In expounding the conceptualist approach to semantics, the essay highlights its differences with respect to formal semantics and develops the arguments of Langacker’s and Marconi’s essay by analysing particular forms of imagery (scanning, scalar adjustment, profile-base, attention). In doing so, it also elaborates a number of general points concerning the two different types of approach to semantics made in Albertazzi’s Introduction — which like this essay also conducts a critique of the use by artificial intelligence of certain phenomenological concepts. Croft and Wood’s use of phenomenological instruments, moreover, displays numerous points of contact with the contributions in the book by Albertazzi (fictive motion), Wildgen (Gestalt concepts), Violi (context and comparison) and Peruzzi (conceptual universals). In dealing with the problem of the universality of construal operations, Croft and Wood also make explicit mention of Langacker’s work, with reference both to his essay in this book and previous publications.


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