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Title: Towards a cognitive linguistic approach to language comprehension
Author: McGlashan, G. Scott
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1992
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This thesis develops a cognitive linguistic approach to language comprehension. The cognitive approach differs from traditional linguistic approaches in that linguistic description is seen as an integral part of the description of cognition, and that the object of description is the nature of conceptual structures, the processes which relate these conceptual structures, and the effect of context upon these processes. As a cognitive description within cognitive science, a computational approach is adopted: language comprehension is described in terms of two modules, a linguistic processing module and a discourse processing module. Within these modules, conceptual structures and processes are given a uniform characterization: structures are characterized as partial objects which are extended by processes into (potentially) less partial objects. In the linguistic processing module, linguistic expressions is characterized as signs which combine as head and modifier. The conceptual structure in signs for lexical expressions are related to the conceptual structure in signs for phrasal expressions by means of two extensional processes: a specification process which unifies a modifier sign with parts of the head sign; and a linking process which extends the head sign by unifying the specified part with its own conceptual structure. This combination yields a result sign with a linguistic conceptual structure for the phrase. The discourse processing module characterizes the interpretation of linguistic conceptual structure by means of two extensional proceses. The first process, anchoring, relates the linguistic conceptual structure to concepts in a model of the discourse by either unifying it with an existing concept, or creating a new concept. The second process, elaboration, extends concepts in the discourse model by means of background knowledge, or theories, which specify relations between and within concepts. This can result in the creation of concepts in the discourse model which are not directly referenced by linguistic expressions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available