Gestalt Compositionality and Instruction-Based Meaning Construction

Abstract : We would like to propose a new model of meaning construction based on language comprehension considered as a dynamic process during which the meaning of each linguistic unit and the global meaning of the sentence are determined simultaneously. This model, which may be called "gestalt compositionality," is radically opposed to the classic compositional mechanism advocated by linguistic formalism based on the primacy of syntax. The process considers the syntactic structure of an utterance as the product of meaning construction rather than its source. The comprehension of an utterance is consequently directly based on the interaction between the different basic components of this utterance: lexical units, grammatical markers, positional relations between units, and more generally, basic "constructions" in the sense of Construction Grammar. Thus, meaning is really the result of a gestalt compositional process insomuch as the contribution of each basic component depends on the contribution of the other components present in the utterance. We show a first attempt at modeling from French and English examples.
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Contributor : Thierry Poibeau <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, January 29, 2013 - 1:07:14 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - 3:46:02 PM

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Gilles Col, Jeanne Aptekman, Stéphanie Girault, Thierry Poibeau. Gestalt Compositionality and Instruction-Based Meaning Construction. Cognitive Processing, Springer Verlag, 2012, 13 (2), pp.151-170. ⟨10.1007/s10339-011-0431-y⟩. ⟨hal-00782230⟩

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