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Symbols and EmbodimentDebates on meaning and cognition$
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Manuel de Vega, Arthur Glenberg, and Arthur Graesser

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199217274

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199217274.001.0001

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Symbol systems and perceptual representations

Symbol systems and perceptual representations

(p.145) Chapter 8 Symbol systems and perceptual representations
Symbols and Embodiment

Walter Kintsch

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a proposal for modelling verbal meaning. This proposal has two components — the description of how people induce verbal meaning or the representation of meaning in memory; and modelling how stored meaning is used to construct contextually appropriate meanings of words, sentences, and texts in general. It notes that it is possible that everything that man needs for language is already stored in memory and that meanings simply have to be retrieved from the semantic store ready-made. It presents the alternative that the semantic store only provides the raw material for the construction of meaning, and that meaning emerges when words, sentences, and text are used in context. It discusses the proposition that, although language is not grounded in the sense of a first-order isomorphism, language mirrors perceptual features of the world with a high degree of fidelity.

Keywords:   verbal meaning, memory, language, symbol systems, meaning

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