What is it about?
Information and linguistic meaning are very different from each other and yet they are related in some ways because linguistic meaning does convey information. This article shows how the information-theoretic approach can be fruitfully integrated with linguistic meaning, especially when we consider words, by showing how information conserves linguistic meaning. Thus, if a language has more words than another, it possesses greater ways of conserving linguistic meaning through the information encoded in words.
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Why is it important?
A great deal of research has been made in the context of information-based theories of language and yet we do not know how to reconcile aspects of linguistic meaning with information. This article shows one way, if not the only one, towards this goal.
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This page is a summary of: How linguistic meaning harmonizes with information through meaning conservation, Pragmatics & Cognition, December 2019, John Benjamins, DOI: 10.1075/pc.18018.mon.
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Meaning Relations, Syntax, and Understanding
This paper revisits the conception of intelligence and understanding as embodied in the Turing Test. It argues that a simple system of meaning relations drawn from words/lexical items in a natural language and framed in terms of syntax-free relations in linguistic texts can help ground linguistic inferences in a manner that can be taken to be 'understanding' in a mechanized system. Understanding in this case is a matter of running through the relevant inferences meaning relations allow for, and some of these inferences are plain deductions and some can serve to act as abductions. Understanding in terms of meaning relations also supervenes on linguistic syntax because such understanding cannot be simply reduced to syntactic relations. The current approach to meaning and understanding thus shows that this is one way, if not the only way, of (re)framing Alan Turing's original insight into the nature of thinking in computing systems.
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