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Re: [ontolog-forum] language ambiguity (was: Axiomatic ontology)

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Rob Freeman" <lists@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 13 Feb 2008 19:17:51 +0800
Message-id: <7616afbc0802130317n6ebc634bocdb267988e385c13@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Hi Jakub,    (01)

Thanks for this talk.    (02)

The thing which stuns me about this is that the famous advocate of
Chomsky's generativism now seems to be a convert to Len Talmy's
Cognitive Linguistics! There is a strong flavour of Talmy in this
talk.    (03)

If you want to hear more of Len Talmy's theories, all his books are
supposed to be on his website.    (04)

I don't hold with the strong position of cognitive linguistics that
there is an underlying cognitive grammar which governs language
structure, but Talmy's cognitive characterization of language is
fascinating. (I heard him speak last summer, and his distinction
between satellite framed and verb framed languages tickled me
greatly.)    (05)

Like John I think that ambiguity is more important than mere
politeness. I don't think John agrees with my strong position, though.    (06)

The position I have been advocating here is that ambiguity is
important because it allows us to code more with the same words
(though that means the actual meaning has to be coded in combinations
of words, not the words themselves.)    (07)

-Rob    (08)

On Feb 13, 2008 2:31 PM, Jakub Kotowski <jakubkotowski@xxxxxxx> wrote:
> I would like to add that the ambiguity or vagueness of natural languages
> is probably not only inevitable but also a *wanted* and *beneficial*
> property as Steven Pinker argues for example in this interesting talk:
> http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/164 (the core of the argument
> starts rougly from the 9th minute).
> It is the difference between stating a fact/an offer directly and
> bluntly versus saying it so that there are more possible meanings one of
> which may not be so offending as the blunt one (example could be trying
> to bribe someone).
> Do you think that this property could be beneficial for artificial
> languages (like those for multi agent systems) too?    (09)

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