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[ontolog-forum] resolving ambiguity in words

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: FERENC KOVACS <f.kovacs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 2010 10:18:19 +0000 (GMT)
Message-id: <434631.22387.qm@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

In reading neurocognitive literature I have found that in resolving the ambiguity of words two anatomial systems, the dorsal and the ventral networks take part. The brain tries to establish which sense of an ambiguous word makes sense. For about 200-300 millisec both senses are available to the brain, but it takes time to sort out which one is relevant or makes sense. Until then “silly and autonomous associative, uninformed and narrow-focused processes” dominate.


But the influence of the knowledge of grammar is already felt in that stage of early understanding. A non-conscious parsing, a trial and error process may be there to lemmatize the words. Also, there is a distortion concerning the preference of some parts of speech in the selection. After (folloing) a verb the words associated with irrelevant meaning are picked faster, after a noun the words associated with the relevant meaning are. So the associative processes are influenced by grammar based decisions.


Form (objects) and content (spatial relations, properties, generic categories) are assymetrically coded in a language. The ventral system involved in understanding forms is open and constantly growing. This can tell the difference between a glass, a cup and a mug. You may call this a high resolution system suited to describe answers to WHAT questions.


You have another, dorsal system that focuses on content, spatial relations. This is a more closed system, telling the difference between basic (generic) dimensions (tank vessel, support, shelter, neighbourhood) only. It is a low resolution system giving you answers to WHERE questions focusing on place and movement (verbs, as verbs indicate changes). The linguistic domain of the WHERE system is narrower, (less than a 100 adverbs, prepositions, etc. and verbs are outnumbered by nouns too), only dimensions and movement in space are coded, no metrics, no metric resolution This system works like functions (special relations on, inside, under) and the arguments are objects of purpose and objects of reference.

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