Language, Cohesion and Form (Studies in Natural Language by Margaret Masterman

By Margaret Masterman

As a pioneer in computational linguistics, operating within the earliest days of language processing by way of desktop, Margaret Masterman believed that which means, no longer grammar, used to be the major to knowing languages, and that machines may ascertain the which means of sentences. This quantity brings jointly Masterman's groundbreaking papers for the 1st time, demonstrating the significance of her paintings within the philosophy of technology and the character of iconic languages. This booklet may be of key curiosity to scholars of computational linguistics and synthetic intelligence.

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Language, Cohesion and Form (Studies in Natural Language Processing)

As a pioneer in computational linguistics, operating within the earliest days of language processing via laptop, Margaret Masterman believed that which means, no longer grammar, used to be the main to knowing languages, and that machines might make certain the that means of sentences. This quantity brings jointly Masterman's groundbreaking papers for the 1st time, demonstrating the significance of her paintings within the philosophy of technology and the character of iconic languages.

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21 22 Basic forms for language structure 1. ’ The naive idea of ‘word’ is ‘dictionary-word’; as the Oxford Dictionary puts it, ‘(a word is) . . , to denote a thing, attribute or relation) and constituting an ultimate of speech having a meaning as such’. The philosopher’s invariable reaction to this definition is that of Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking Glass: that is, that it sounds all right (said rather doubtfully) but that, of course, there is not time to go into it just now. One thing we could all agree on, philosophers and plain men in the street alike: that for practical purposes this definition is all right, provided that it is used ostensively, with the Oxford Dictionary as reference.

So, if we base our logic on tzu4, not on words, only in the infinite case shall we get the (usually assumed to be) completely determinate ‘statement’ of propositional logic – and this even if there were no other formal differences between a sequence of tzu4 and a ‘statement’ in propositional logic, which there are. Thus the logical importance of finding out what we think about words – and the logical importance of examining and distinguishing usages in context – turns out to lie in the fact that our conception of a ‘statement’ (and, a fortiori, of logically possible forms of connection between ‘statements’) is fundamentally affected by our logical conception of a ‘word’.

So, if we base our logic on tzu4, not on words, only in the infinite case shall we get the (usually assumed to be) completely determinate ‘statement’ of propositional logic – and this even if there were no other formal differences between a sequence of tzu4 and a ‘statement’ in propositional logic, which there are. Thus the logical importance of finding out what we think about words – and the logical importance of examining and distinguishing usages in context – turns out to lie in the fact that our conception of a ‘statement’ (and, a fortiori, of logically possible forms of connection between ‘statements’) is fundamentally affected by our logical conception of a ‘word’.

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