Metaphor Comprehension Natural language Processing Conceptual structures Cognitive Modelling
Trinity College Dublin, Department of Computer Science
Veale, Tony; Keane, Mark T. 'Conceptual Scoffolding: A Spatially-founded Meaning Representation for Metaphor Comprehension'. - Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Computer Science, TCD-CS-92-12, 1992, pp43
Computer Science Technical Report TCD-CS-92-12
Once viewed as a rhetorical and superficial language phenomenon, metaphor
is now recognized to serve a fundamental role in our conceptual structuring
and language comprehension processes. In particular, it is argued that certain
experiential metaphors based upon intuitions of spatial relations are inherent
in the conceptual organization of our most abstract thoughts. In this paper we
present a two stage computational model of metaphor interpretation which
employs a spatially-founded semantics to broadly characterise the meaning
carried by a metaphor in terms of a conceptual scaffolding, an interim meaning
structure around which a fuller interpretation is fleshed out over time. We
then present a semantics for the construction of conceptual scaffolding which
is based upon core metaphors of collocation, containment and orientation. The
goal of this scaffolding is to maintain the intended association of ideas even in
contexts in which system knowledge is insufficient for a complete
interpretation. This two stage system of scaffolding and elaboration also
models the common time lapse between initial metaphor comprehension and
full metaphor appreciation. Several mechanisms for deriving elaborative
inference from scaffolding structures, particularly in cases of novel or creative
metaphor, are also presented. While the system developed in this paper has
significant practical application, its also demonstrates that core spatial
metaphors clearly play a central role in metaphor comprehension.
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