Partiality and Coherence in Concept Combination
This paper addresses the problems of lexical representation and coherence. Our discussion of these problems leads to what we call a sense generation approach. We will present two accounts from within this approach and illustrate them with respect to concept combination. In section 2 of this paper we describe the tension that exists between the two phenomena of semantic flexibility and specificity. There are accounts of lexical representation in which this tension raises major problems and there are others in which it provides a clue to resolving these problems. The former are characterised by what Clark (1983) calls the selection of senses and the latter by what he calls sense creation. In section 3 we discuss the implications of sense selection accounts for coherence and concept combination, indicating problems that arise. We rely heavily on Murphy & Medin’s (1985) arguments and suggest some extensions. In section 4 we present the sense generation view (which is related to Clark’s notion of sense creation) which avoids such difficulties. Central to this account is a consideration of partiality, reduction of partiality being brought about by constraints provided by the discourse and situational factors. In section 5 we will sketch two different approaches to concept combination within this framework. In section 6 we draw conclusions and raise questions regarding the nature of coherence and lexical representation.
KeywordsNoun Phrase Lexical Entry Biological Mother Lexical Representation Head Noun
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