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Lexical meaning in flux

Prof. Robin Cooper ( Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science, University of Gothenburg )

A frequent assumption in computational and corpus linguistics as well as theoretical linguistics is that words are associated with a fairly small set of meanings, statically defined  in a lexical resource.   This view is challenged by work in the psychology of language where dialogue participants are regarded as creating meaning on the fly for the purposes of particular dialogues and this view has been taken up by recent approaches to dialogue semantics. It also seems related to work on bringing together mismatching ontologies.

We argue that a view of lexical meaning in flux is important for natural language analysis in general, not just dialogue analysis. We will explore the philosophical underpinning of this argument, in particular the kind of type theory with records (TTR) that we propose and we will also suggest some consequences for computational linguistics.

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