That means, I am working in the interdisciplinary field of linguistics, computational linguistics, artificial intelligence and psychology plus some more which constitutes cognitive science. In other words, I am interested in how language relates to the world via cognitive representations and psychological processes. I am one of the few who believe, and for 25 years now say, that selective attention plays an important role in cognition, much more important than currently acknowledged. Ideally, both lines of interest meet when understanding how language functions helps to make better applications.
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That means, I am working in the interdisciplinary field of linguistics, computational linguistics, artificial intelligence and psychology plus some more which constitutes cognitive science. In other words, I am interested in how language relates to the world via cognitive representations and psychological processes. I am one of the few who believe, and for 25 years now say, that selective attention plays an important role in cognition, much more important than currently acknowledged.
Ideally, both lines of interest meet when understanding how language functions helps to make better applications. Currently, I am working on visualizing dialect data in the DMW project. As I have shown in a talk on VisuHu "Visualization processes in the humanities", Zurich, , aspects of attention are important in this field, too cf. This fact has been recognized, cf.
Visual Linguistics — Praxis — Tools. Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Publishing, My article From motion perception to Bob Dylan. A Cognitivist attentional semantics of directionals has appeared. I am now one of few in the world who have published on the semantics of all major classes of spatial expressions and phenomena, i.
I have introduced the linking of semantics and ontologies in my Spatial Cognition and Computation paper , which has evolved to the Cognitive Processing paper. Magister Artium M. Computational linguistics In , I began studying "Linguistische Datenverarbeitung" "linguistic data processing" in Trier, which was the first full course of studies about computational linguistics in Germany. After the intermediate examinations, I changed to studying linguistics and informatics in Hamburg, where things looked more interesting.
While Trier stayed on the level of linguistic data crunching which is, as a matter of fact, the current mode , I had become interested in the more cognitively oriented aspects of knowledge and natural language processing as parts of Artificial Intelligence. I also had learnt to value interdisciplinary approaches to language as a part of the cognitive system cf. With L. Linguistic Agency of Duisburg, former Trier , he widely disseminated the ideas of Fillmore, Langacker, Lakoff, Talmy, and many others by distributing copies of famous papers books for little money.
He invited Ron Langacker for a lecture series on his "Cognitive grammar", which I attended. In one of the seminars, I researched and wrote a paper on the concepts "trajector" and "landmark" in Cognitive Linguistics. Of course, especially as a computational linguist, I had also become familiar with the Chomskyan view of cognitive linguistics, and later worked rather in the Jackendoffian and Bierwischian tradition.
I had implemented his theory resulting in a system named OSKAR , and had co-written a paper and a book cf. I have always benefitted from this crash course on crystal clear scientific writing.
Yet, none of the cognitive linguistic models is perfect, and instead of choosing one side, I always try to integrate the different views. It felt like a sixth-grade mathematics book for a kindergarten kid for me, but it sparked my interest in the "systems view" on language processing.
It also already included the systems implementing aspects of knowledge representation and processing. Later, I continued working on natural language systems, even if only as a heuristic tool in the scientific process. In our introduction to computational linguistics and language technology , I organized the application-oriented parts, and I also wrote my "systems view" introduction to language technology. Spatial semantics The ies were one of the times when topics that had come up 10 years earlier in the U.
In the LILOG-Space sub-project of which I became a student member, we worked on semantic and conceptual representations of spatial expressions within a system that was to "understand" spatial descriptions.
I had studied "knowledge and language processing", and later got a position in teaching and researching in this field. Logic Logic was another big topic in the ies, cf.
Its use had become the sophisticated method of specifying knowledge representation structures as opposed to idiosyncratic notations and for the study of different kinds of reasoning, although it was —as the prototypical GOFAI method— in general already beginning to decline as the main approach in AI at least for practical applications. For high-level natural language processing, the logical approach including programming in PROLOG became and for some time stayed the accepted style of implementation, especially in computational semantics.
And yet, as a Cognitivist, I never adopted the full "logical semantics" philosophy, because I found the ontologies in model-theoretic semantics underdeveloped and naive.
It was not until 20 years later that I really worked on that topic again. Cognitive Science Contemporary to my academic education was the rise of Cognitive Science in Germany. Correspondingly, I had breathed in the interdisciplinary spirit inherent in natural language processing and semantics from early on. Later I was active in the German Society of Cognitive Science for a while, and gave the second talk at the first conference of the society in Unfortunately, there was some under-reception of my attention-oriented research due to some competence lag of the involved people and some other factors.
I also helped establishing the first full course of studies "Cognitive Science" in Germany. One of my lectures was an introduction to Cognitive Science some slides. Meaning and Cognition If you look at how the meaning of natural language expressions is investigated in disciplines like philosophy, linguistics, and psychology or even special subfields like philosophical or formal semantics, or psycholinguistics you cannot but notice an incomplete, often redundant treatment of the phenomena.
Mostly, either the complexities of the linguistic data, or the aspects of meaning as a cognitive phenomenon are disregarded. It is my firm belief that only interdisciplinary approaches within Cognitive Science modelling relevant aspects of meaning and cognition lead to non-trivial progress of the field, spatial semantics being a case in point cf.
Attention research Unbeknownst to most, the ies saw the rise of another important topic. Due to technical progress for example, the development of personal computers and the corresponding opportunities in experimental designs, or imaging methods like PET scans or MRI and converging research in computational neuroscience and neuropsychology, the investigation of selective attention could be brought to another level.
As a student assistant, part of my job was to copy articles out of journals for my professor. Not only did I get to know relevant journals within Cognitive Science, I also got used to scanning their content for some interesting stuff.
Especially when doing research for my first dissertation project I wanted to work on concept learning , I got hooked to the "Experimental Research" psychological journals. When I abandoned the project for reasons not relevant here and turned to spatial semantics again, I sooner or later realized that "selective attention" not only was a hot topic M.
Posner , but also part of the solution of the imagery debate S. Kosslyn , an essential aspect of the cognitive system L. Barsalou and interesting from a representational point of view G. Sperling, D. Kahneman , and a source of explanation for some of the semantic phenomena I was interested in G. Again, unfortunately, this research was as well received as, say, e-mobility by German car factories at that time both things have changed, even if only 20 years later.
Luckily, my publication list clearly shows that I was the first in Germany to discover the role of selective attention for spatial language semantics , recognizing and acknowledging the relevance of the work of Langacker, Logan, Posner, Regier, Tomlin, Talmy and others.
So, to all Knoeferles out there: do your homework and learn how to cite! Above all is the role of attention for semantics. But then, psychological research in combination with linguistic data also led me to acknowledge its role for our perception of the world cf. And finally, my work in semantics and on ontology has shown some opportunities to compensate for well-known deficits of logic especially, first-order logic , cf.
Computerlinguistik und Sprachtechnologie
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