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Contextual Vocabulary Acquisition: A Computational Theory and Educational Curriculum

In Nagib Callaos, Ana Breda & Ma Yolanda Fernandez J. (eds.), Proceedings of the 6th World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics. International Institute of Informatics and Systemics (2002)

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  1. Computers Are Syntax All the Way Down: Reply to Bozşahin.William J. Rapaport - 2019 - Minds and Machines 29 (2):227-237.
    A response to a recent critique by Cem Bozşahin of the theory of syntactic semantics as it applies to Helen Keller, and some applications of the theory to the philosophy of computer science.
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  • What Did You Mean by That? Misunderstanding, Negotiation, and Syntactic Semantics.William J. Rapaport - 2003 - Minds and Machines 13 (3):397-427.
    Syntactic semantics is a holistic, conceptual-role-semantic theory of how computers can think. But Fodor and Lepore have mounted a sustained attack on holistic semantic theories. However, their major problem with holism (that, if holism is true, then no two people can understand each other) can be fixed by means of negotiating meanings. Syntactic semantics and Fodor and Lepore’s objections to holism are outlined; the nature of communication, miscommunication, and negotiation is discussed; Bruner’s ideas about the negotiation of meaning are explored; (...)
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  • In Defense of Contextual Vocabulary Acquisition: How to Do Things with Words in Context.William J. Rapaport - 2005 - In Anind Dey, Boicho Kokinov, David Leake & Roy Turner (eds.), Proceedings of the 5th International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Modeling and Using Context. Springer-Verlag Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence 3554. pp. 396--409.
    Contextual vocabulary acquisition (CVA) is the deliberate acquisition of a meaning for a word in a text by reasoning from context, where “context” includes: (1) the reader’s “internalization” of the surrounding text, i.e., the reader’s “mental model” of the word’s “textual context” (hereafter, “co-text” [3]) integrated with (2) the reader’s prior knowledge (PK), but it excludes (3) external sources such as dictionaries or people. CVA is what you do when you come across an unfamiliar word in your reading, realize that (...)
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  • What Is the “Context” for Contextual Vocabulary Acquisition?William J. Rapaport - 2003 - Proceedings of the 4th Joint International Conference on Cognitive Science/7th Australasian Society for Cognitive Science Conference 2:547-552.
    “Contextual” vocabulary acquisition is the active, deliberate acquisition of a meaning for a word in a text by reasoning from textual clues and prior knowledge, including language knowledge and hypotheses developed from prior encounters with the word, but without external sources of help such as dictionaries or people. But what is “context”? Is it just the surrounding text? Does it include the reader’s background knowledge? I argue that the appropriate context for contextual vocabulary acquisition is the reader’s “internalization” of the (...)
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  • How Helen Keller Used Syntactic Semantics to Escape From a Chinese Room.William J. Rapaport - 2006 - Minds and Machines 16 (4):381-436.
    A computer can come to understand natural language the same way Helen Keller did: by using “syntactic semantics”—a theory of how syntax can suffice for semantics, i.e., how semantics for natural language can be provided by means of computational symbol manipulation. This essay considers real-life approximations of Chinese Rooms, focusing on Helen Keller’s experiences growing up deaf and blind, locked in a sort of Chinese Room yet learning how to communicate with the outside world. Using the SNePS computational knowledge-representation system, (...)
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