Minds and Machines 23 (1):105-121 (2013)
AbstractLanguage understanding is one of the most important characteristics for human beings. As a pervasive phenomenon in natural language, metaphor is not only an essential thinking approach, but also an ingredient in human conceptual system. Many of our ways of thinking and experiences are virtually represented metaphorically. With the development of the cognitive research on metaphor, it is urgent to formulate a computational model for metaphor understanding based on the cognitive mechanism, especially with the view to promoting natural language understanding. Many works have been done in pragmatics and cognitive linguistics, especially the discussions on metaphor understanding process in pragmatics and metaphor mapping representation in cognitive linguistics. In this paper, a theoretical framework for metaphor understanding based on the embodied mechanism of concept inquiry is proposed. Based on this framework, ontology is introduced as the knowledge representation method in metaphor understanding, and metaphor mapping is formulated as ontology mapping. In line with the conceptual blending theory, a revised conceptual blending framework is presented by adding a lexical ontology and context as the fifth mental space, and a metaphor mapping algorithm is proposed
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