Benjamin Bergen

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In an effort to focus on tractable problems, computational natural language understanding systems have typically addressed language phenomena that are amenable to combinatorial approaches using static and stereotypical semantic representations. Although such approaches are adequate for much of language, they're not easily extended to capture humans' more(More)
Mathematics requires precise inferences about abstract objects inaccessible to perception. How is this possible? One proposal is that mathematical reasoning, while concerned with entirely abstract objects, nevertheless relies on neural resources specialized for interacting with the world-in other words, mathematics may be grounded in spatial or sensorimotor(More)
Metaphorical expressions are pervasive in natural language and pose a substantial challenge for computational semantics. The inherent compositionality of metaphor makes it an important test case for compositional distributional semantic models (CDSMs). This paper is the first to investigate whether metaphorical composition warrants a distinct treatment in(More)
The notes and articles in this series are progress reports on work being carried on by students and faculty in the Department. Because these papers are not finished products, readers are asked not to cite from them without noting their preliminary nature. The authors welcome any comments and suggestions that readers might offer. Yamashita and Chang (2001)(More)
Language comprehenders can mentally simulate perceptual and motor features of scenes they hear or read about (Barsalou, 1999; Glenberg & Kaschak, 2002; Zwaan, Stanfield, & Yaxley, 2002). Recent research shows that these simulations adopt a particular perspective (Borghi, Glenberg, & Kaschak, 2004; Brunyé, Ditman, Mahoney, Augustyn, & Taylor, 2009).(More)
Here we present a model of a subtype of one-line jokes (not puns) that describes the relationship between the connector (part of the setup) and the disjunctor (often called the punchline). This relationship is at the heart of what makes this common type of joke humorous. We have implemented this model in a system, DisS (Disjunctor Selector), which, given a(More)
Many animals can be trained to perform novel tasks. People, too, can be trained, but sometime in early childhood people transition from being trainable to something qualitatively more powerful-being programmable. We argue that such programmability constitutes a leap in the way that organisms learn, interact, and transmit knowledge, and that what facilitates(More)