Burghard B. Rieger:

Feasible Fuzzy Semantics

In: Heggstad, K. (ed.): COLING 78 - Reprints 7th International Conference on Computational Linguistics, Bergen (ICCL) 1978, pp. 41-43


Linguistic semanticists who think their discipline an empirical science, will not mainly be concerned with either language theory, formal logics or mathematics, but with the study of meaning as it is constituted in spoken or written texts used in the process of communication. They are  interested in the analysis and description of natural language regularities that real speakers/hearers follow and/or establish when they interact verbally by means of texts in order to communicate.
Descriptions of natural language meanings need a formally adequate representation of semantic phenomena, and their anlyses require methods and procedures which are empirically adequate. Both postulates of formal and empirical adequacy,  it seems, can be met by the concept of 'fuzzy' modeling which may provide a formally and numerically flexible link to connect the two main, apparently divergent lines of research in modern semantics so far: namely, the logic inspired algebraic models of formal semantic theory and the more empirically oriented methods and quantitative procedures of experimental semanticists.  The theory and logic of 'fuzzy sets' introduced by Zadeh (1965) provides to bridge the gap between an abstract model of, and its application to, phenomena of vagueness in natural language semantics.

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