Spatial Language

pp 185-207

Generating Spatial Descriptions from a Cognitive Point of View

  • Robert PorzelAffiliated withEuropean Media Laboratory GmbH
  • , Martin JanscheAffiliated withDepartment of Linguistics, Ohio State University
  • , Ralf Meyer-KlabundeAffiliated withDepartment of Computational Linguistics, University of Heidelberg

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Speakers’ descriptions of one and the same spatial scenario differ greatly in respect to the linearisation of the objects and the strategies and points of view employed. Modelling the conceptual processes that are responsible for selecting and processing this information for a spatial description constitutes a complex task, since a multitude of factors come into play. Empirical findings and principles from various fields must be included in modelling this rather complex problem-solving task. We present several empirical studies that show how specific features of the spatial representation, the addressee, and the communicative task influence linearisation processes. Based on these studies, a natural language generation system, ParOLE, is introduced as an example of a cognitively motivated model of the conceptual processes underlying the production of spatial descriptions.