Connecting language to the world

Deb Roy, Ehud Reiter
2005 Artificial Intelligence  
Language in the world How does language relate to the non-linguistic world? If an agent is able to communicate linguistically and is also able to directly perceive and/or act on the world, how do perception, action, and language interact with and influence each other? Such questions are surely amongst the most important in Cognitive Science and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Language, after all, is a central aspect of the human mind-indeed it may be what distinguishes us from other species.
more » ... is sometimes a tendency in the academic world to study language in isolation, as a formal system with rules for well-constructed sentences; or to focus on how language relates to formal notations such as symbolic logic. But language did not evolve as an isolated system or as a way of communicating symbolic logic; it presumably evolved as a mechanism for exchanging information about the world, ultimately providing the medium for cultural transmission across generations. Motivated by these observations, the goal of this special issue is to bring together research in AI that focuses on relating language to the physical world. Language is of course also used to communicate about non-physical referents, but the ubiquity of physical metaphor in language [21] suggests that grounding in the physical world provides the foundations of semantics. Systems that connect language to the world may be called situated to emphasize the links to non-linguistic situational context. These systems also address the symbol grounding problem [17] and may thus be called grounded. The topic of this special issue is
doi:10.1016/j.artint.2005.06.002 fatcat:j5kbeyar5vhnbl2ymxlybvs7ta