Embodied Cognition at the Crossroads of
Philosophy, Linguistics, Psychology and Artificial Intelligence

May 13-15, 2021, Cluj-Napoca, ROMANIA

Section 1B


1B: Embodied language acquisition and processing



Thursday 13/5, 13:00-14:20



Alexandra Marian, Roxana Mateiu-Verscan, Doris Rogobete, Thea Ionescu

Affiliation: Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Title: Concepts and how they are represented in our minds: an embodied cognition approach
Abstract: The ‘grounded cognition’ approach to cognitive development and learning outlines the assumption that cognition is typically grounded in multiple ways, including simulations, sensorimotor systems, situated action and, on occasion, bodily states. Therefore, representations in cognition are not amodal data structures that exist independently of the brain’s modal systems. Instead, according to the definition of grounded cognition – the environment, situations, the body and simulations in the brain’s modal systems ground the representations in the cognitive system. Usually, language and how we form concepts has been studied in isolation, because it has been long thought that our linguistic knowledge is an abstraction of the experience gained in different contexts during our development. But new scientific approaches bring forward the idea that language and concepts cannot be taken out of the constantly evolving contexts in which they are formed and given meaning. The current paper aims to discuss new approaches to concept representation, mainly derived from the grounded cognition account. We will also revisit the distinction between concrete and abstract concepts that has long been established in the literature. We will present theoretical frameworks and methods used to sustain the grounding of conceptual knowledge in multimodal systems, and how the representations of concrete and abstract concepts are organized in our cognitive system. The representations that we have are multimodal and fundamentally grounded in the sensorimotor systems of the brain and in our actions, which ultimately highlights the fact that cognition is not abstract and amodal.




Maria Luisa Perez Cavana

Affiliation: The Open University
Title: My foreign body: Exploring lived experiences of speaking a foreign language
Abstract: My foreign body: Exploring lived experiences of speaking a foreign language The role of the body in learning and speaking a foreign language is an under researched topic in a field which is characterized by a strong focus on cognition and socio-linguistics. On the contrary this paper follows the emerging trend to move away from the pure linguistic approach to the phenomenon of languages learning towards a more humanistic perspective that considers the whole person approach as a way to convey the complexity and multi-layered experience of language learning. Within this context, phenomenology, and in particular the exploration into the lived experience of language (Spracherleben), has been considered both as a relevant and as an under-researched approach. Aiming to contribute to the study of embodiment and foreign languages, this explores the question: how is the own body experienced when speaking a foreign language? This article responds to this question by exploring the lived experience of foreign language speakers. It examines manifestations of those experiences through the analysis of rich qualitative data gathered from in-depth interviews carried out with adult language learners. It employs phenomenology in the analysis of qualitative data, that means that lived experiences in the form of anecdotes are analysed to generate rich descriptions of how meanings and sensations are structured within the lifeworld of foreign language speakers. The descriptions of embodied lived experiences of speaking a foreign language exemplified a sense of disconnection and alienation with the own body. The reflections of this paper draw on the work of philosophers such as Merleau-Ponty, Schutz and Waldenfels to deepen the analysis of the descriptions and to reveal new aspects and perspectives of the taken-for-granted phenomenon of speaking a foreign language.


Antonino Bondi

Affiliation: Università di Catania
Title: The experience of linguistic meaning between linguistic construction and semiotic perception. An enactivist and phenomenological approach to problem of language.
Abstract: We propose here an epistemological and philosophical discussion on the need for an enactivist, phenomenological and socio-semiotic model of the language experience. To do this, we plan to rediscuss the conceptual framework including the dimensions of language, langue and parole, within the framework of a semiotic anthropology, inspired by the enactivist and phenomenological themes in linguistics and semiotics. Thus, we will start from an examination of certain empirical aspects of the interlocutory space and focus in particular on the transmission and reception operations carried out by speakers and co-workers. The idea of a semiotic perception then integrates the program of cognitive grammars by highlighting the strictly semiotic, praxeological and cultural dynamics that constitute the phases of stabilization of meaning. Enactive grammars not only restore to analysis but also to more epistemological and philosophical discussions not only descriptive frameworks that completely revise the communication circuit and make a theory of language interaction more complex. They also raise the question of thinking about the dialogical and social nature of any fragment of speech: in this regard, Didier Bottineau always suggested defining speech as an incarnate cognitive technique. However, it seems to us that this perspective requires a profound questioning on the sociality of meaning and on the nature and perceptive and dynamicist facture of forms, including relational forms of the field of interlocution. It is in this context of analysis of the space of interlocutory construction and production that the questions of semiotic perception and the language activity with which it is accompanied are raised, as well as the need to partially reconstruct the conceptual (and eminently philosophical) figures that help to justify this epistemological and descriptive choice.


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