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Connectionist Models and Figurative Speech

Susan Holbach-Weber
DFKI, DFKI Technical Memos (TM), Vol. 89-01, 1989.


This paper contains an introduction to connectionist models. Then we focus on the question of how novel figurative usages of descriptive adjectives may be interpreted in a structured connectionist model of conceptual combination. The suggestion is that inferences drawn from an adjective's use in familiar contexts form the basis for all possible interpretations of the adjective in a novel context. The more plausible of the possibilities, it is speculated, are reinforced by some form of one-shot learning, rendering the interpretative process obsolete after only one (memorable) encounter with a novel figure of speech.