Expel

reverse of ingest vomit, excrete

complicated fashion, certain verbs can be characterised by a combination of primitives.

Other schemes have been used that are similar to this one, but they all share the characteristic of representing the relational term as a primitive or set of interconnected primitives (see Chapter 10 for a treatment of object concepts from this perspective, in the defining-attribute view).

Evidence for semantic decomposition

In general, there has been more theoretical analysis of relations than empirical testing of these theories. Some research has examined whether relations are decomposed into their primitives in the course of comprehending a sentence. Some theorists have argued that this semantic decomposition does not occur (Kintsch, 1974; Fodor, 1994, 1998; Fodor, Fodor, & Garrett, 1975), but others have taken the opposite view (Gentner, 1975, 1981). Several studies failed to find evidence for semantic decomposition; they showed that complex sentences as opposed to simple sentences (i.e., involving relations with more primitives) did not differ in memorability or take longer to process (see Carpenter & Just, 1977; Kintsch, 1974). However, Gentner (1975, 1981) argued that these studies confounded two distinct types of complex or specific sentences. She maintained that "poorly connected" specific sentences should take less time to process than "well connected" specific sentences and that previous studies had confounded this difference (see Figure 9.4)

Consider the three main types of materials Gentner (1981) used in her study. First, she distinguished between general and specific sentences: for instance, "Ida gave her tenants a clock" was considered to be more general than "Ida mailed her tenants a clock" or "Ida sold her tenants a clock". This is because give involves just a transfer of possession, whereas both mailed and sold involve a transfer of possession and something else; in mailed there are the associated actions of mailing something and in sold there is a transfer of goods and of money. However, even though the mailed and sold sentences are both specific, they differ in the degree to which their elements are well connected. Mailing involves Ida as a principal agent who performs a mail routine which causes a transfer of possession to certain recipients (i.e., her tenants). Selling involves Ida as a principal agent who transfers possession of goods to the tenant recipients, but she is also a recipient for the transfer of money from the tenants acting as principal agents. Gentner, therefore, argued that more connections between Ida and the tenants are elaborated in the selling case than in the mailing case; that the former is better connected than the latter (see Figure 9.4). If this hypothesis is true then objects from the well connected, specific sentence should be better recalled than the poorly connected, specific sentence when cued by other nouns from the sentence. These predictions were confirmed in her results (see Figure 9.5).

Gentner's research suggests that there are defining primitives for relational concepts. However, Coleman and Kay (1981; also Vaughan, 1985) have shown that these primitives should be treated as characteristic attributes rather than defining attributes (see Chapter 10). Coleman and Kay posited that the verb to lie (in the sense of not telling the truth) had three semantic components or attributes, in which (i) the statement made is false, (ii) the speaker believes the statement is false, and (iii) the speaker intends to deceive the

(a) Ida sold her tenants a clock

(a) Ida sold her tenants a clock

Ida clock tenants clock tenants money Ida money

(b) Ida mailed her tenants a clock

(b) Ida mailed her tenants a clock

Business Correspondence

Business Correspondence

24 chapters on preparing to write the letter and finding the proper viewpoint how to open the letter, present the proposition convincingly, make an effective close how to acquire a forceful style and inject originality how to adapt selling appeal to different prospects and get orders by letter proved principles and practical schemes illustrated by extracts from 217 actual letter.

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