Publication 1313

Glasersfeld E. von (1972) Reading, understanding, and conceptual situations. In: Greene F. P. (ed.) 21st Yearbook of the National Reading Conference. N. C. R., Milwaukee WI: 119–127. Fulltext at
In the course of a long-term research project aimed at enabling a computer to analyse and code (-understand”) the meaning of ordinary English sentences, it became clear that much of the information necessary to understand many, if not most, sentencesis not to be found la the sentences themselves but must he supplied from another source. For the human reader this source is the fund of “knowledge” he has previously accumulated, both through living experience and through linguistic experience. This fund or knowledge is here visualised as a conceptual network onto which the incomplete information supplied by a sentence can be mapped, thus making it possible for the reader to fill in the missing pieces of the conceptual situation designated by the sentence. Such a conceptual network would seem to he the source, also of the various kinds of expectation (concerning the contents of those parts of the sentence which the reader has not yet read) which help the reader to resolve lexical and relational ambiguities. – It is suggested that a greater awareness of this function of the reader’s conceptual universe might lead to an improvement of instructional and remedial strategies for the teaching of the interpretive language skills.
Key words: language, cognition


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