Language, Culture, and Knowledge in Context - A Functional-Cognitive Approach - Brian Nolan

Language, Culture, and Knowledge in Context - A Functional-Cognitive Approach - Brian Nolan

Knowledge and its Representation

Language, Culture, and Knowledge in Context - A Functional-Cognitive Approach - Brian Nolan

Brian Nolan [+-]
Technological University Dublin (retired)
Dr. Brian Nolan is a retired Head of School of Informatics and Engineering at the Technological University Dublin, in Ireland. His research interests include linguistic theory at the morpho-syntactic semantic interface, argument structure and valence, constructions in grammar, event structure in language, the architecture of the lexicon and computational approaches to language processing, computational linguistics, speech act theory, context and common ground. His linguistic work has been in the functional linguistic model of Role and Reference Grammar and he has published extensively internationally. In 2012 Dr. Nolan published his book with Equinox on the linguistic structure of Irish in a Role and Reference Grammar account entitled The structure of Modern Irish: A functional account. In 2013, Benjamins published his co-edited volume Linking constructions into functional linguistics – The role of constructions in grammar in their Studies in Language Companion series. His co-edited Benjamin volume on computational linguistics and linguistic theory, Language processing and grammars: The role of functionally oriented computational models was published in 2014, also in their Studies in Language Companion series. He also co-edited a Benjamins book on ‘Causation, transfer and permission’ in linguistic theory, which appeared in early 2015. In January 2017, Benjamins published his co-edited book on complex predication entitled Argument realisation in complex predicates and complex events: Verb verb constructions at the syntax semantic interface. In 2019, Dr. Nolan co-edited a volume with Cambridge Scholars Publishing on the ‘Linguistic perspectives on the construction of meaning and knowledge: The linguistic, pragmatic, ontological and computational dimensions’.


In Chapter 7, Knowledge and its representation, we delve into elements of the theory of knowledge, and look at some of the characteristic questions including: what is knowledge? and what types of knowledge are there? We can distinguish, for example, between knowledge of propositions, or propositional knowledge, and know-how, or ability knowledge. The goal of a theory of knowledge is to clarify what knowledge involves, how it is applied, and to explain its characteristic features. Any discussion of knowledge must recognise some basic linguistic facts about the way that the verb know and its cognates function in discourse. In particular, it is important to recognise that to know has both a propositional and a procedural sense. This contrast is found in the matter of knowing that something is the case (THAT-knowledge) versus the practical knowledge of knowing how to perform some action to realise some end result (HOW-TO-knowledge). There are in fact more fine-grained insights into the many different kinds of knowledge. Declarative knowledge is to do with concepts, facts and entities. This type of knowledge describes what is known and includes simple statements that are asserted to be either true or false. This also includes a matrix of attributes and their values so that an entity or concept may be fully described. Procedural knowledge is to do with processes, rules, strategies, agendas and procedures. This type of knowledge describes how something operates or how a problem is solved, and provides directions on how to do something. Heuristic knowledge describes our experiential knowledge that guides the reasoning process. It is empirical and represents the knowledge compiled through the experience of solving past problems. Meta-knowledge is high-level knowledge about the other types of knowledge and how to use them, and describes knowledge about knowledge. We use this type of knowledge to guide our selection of other types of knowledge for resolving a particular issue. This type of knowledge is used to enhance the efficiency of our reasoning by directing the reasoning processes into the most promising area. Structural knowledge is to do with our sets of rules, concept relationships and concept to entities relationships. It describes actual knowledge structures within our overall mental models. Our mental model of concepts, sub-concepts, and entities with all their attributes, values, and relationships is typical of this type of knowledge.

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Nolan, Brian . Knowledge and its Representation. Language, Culture, and Knowledge in Context - A Functional-Cognitive Approach. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 111-122 Mar 2022. ISBN 9781800501928. Date accessed: 05 Jun 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.41899. Mar 2022

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