Why are embodied experiments relevant to cognitive linguistics?
Computational simulation models of cognitive linguistics are relatively scarce (cf Valenzuela, 2010). This is due, among other things, to the inherent complexity of the movement’s conception of language. Cognitive linguistics places great emphasis on the integration of language with sensorimotor and conceptual structure, as well as on the embodied nature of cognition and the perspective of language as a social construct. This has made it difficult for cognitive linguistics to take advantage of the benefits of computational simulation (cf McClelland 2009).The robotic paradigm of Luc Steels (Steels 1998, 2000, 2004, 2005) offers one of the most complete implementations of cognitive linguistics to date. In this paradigm, autonomous robotic agents play communication games in which linguistic information is represented by a version of construction grammar called “Fluid Construction Grammar”. The present chapter explains how this simulation is a true implementation of the theoretical proposals made by cognitive linguistics. More specifically, we show how these proposals have been operationalized for their use in the system.Computational simulations like the one described here should be of great interest to any cognitive linguist. They provide an excellent testing ground for any theoretical proposal, bringing cognitive linguistics even closer to the cognitive-science enterprise.