Home Page

Authors & Articles






Research Team



Author & Title: Giulio Benedetti, The Meaning of the Basic Elements of Language in Terms of Cognitive Operations: Operational Semantics, published in Advanced Studies in Biology, Vol. 1, No. 6, 2009 (pp. 255-305).



In this article, the author provides a brief introduction to a completely new theory in Semantics, Operational Semantics (OS), which concerns the meanings of the basic linguistic elements that are indispensable for any linguistic expression, that is, mainly the “grammatical” words and morphemes. OS differs significantly from the other theories. In fact, in linguistics several of these basic elements are often considered to have a complex meaning and, in some cases, to be polysemous (such as some prepositions/cases and some verbs). Nevertheless, the words that designate them are among the first that children learn, and unique. OS is a systematic theory about the meaning of these linguistic elements, which it considers, in agreement with such facts, as having a simple and (substantially) unique meaning. The fundamental presupposition of OS is that the meanings of such linguistic elements are essentially sequences of elemental mental operations, amongst which the ones of attention play a key role. The author proposes a list of these elemental mental operations and shows how it is possible, by basing ourselves on these, to account for the meanings of the aforesaid linguistic elements. A new theory, which lies between linguistics and cognitive psychology, derives from this. This theory also allows us to define fundamental concepts of linguistics (such as “noun”, “subject”, “object” etc) in a simple and clear way and propose new solutions for some other problems in linguistics and psycholinguistics. In the last part of the article, the author also mentions a possible short-term practical application of OS, i.e. a device to improve the quality of machine translation, and highlights the limits of OS.

Keywords: Mind, mental operations, consciousness, attention, thought, language, Italian Operational School, operational semantics, linguistics, psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, semantics, grammar, philosophy, cognitive psychology, neurobiology


                                                                                                                          Link to Advanced Studies in Biology:







Send your contributions, proposals for collaboration and research projects - in English, possibly in a doc, rtf or pdf file format - to Giorgio Marchetti at info@mind-consciousness-language.com

Home-Authors and Articles-Commentaries-Notebook
Grants-Research Team

Giorgio Marchetti Copyright© 2002