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Style as a Choice of Blending Principles


 
 

1  

Style as a Choice of  
Blending Principles 

Joseph Goguen

Fox Harrell

UCSD


 
 

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A New Approach to Style 

  • Hypothesis: style  = blending principles
  • Developed for language, but ok for other media
  • Intended applications:

    - Computational multimedia narrative

    - User-interface design

    - Gaming

    - Maybe database queries & integration


 
 

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What is Style? 

Style is not just statistics!

Style is fundamental to meaning:

    - not just way to present ��content��

    - not separate from ��content��

    - not surface, deep inside meaning

Probably cannot be fully formalized, but can be better understood by using formalization


 
 

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Levels of Language 

  • Discourse
  • Sentence
  • Phrase (including metaphor)
  • Word

Our system treats differently for pragmatic reasons, but distinction is not strict & not reified.

Indeed, model building is not reality discovery.


 
 

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Supporting Theories 

  • Narrative
  • Metaphor & Blending (from cognitive linguistics & cognitive semantics)
  • Algebraic Semiotics & Structural Blending
  • Algebraic semantics (CS theory of abstract data types)
  • A bit of category theory
 
 

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Labov Narrative Structure 

  • Narrative of personal experience, William Labov, refined by Charlotte Linde:
      • Optional orientation (time, place, characters, etc.)
      • Sequence of narrative clauses describe events
      • Narrative presupposition says occur in same order as given
      • Narrative clauses interwoven with evaluative material, provide interpretation, evaluation
      • Optional closing: gives summary or moral
 
 

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Labov Structure in BNF 

<Narr> ::= <Open> (<Cls> <Eval>*)* [<Coda>]      

<Open> ::= ((<Abs> + <Ornt>) <Eval>*)* 

  • Can use to structure story generation
  • Complex narratives, flashbacks &c, still have Labov segments
  • Can also use other format specifications

 


 
 

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Algebraic Semiotics 

  • Semiotic spaces have sorts, constants, operations, axioms, constants, with partial ordering on each, and a primary sort
  • Semiotic morphisms are partial mappings between semiotic spaces
  • ��Algebraic semiotics�� is ��brand name��: not aligned with contemporary semiotics, though influenced by Peirce & Saussure
 
 

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Algebraic Semiotics 

  • Builds on algebraic semantics (as in abstract data type theory)
  • Incorporates insights from cognitive linguistics and conceptual blending
  • Algebraic definition of blending: lax colimit in order enriched category (3/2 colimit in 3/2 category)

 


 
 

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Simple Conceptual Blending


 
 

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Blending Optimality Principles 

  • Integration: Scenario in blend is integrated scene
  • Web: Tight connections of blend & inputs (e.g., event in input

  construed as corresponding event in blend)

  • Unpacking: Easy to reconstruct inputs & connections from blend
  • Topology: Elements in blend should participate in same kinds of

  relations as counterparts in input spaces

  • Good Reasoning: Elements blend should have meaning.
  • Metonymic Tightening: Relationships between elements from

  same input space should be as close as possible in blend.

 


 
 

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Formal Optimality Principles 

  • Commutativity
  • Type Casting
  • Axiom Preservation
  • Operation Preservation
  • Ordering Relation Preservation

    (for priorities & subsorts)


 
 

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Houseboat Blend


 
 

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Boathouse Space  
(one of 48 blends) 

For ��resident/boat�� to ��live-in�� ��house,�� type of ��boat��

must be cast from ��Object�� to ��Person.��


 
 

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Conceptual Blending Algorithm 

  • Three node types are (left to right):

        relation nodes, sort nodes, constant nodes.

  • Vertical edges connect nodes from different input spaces.
  • Horizontal edges from relation nodes to sort nodes indicate the sorts that the relation is defined on.
  • Horizontal edges from sort nodes to constant nodes indicate the sorts of constants.
 
 

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Structural Blending 

  • For generative media, need to handle structure, not just concepts about structure (e.g., syntax and discourse)
  • ��Templates�� act as constructors (which are functions)
 
 

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Active Poetry System 

Griot is active (generative) poetry system.

In interactive mode, selection takes user input.


 
 

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    Every night she wakes covered with snow-     queen or cherub sweat.

    Melaninated, soul thoughts taunted her as a teen.

    It was no laughing matter

    for the white or original-lady,

    until she awakens and begins a privilege or pride day anew. 

The Girl with Skin of Haints and Seraphs

   - spaces programmed by Fox Harrell


 
 

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(every night she wakes covered with snow-queen or cherub sweat)

(melaninated, soul thoughts taunted her as a teen)

(it was no laughing matter)

(for the white or original-lady)

(until she awakens and begins a privilege or pride day anew)


 
 

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the beginning was quiet and simple - save for the ignorance contradiction

she dropped from her momma as skin angels caused hate-making, love making

wakeful moments shimmied with desire

a spectral tone pervaded

harp mathematics no longer concerned her when she was elderly

pale-skinned young-lady thoughts taunted her as a teen

the young lady would prevail

evil privilege  spawns and devours evil smugness

and she is filled with passion

she could cry  

serious times were here

they would call her charcoal-girl, dusky-girl!

The tormented european felt pain and entitlement in her mind) 

the spectral tone pervaded

she could cry 

until she awakens and begins a hate love day anew

until she awakens and begins a love hate day anew


 
 

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Disoptimality Principles 

Neruda:

  ��I am withered, impervious, like a swan of felt

  navigating a water of beginning and ashes.�� 

Rilke:

  ��cheap winter hats of fate�� 

These violate at least three of the optimality principles and require casting to quite remote types

 


 
 

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Future Work 

  • Computational narrative (improvisational & interactive multimedia narrative)
  • Richer media
  • More blending principles (more specific)
  • Gaming
  • Use values in semiotic spaces for blending
 
 

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Conclusions 

  • Reasonably comprehensive notion of style
  • But formalization is modeling & implementation tool, not privileged as ��real��
  • Limited sense of history can reside in domains
  • One sense of evolution is iterative refinement of optimality principles
  • Not interested in autonomy: not a goal to explicitly encode personal & social history (��GOFAI��)
  • Adequate for  reductionist notions of style, but recognizes situated nature of style
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