Why does language matter to artificial intelligence?

Marcelo Dascal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Artificial intelligence, conceived either as an attempt to provide models of human cognition or as the development of programs able to perform 'intelligent' tasks, is primarily interested in the uses of language. It should be concerned, therefore, with pragmatics. But its concern with pragmatics should not be restricted to the narrow, traditional conception of pragmatics as the theory of communication (or of the social uses of language). In addition to that, AI should take into account also the 'mental' uses of language (in reasoning, for example) and the 'existential' dimensions of language as a determiner of the world we (and our computers) live in. In this paper, the relevance of these three branches of pragmatics-sociopragmatics, psychopragmatics, and ontopragmatics-for AI are explored.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-174
Number of pages30
JournalMinds and Machines
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1992


  • AI, pragmatics
  • Turing Test
  • context
  • dream
  • humor
  • interpretation
  • language
  • meaning
  • mind
  • ontopragmatics
  • psychopragmatics
  • reasoning
  • sociopragmatics


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