This is a description of research in developing a natural language processing system with modular knowledge sources but strongly interactive processing. The system offers insights into a variety of linguistic phenomena and allows easy testing of a variety of hypotheses. Language interpretation takes place on a activation network which is dynamically created from input, recent context, and long-term knowledge. Initially ambiguous and unstable, the network
settles on a single interpretation, using a parallel, analog relaxation process. We also describe a parallel model for the representation of context and of the priming of concepts. Examples illustrating contextual influence on meaning interpretation and “semantic garden path” sentence processing, among other issues, are included.