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Re: [ontolog-forum] tasteful tags...

To: Sergei Nirenburg <sergei@xxxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2007 12:06:48 -0600
Message-id: <p0623090cc2175024f105@[]>
>I tend to agree with John on the chances of ever
>having uniformly standardized shared terminology.
>Unless there is an informal standard driven by
>economics or the government, terminology options
>will continue to proliferate, both within English and
>across languages.
>The original meanings of words are anything but sacred.
>Semantic shift is an ongoing diachronic linguistic phenomenon
>that is not about to stop. Indeed, the original meaning of
>'bureau' marked in dictionaries of etymology as ' cloth cover
>for desks' (see 
>e.g., <http://www.yourdictionary.com/ahd/b/b0557300.html>http://www.yourdictionary.com/ahd/b/b0557300.html).
>The process of fossilizing metaphors and metonymies is ever
>present in human language use...
>Acceptance or non-acceptance of terminology is an interesting
>sociological phenomenon in itself, but it's not central to our enterprise.    (01)

I think I disagree. The emergence of the SWeb has 
brought it to the center. See below.    (02)

>So, my ontology's term set will, I believe, 
>always be different from that of your ontology
>[Pat: note the possessive without ownership]. Moreover, any surface
>similarities in terminology are, in fact, dangerous, because formally
>a concept named, say, vehicle, in several ontologies will typically
>mean different things in each.    (03)

Allow me to again point out one of the minor but 
important initiatives of the semantic web. 
Because concept names in Sweb formalisms are 
required to be URIreferences (or more recently 
IRIs, which subsumes the former), they are 
*globally* unique. So if you and I both use say, 
vehicle, that will in fact be something like
in your ontology and
in mine; *unless* (and this is the second 
initiative) I have consciously and deliberately 
re-used your concept name in my ontology, or you 
have done to mine, or perhaps we have both 
decided to re-use a concept from some other more 
widely used ontology published by someone else.    (04)

Such re-use of globally unique concepts is part 
of the basic fabric of the semantic web, and it 
brings an entirely new approach to questions of 
how to establish mappings between formalized 
concepts. For the first time, these are embedded 
in a kind of social fabric of their own, so that 
the mechanisms of linguistic meaning change can 
begin to happen between them directly, rather 
than having to be mediated by human use of human 
language.    (05)

Pat    (06)

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