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Re: [ontolog-forum] FW: A different approach to ontology

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 09 May 2008 17:58:58 -0400
Message-id: <4824C922.9020406@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Alan,    (01)

A formal ontology is a prerequisite for a formal language
of any kind.  Many controlled NLs are just versions of logic
that use the vocabulary and syntax of some natural language.    (02)

AM> Is there a practical difference between a sufficiently
 > formally defined controlled NL and a formally defined ontology
 > in a language like KIF or CL variants?    (03)

The only difference is that a controlled NL is easier to read
than KIF, CLIF, OWL, predicate calculus, etc.  In effect, a
controlled NL is similar to the comments that are usually
attached to formal languages.   In effect, CNL can eliminate
the need for much of the commenting that is necessary with
other languages.  However, it is still necessary to have some
comments to explain *why*.  The CNL explains *what* in a readable
way, but it is still necessary to answer questions about purpose.    (04)

AM> If the language has a formal logical backing, is it possible
 > to define controlled NL's that can take advantage of translation
 > and inference technologies?    (05)

If a controlled NL is defined as "syntactic sugar" for some formal
language (such as Common Logic), exactly the same inference mechanisms
used for the base logic are used for the controlled NL.    (06)

AM> Humans have been defining (to some degree) controlled languages
 > in most technical fields for many years and some define them more
 > precisely (or formally) than others. Are we at a point yet where
 > we have tools to do the same things with controlled NL's that we
 > (want to) do with logical languages like KIF or CL variants?
 > What is possible today?    (07)

There is a range of variation of controlled NLs, see    (08)

Controlled Natural Languages - Homepage    (09)

Those that are *exactly* equivalent to some formal language can
use exactly the same tools.  Those that aren't can't.    (010)

John    (011)

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