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

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 16 May 2008 11:42:33 -0400
Message-id: <482DAB69.2090203@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Ravi,    (01)

I certainly agree that Panini's grammar was a very important
contribution, and I also realize that it has some important
advantages for parsing Sanskrit and modern Indian languages
as well.    (02)

But Sanskrit is still a natural language that was spoken
by human beings for the purpose of communication with
other human beings.  Therefore, even with only a minimal
knowledge of Sanskrit, I can safely predict that it has
the same kinds of properties as all other natural languages
on planet earth:  a heavy dependence on semantics and
background knowledge for interpretation.    (03)

 > Again I am trying to separate interpretation ... from inherent
 > computational properties of the language without needing the
 > help of people for machine interpretability based on inherent
 > documented rules of grammar or dictionary (verb, noun and case
 > understanding etc.).    (04)

The syntax of English and other NLs is very well understood,
and there are excellent parsers that process NL syntax very
well in English and many other common languages.  All the
remaining issues depend on having good ways of relating
semantics to the syntax.  Much of the research on ontology
is directed toward developing and using semantic resources.    (05)

Panini's grammar is valuable for developing parsers for
Sanskrit and modern Indian languages.  For languages
with a different kind of grammar, such as English,
a Panini-style grammar cannot be used because English
has lost almost all the inflectional markers of the
ancient Indoeuropean languages, such as Sanskrit.    (06)

John    (07)

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