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[ontolog-forum] Controlled Natural Languages for Semantic Systems

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 01 Sep 2009 22:19:06 -0400
Message-id: <4A9DD61A.9010604@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Over the past few years, I have made many comments on a wide range
of topics, but they have all addressed specific issues that came
up in various threads.  In July, I presented a 3 hour tutorial on
the topic of controlled natural languages and their relationship
to a wide variety of semantic systems.  Since then, I have revised
and extended the slides to cover more issues related to language,
logic, ontology, and methodologies for developing semantic systems.    (01)

The result is a presentation of 128 slides that survey many issues
we have discussed in this forum and their implications for the way
semantic systems are developed, used, and integrated with legacy
systems and with each other:    (02)

    Controlled Natural Languages for Semantic Systems    (03)

At the end of this note, I include three slides that give
a brief summary of the point of view and the topics covered.    (04)

John Sowa
_______________________________________________________________    (05)

Slide 2:    (06)

Directions to Explore    (07)

1. What are controlled natural languages (CNLs)?    (08)

2. What are semantic systems?    (09)

3. Common Logic and its mapping to and from CNLs.    (010)

4. CNLs as a bridge between NLs and formal systems.    (011)

5. Methodologies and missed opportunities.    (012)

6. Full natural language, jargon, slang, and folksonomies.    (013)

7. How can semantic systems facilitate the interoperability
and integration of all systems, independently of the language,
tools, or methodology with which they were implemented?
_______________________________________________________________    (014)

Slide 126:    (015)

Interfaces to Semantic Systems    (016)

All computer systems, including legacy systems, are becoming
semantic systems that directly or indirectly access the WWW.    (017)

Different people require different interfaces:    (018)

* Casual users – anybody who opens an unfamiliar application.    (019)

* Subject matter experts who are updating a knowledge base.    (020)

* IT professionals who must address the internal representations.    (021)

The terminology of a subject is the key to interoperability:    (022)

* SMEs are the people who know the subject matter.    (023)

* Their terminology is the basis for all communications about
the subject among people and computer systems.    (024)

* Their primary interface must be a CNL that is automatically
translated to and from any internal knowledge representations.    (025)

* The technology for doing those translations was a research
topic thirty years ago, but it has been deployed in many
practical systems today.
_______________________________________________________________    (026)

Slide 127:    (027)

Conclusions    (028)

The logicians Peirce, Whitehead, and Wittgenstein    (029)

* Had the highest regard for the precision of logic and
mathematics,    (030)

* Observed that the starting assumptions for logic and ontology
are based on prelogical insights expressed in ordinary language.    (031)

Semantic systems are based on the semantics of communication    (032)

* Among people in ordinary language,    (033)

* Between people and computers in ordinary language,    (034)

* Among computers in categories expressible in ordinary language.    (035)

Technology available today can    (036)

* Translate controlled NLs to and from computable notations,    (037)

* Find and extract significant patterns from unrestricted NLs.    (038)

Methodologies for developing and using semantic systems should
take advantage of technology for NLs, controlled and unrestricted.    (039)

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