|From:||Ali Hashemi <ali.hashemi+ontolog@xxxxxxxxxxx>|
|Date:||Fri, 22 Jan 2010 02:55:40 -0500|
A good place to start to understand what is meant by syntax / semantics etc is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semiotics or http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/peirce-semiotics/
(The first is easier to read but less precise, the latter is much more comprehensive, but might be in a slightly less accessible language)
Very briefly, people communicate in natural languages which computers are really bad at understanding. While it's (usually) not hard for people to understand the semantics in natural language, computers often lack the necessary "background" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Searle#Intentionality_and_the_Background ) to do so.
To partially address this issue, the Semantic Web is trying to convert much of that content into a machine readable form. Since natural language processing is still lacking, we use syntax which is less natural to humans but easier to parse for computers. One such syntax currently championed by the W3C is RDF. RDF on its own is simply syntax -- it defines rules for how signs are connected to one another; ultimately, it is still up to the ontologist / user to define the semantics of what is written in the RDF syntax.
There is something called RDFS which _does_ include some semantics, but not in the sense of the car example you provided earlier. In general, these languages are all varieties of logics, usually less/more expressive variations of first order logic - a language which one can use to (ideally) precisely specify the semantics of an idea / domain / concept with minimal ambiguity.
So to answer your question: syntax on it's own simply provides rules for how signs are connected to one another. Semantics goes one step further, and specifies the acceptable connections between these signs AND their referents.
I would strongly encourage you to read the wiki and stanford philo encyclopedia to familiarize yourself with the basics. I think those documents would answer a lot of your ensuing questions.
On Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 12:57 AM, Phani Chaitanya <vsr.phanichaitanya@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
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