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Re: [ontolog-forum] Consensus on labeling of relationships?

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>, doug@xxxxxxxxxx
From: Phil Murray <pcmurray2000@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 22 May 2013 11:08:41 -0400
Message-id: <519CDF79.9030902@xxxxxxxxx>

 >> Is there any consensus in the KR community on best practices
 >> for labeling relationships among objects?
 >> And a closely related question: Why English?    (01)

[John Sowa]
 > Short answers:
 >   For #1, no, but there are frequently used options.
 >   For #2, because the people who are writing most of the documents
 >   about the topic are writing in English.    (02)

True, but that doesn't address the issue of whether English is
appropriate or optimal for this purpose.    (03)

[JS]    (04)

 > Depending on your point of view, 'of' and 'have' can be considered
 > highly ambiguous, or they can be considered to have one simple
 > core meaning: they show that there exists some relation between
 > two noun phrases.    (05)

But that's my point. Don't you want to be as specific as possible?
"Some relation" is a good starting point. However, in most cases,
it's not the best possible description of a particular relationship.    (06)

"hasDisease" and "hasPossession" are much better. But they're not
English. They are a part of a special vocabulary with roots in English.
Users have to read the documentation, as Doug noted elsewhere.    (07)

The same applies to English-based Controlled Natural Languages.    (08)

I think there's room for better solutions -- solutions that
could also be applied in disciplines that are not normally
discussed in this forum.    (09)

Semantics is everywhere.    (010)

[Doug Foxvog]    (011)

 >> [Phil Murray] +10 !
 >> ...
 >> So I, too, am uncomfortable with the habit of using English as the
 >> default language of representations of meaning.    (012)

[DF]    (013)

 > Would you prefer Latin?  ... Chinese?  ... semi-arbitrary alphanumeric
 > strings?  OBO uses the latter.  It is good to have mappings from
 > the terms to whatever language the users use.    (014)

[PM]    (015)

Latin. Hmm. Might be better, actually, but I think William may think it
is still too Indo-European.    (016)

I don't have a good answer, but I thought the terrific thinkers in
this forum might. That's why I asked.    (017)

[PM]    (018)

 >> If you are representing the meaning of a purchase ("John bought a book
 >> at books.com."), wouldn't _plays the role of Agent in_ or (perhaps even
 >> better) _participates as Agent in_ be better than "has_Agent"
 >> to represent the relationship between John and the statement of
 >> fact about John's activity?    (019)

 > No, that is worse.   There is a buying and a selling agent in the sale.
 > The appropriate role needs to be clarified.  The sale should be reified,
 > and relations specifying what is important(buyer, seller, object whose
 > ownership is transferred, recompense for the sale, location of event,
 > time of event, ...) should be made.    (020)

 > Note that English differentiates "to sell" from "to buy", "to borrow"
 > from "to lend", and "to give" from "to receive".  Finnish has a single
 > infinitive for each, and indicates (through case structure) who is on
 > the giving and receiving end.    (021)

That's interesting. Do Finnish-speakers think in more transactional terms
than English-speakers???    (022)

And Russian, if I remember correctly, has different verbs for buy
and sell ... as well as case-differentiation of Agent and Recipient.    (023)

Which leads me to an important qualification that, I think,
affected how you responded:    (024)

My example, "John bought a book at books.com." was meant as part of
a "narrative" [about stuff that someone observed had happened] -- that is,
I was thinking less about modeling the notion of "transaction" than about
who initiated the activity. That was my [unspoken, and therefore vague]
notion of Agent.    (025)

In this case, it's important to differentiate the role of Agent
(as a person who initiated an activity) from the role of Recipient
(or "source of products sought"?). I still prefer the notion of Concepts
"participating as [role] in" the meaning of complex ad hoc statements
about reality.    (026)

In other resources, the existence and precise specification of the
transaction may be sufficient ... or even preferable.    (027)

Examples in isolation or without adequate explanation are
treacherous. Apologies.    (028)

[William Frank, in response to Doug Foxvog's comment]    (029)

 >> Would you prefer Latin?  ... Chinese?  ... semi-arbitrary alphanumeric
 >> strings?  OBO uses the latter.  It is good to have mappings from
 >> the terms to whatever language the users use.    (030)

 > I do believe that this misses the intended point. It is not the
 > individual english words that are the problem, but rather the
 > inference that each word has a separate meaning, or that clusers
 > of english words, like 'has a', have any specific, non-contextual
 > meaning,    (031)

Yes. That's exactly what I meant ... and I wish that I had the
knowledge and expertise to say.    (032)

Thanks, all of you.    (033)

     Phil    (034)

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