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RE: OWL "Sydney Syntax", structured english

From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 2006 14:44:41 -0600
To: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Cc: John McClure <jmcclure@hypergrove.com>, Kaarel Kaljurand <kaljurand@gmail.com>, Anne Cregan <annec@cse.unsw.edu.au>, public-owl-dev@w3.org
Message-Id: <1164833081.3997.1331.camel@dirk>

On Wed, 2006-11-29 at 13:58 -0600, Pat Hayes wrote:
[...]
> >In the RoleNoun pattern, the verb is a generic/implicit 'has';
> >rather than
> >
> >   Dan knows Pat.
> >
> >we write
> >
> >   Dan has acquaintance Pat.
> >
> >In N3, we allow the 'has' to be left out:
> >
> >   Dan acquaintance Pat.
> 
> Well, I rest my case. If this is natural English then Im a Dutchman. 

N3 is sort of a middle ground between English and Javascript, I suppose.
I guess I'm getting several conversations mangled together.

Your make a good point about the breadth of RDF and the questionable
utility of standardizing any one idiom for property naming. Stepping
back a bit,

  1) Yes, by all means, keep URIs out of the user interface altogether;
   let people use uuids or random numbers for their property URIs
   if they like.

   corrollary: let's attach labels to properties for purposes like
    user interfaces, rendering to prose, etc.

 2) uuids and random numbers don't go so well with the "view source"
   effect in the web. syntax matters, especially to early adopters.
   For these purposes, I find role nouns to be very convenient.

 3) with regard to structured english, I have very little 1st hand
    experience. I'm just exploring.


> And try this for properties corresponding to more active 
> relationships, eg authorship. Start with Pat wrote/authored 
> RDFSemantics, and keep the subject/object ordering. What word do you 
> use after the has?

I'd use the is/of to invert the sense:

 Pat is author of RDFSemantics.

> Hmm, actually you could say 'has written', I guess, but I think that 
> is cheating.

Quite; written isn't a role noun.

>  It inverts to 'RDFSemantics is written of Pat'  which 
> has the wrong preposition, but I guess one could get used to it (?). 
> Or you could just allow 'is <P> by'  as an alternative inversion 
> pattern.

is/of is what we use in N3.

> >>  To me, the restriction to nouns would need some supporting rationale.
> >>  How can one express a proposition using only nouns? My mother's name
> >>  is Betty. What does one say? Betty Motherhood Pat?
> >
> >Pat has mother Betty.
> 
> What is the logic of why it should be this way round? I was writing 
> the mother last, not first. Why did you invert it?

I had just made the point that role nouns work either way. If
you prefer:

 Betty is mother of Pat.


> >which harks to javascript/C++ a la
> >
> >  Pat.mother = Betty.
> 
> True, but javascript hardly qualifies as a human natural language. 

I meant it as an example of a syntax that enjoys the "view source"
effect in the web today. I guess I'm muddling different conversations
together again.

[...]

> BTW, the way we render OWL in COE is pretty simple.

COE? Sorry, what's that? Looks interesting.


-- 
Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/
D3C2 887B 0F92 6005 C541  0875 0F91 96DE 6E52 C29E
Received on Wednesday, 29 November 2006 20:45:02 GMT

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