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Re: OWL "Sydney Syntax", structured english

From: Kaarel Kaljurand <kaljurand@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 1 Dec 2006 21:30:27 +0100
Message-ID: <161f6fb70612011230i7e717955y48287179b66e1003@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Adrian Walker" <adriandwalker@gmail.com>
Cc: public-owl-dev@w3.org


On 11/30/06, Adrian Walker <adriandwalker@gmail.com> wrote:
>  That said, my misgivings about  the grammar-dictionary approach to
> translating English into executable logic remain.
>  Your initial example works fine.  Then,  I make a minor change to
> John+likes+someone+if+that+person+owns+a+car.
>  and I get
>  <messages>
>  <message importance="error" type="sentence" sentence="1" token=""
> value="John likes someone if that person owns a car ." repair="This is the
> first sentence that was not ACE. Please rephrase it!"/>
>  </messages>

Yes. ACE is a controlled natural language i.e. many English sentences are
not ACE sentences. Your sentence has an
"if" in the middle of the sentence and an anaphoric reference "that person",
ACE doesn't allow those constructs.
In ACE you'd have to use any of the following equivalent sentences:

John likes everybody who owns a car.
Everybody who owns a car is liked by John.
If somebody owns a car then John likes him.
If somebody X owns a car then John likes X.

I agree that the error message is not particularly useful, we're working on it.
(Note that some approaches, e.g. PENG use a look-ahead editor which
blocks the user from entering syntactically illegal texts.)

>  So, are you optimistic that this would scale up to, say, inputting the
> knowledge for the example in [1]?

ACE can't handle unrestricted English, in this sense it doesn't scale.
Regarding the content of your example, I think ACE can express all of
it, apart from the computations (i.e. things like a + b = c).

>  If not, are there other kinds of tasks where the approach will be valuable?

Earlier I described a scenario in which  a user verbalizes an existing OWL
ontology and modifies it in the "ACE mode". It's harder to violate the
ACE syntax
in this scenario as you're working with an existing text which shows you how
sentences are phrased.

I think that having a real grammar is important. Support for things like
verb phrase negation, quantifiers "every" and "no", relative clauses,
etc, let you write
nice and compact sentences. It's important at least for verbalization.
Also, you get a notion of syntactic variety which you can use in
paraphrasing, e.g.
you can paraphrase if-then sentences as every-sentences and relative clauses
as full clauses (without leaving the language). If the paraphrase matches the
user's intention then he gets a feeling that things are under control.

I played with the Internet Business Logic. The idea is elegant. But is
it useful?
Have you done studies showing that people prefer IBL to, say,  Prolog.

Received on Friday, 1 December 2006 20:30:41 GMT

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