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Re: ISSUE-12 On languages and datatypes

From: David Wood <david@3roundstones.com>
Date: Mon, 13 Jun 2011 13:36:38 -0400
Cc: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>, RDF WG <public-rdf-wg@w3.org>
Message-Id: <46938163-1B6D-4D7A-889C-C6D468E4FE0B@3roundstones.com>
To: William Waites <ww@styx.org>
On Jun 9, 2011, at 09:30, William Waites wrote:

> * [2011-06-08 21:04:44 -0500] Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us> écrit:
> 
> ] I once thought so, but now I disagree. To borrow a term from 
> ] hilosophy, we have to look at the identity conditions. "chat"
> ] in French is a **different word** than "chat" in English. Same
> ] string, different word. Ergo, the words are not the same as 
> ] the strings. 
> 
> Yes.
> 
> ] And indeed, once you look at it carefully, they aren't strings,
> ] exactly because they are *in a language*. They aren't just strings 
> ] of characters, they are language texts. Formally, a pair of a
> ] string and a language is not the same kind of thing as a simple 
> ] string. "Le chat est sur le table" and "fhk frus fns noeptr k" are
> ] just two strings, nothing to particularly choose one over the other,
> ] but "Le chat est sur le table"@fr and "fhk frus fns noeptr k"@fr are 
> ] very different. Something that understands the tag might well treat
> ] the second one as an error.
> 
> Kind of. They are still strings, just strings drawn from some lexicon.
> All writing systems for all languages (I can't think of a
> counter-example) use sequences of characters.


Quipu [1] have been suspected by various researchers of having encoded language, not just numbers.  Since that would require some orthogonal information, one might call them "codes" not "languages", but the point remains.

We already have exactly this situation with RDF plain literals and xsd:strings:

some:subject rdfs:label "chat" ;
       skos:prefLabel "chat"^^xsd:string .

Are those labels cat or chat?  We don't know and we already admit it.  Ergo (as Pat says :), the argument about meaning inside strings is a non sequitur.  To my mind, that allows us to represent language tags using any of the discussed approaches.  There is no OWL entailment in RDF, nor any meaning within strings devoid of context.


Regards,
Dave

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quipu
Received on Monday, 13 June 2011 17:37:19 GMT

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