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Use of 'that' to express reification in N3 type languages.

From: Seth Russell <seth@robustai.net>
Date: Sun, 22 Jul 2001 14:54:54 -0700
Message-ID: <004101c112f8$f2624380$b17ba8c0@c1457248a.sttls1.wa.home.com>
To: "RDF-IG" <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>
Cc: "SEM-DEV" <sem-dev@yahoogroups.com>
It is very tedious to write out the entire RDF reification quad when
expressing reified statements. Since N3 type languages, like Semenglish [2],
are designed to allow for easy reading and writing; and since it  is
important for us to be able to express statements about statements, it
behooves us to find some easy and obvious way to express reification.  Well
English has a easy way of doing just that with the word 'that'.  I don't see
why this 'that' will not work as a key word syntactic trick for our N3 type
languages.

The Backus-Naur for this would be:
ReifiedStatement ::= 'that' '('  Subject Verb Object ')'
Please see [2] for the complete Bacus Naur definition of Semenglish.
[2] http://robustai.net/mentography/SyntaxSemenglish7.gif

Here  is an example of using 'that' for reification - expressed in
mentography at :
[1] http://robustai.net/mentography/reification1.gif
and in Semenglish as follows:

Seth thinks that (Gore wonThe Election) .
Seth thinks that ( that (Gore wonThe Election) is True).
that (Gore wonThe Election) is False.

... and to relieve the contradiction we can use context as below ...

Reality
     isContext {
     that (Gore wonThe Election) is False}.
(What Seth thinks) isContext {
     Seth thinks that (Gore wonThe Election).
     Seth thinks that (that (Gore wonThe Election is True))}.

Note that the phrase (What Seth thinks) above is not a reified statement
because it is not preceded by the key word 'that'.  In Semenglish things
enclosed in parenthesis can be either:

1 - Just compound names
2 - Reified statements, if the parenthesis is preceded with the key word
'that'
3 - KIF type prefix notation if the parenthesis is preceded with the key
word 'exp'

For some further examples of Semenglish expressions please see [3].

[3] http://robustai.net/mentography/Expressions.gif

For a model of the common BacusNaur expressions used in [2] please see [4].

[4] http://robustai.net/mentography/SyntaxBacusNaur1.gif

And now to toot my horn.  I believe that Semenglish is not only the most
complete and consistent of all the RDF serialization languages, but is also
the easiest to read and write.   Your contra examples, of course, are
anxiously solicited; or alternatively expressing the example [1] in N3 might
prove an interesting exercise.

Semenglish now boasts the following advantages:

1) It can be nested in XML.
2) It has a natural way to express reification.
3) It can express KIF style prefix notation allowing for the expression of
mathematical and logical statements without needing to assign URI to the
anonymously nested clauses.

Thanks in advance for you serious consideration of these matters and for
your tolerance of my pentimento [5] in designing the syntax of Semenglish.

[5] http://www.wyldearth.com/pentimento.html

.. help as always appreciated, but not expected.

Seth Russell
Received on Sunday, 22 July 2001 18:03:17 GMT

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