RE: [WNET],[OEP] OntoWordNet. A new large OWL ontology

Cyc has a pretty good lexical ontology.  Almost all the cyc terms have a 
corresponding set of lexical entries.  Of course the camel-cased names 
themselves cannot be used for any kind of lexical information - they are 
not intended to be anything other than unique names that convey some 
meaning to human readers - but they are linked to an MT that does contain 
(usually quite good and reliable) lexical information.  There is also a 
mapping in Cyc to WordNet.

I really have no idea why you're mentioning Cyc in this context.  The 
discussion should stay focused on Wordnet in OWL. 


Dr. Christopher A. Welty, Knowledge Structures Group
IBM Watson Research Center, 19 Skyline Dr., Hawthorne, NY  10532     USA   
Voice: +1 914.784.7055,  IBM T/L: 863.7055, Fax: +1 914.784.7455
Email:, Web:

"Govoni, Darren" <> 
Sent by:
02/25/2005 07:37 AM

"Aldo Gangemi" <>, "Uschold, Michael F" 
RE: [WNET],[OEP] OntoWordNet. A new large OWL ontology

I would add that a 'good' lexical ontology adheres to an _internally 
consistent_ formal language with formal parsing rules that work across the 
ontology. In the case of wordnet, its the english language (ok, I know 
about all the grammatical nuances of natural language that could be 
inconsistent). Look at something like CYC. Sure, it has concepts that are 
_mostly_ human readable, but it by NO means follows a consistent format. 
Example. I have an easy concept 'Terrorism'. Its parsable and conforms to 
natural language. It's a simple word. You also will find 'TerrorismEvent' 
or wierd things like 'DefiningMT', which are not words and do not follow a 
strict lexicon or set of parse rules (using camel-case parsing might get 
you a long way in CYC, but since its not internally consistent it breaks 
at some point). Therefore, I would NOT refer to CYC as a lexical ontology, 
even though most of the concepts can be interpreted by a human - its not 
without a bit of human processing to decipher them and those rules may 


-----Original Message-----
From: Aldo Gangemi []
Sent: Fri 2/25/2005 3:59 AM
To: Uschold, Michael F; Govoni, Darren
Subject: Spam:RE: [WNET],[OEP] OntoWordNet. A new large OWL ontology

At 12:52 -0800 24-02-2005, Uschold, Michael F wrote:
>Thanks for the definition of a lexical ontology.
>It seems to be rooted not in the nature of the beast, but more in
>the nature of how the beast is created, and to an extent, what it is
>intended to be used for.
>IF the starting point is a bunch of words or phrases that one wants
>to have a model of, *and*
>IF if the intended use entails [somethign like] language parsing, or
>lexical analysis of some sort... then one is more likley to call it
>a lexical ontology.
>On retrofitting 'lexical' terms to an otherwise non-lexical ontology...
>I suppose one shoudl always be able to come up with phrases that
>correspond to the meaning of the concepts in any ontology.
>Im not sure it helps or explains much to say this makes it a
>'lexical ontology', since the phrases are kind of invented, not
>arising from an existing lexicon.

yes, that's a point: how much ontology organization depends on
linguistic normalization? maybe three layers:

1) whatever lexicalization the designer likes in order to catch its
intuition ("kind of invented", actually: "subjective")
2) lexicalization emerging from learning procedures (not invented,
but neither "normalized" or "conventional", actually: "observable")
3) conventional or normalized lexicalization through lexicographic
procedures (actually: "agreed")

I think each layer has its own original motivation, as well as
ontologies have. I've a taste for 2) whenever possible, but when
strong negotiation is required, 1) is better, and there is so much
existing in 3)!
Let alone the encrusted meta-talk from philosophy, linguistics,
lexicography, etc., which has its own independent life.


>-----Original Message-----
>From: Aldo Gangemi []
>Sent: Thursday, February 24, 2005 8:14 AM
>To: Uschold, Michael F; Govoni, Darren
>Subject: RE: [WNET],[OEP] OntoWordNet. A new large OWL ontology
>I agree with Mike: reliability and the right analytic detail for the
>task at hand are the essential requisites for a good ontology.
>How to get them, it's another story. How to measure them, still
>another. WordNet can be good for its generality, which is also its
>weakness. That's why the TF contains an activity aimed at indicating
>how to use WordNet to create something else. In the meantime,
>WordNet seems to be useful in many cases.
>Concerning lexical ontologies, there is a quite straightforward
>definition: if the elements of an ontology (classes, properties, and
>individuals, possibly axioms) depend primarily on the acceptance of
>existing lexical entries, the ontology can be called "lexical".
>WordNet, formal or not, it's such a case.
>But one can force this statement, by saying that if one is able to
>build a comprehensible paraphrase in some natural language of each
>ontology element, then that's a linguistically-sound ontology. Which
>holds for most (if not all) ontologies.
>Therefore, "lexical" depends on the agreement of lexicographers. In
>fact, if we use an ontology learning technique from corpora, and
>state the boundaries of lexical units according to dynamic
>functional properties, such an ontology would be very different from
>a "lexical" ontology.
>At 7:49 -0800 24-02-2005, Uschold, Michael F wrote:
>>I have not seen any good definitions clarifying the difference
>>between a 'lexical ontology' vs. other kinds of ontologies.
>"ontology=taxonomy with relations" is as good or better than any
>other view of an ontology, for the sake of discussion.
>However, the more important issue is not what is or is not an
>ontology, but rather, what purpose any 'ontology-like artifact'
>Insofar as WN hyper/hyponymy links are inaccuarte, WN will not be
>reliable for supporting tasks that require reliable taxonomic
>Insofar as WN lacks relation, WN will not provide good support for
>tasks that require them.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Govoni, Darren []
>Sent: Wednesday, February 23, 2005 10:52 AM
>To: Uschold, Michael F; Aldo Gangemi;
>Subject: RE: [WNET],[OEP] OntoWordNet. A new large OWL ontology
>    I haven't chimed in much recently, but I've been working with
>WordNet, CYC and various ontologies here at McDonald Bradley for a
>while. I even made an OWL version of WordNet about a year ago.
>    To the point on whether Wordnet is an ontology, I offer my
>opinion based on this, rather simple definition of ontology
>(forgetting where I first learned it). ontology=taxonomy with
>I see WordNet as something of a lexical ontology. I lacks some of
>the machine esoteric, existential abstractions that something like
>CYC has. Mileage varies on the utility of that, IMO.
>Insomuch as the various OWL models we use manifest in much the same
>form (nodes or concepts connected by relations), our WordNet OWL
>model is every bit identical in nature to our CYC one. In our
>graphical ontology browser, they have exactly the same structure.
>That is, a graph (and RDF triples). Hard core ontologists will claim
>an ontology is a more formalized class/property/abstraction model
>(like CYC) whereas WordNet dismisses generic abstractions in favor
>of lexical symbols (i.e. human readble). Personally, I don't find
>the difference to be terribly salient. Plato basically posited words
>to be abstract symbols anyway.
>What we've found is that regardless of what you call it most
>ontologies are suitable up to a point before extending, modifying or
>mapping them to accomplish a goal is necessary. But that is not
>really a measure of 'ontology-ness', IMO.
>Just my thoughts.
>Senior Architect
>McDonald Bradley
>-----Original Message-----
>From: on behalf of Uschold, Michael F
>Sent: Wed 2/23/2005 1:04 PM
>To: Aldo Gangemi;
>Subject: RE: [WNET],[OEP] OntoWordNet. A new large OWL ontology
>Here are a few thoughts about WordNet and ontologies gathered during
>last week's Dagstuhl Workshop on: Machine Learning for the Semantic Web
>The use of WN is more and more prevalent these days, especially among
>those working with ontologies.
>However, WN is designed as a lexical resource, not an ontology; it was
>never intended to be an ontology.
>Anyone who tries to use WN as an ontology quickly discovers that many of
>the hyper/hyponymy links are not proper taxonomic links at all.  This
>raises the question as to whether and when WN should be used as an
>ontology at all.
>If you try to use a knife as a can-opener - beware. It sort of works
>kinda, but you need to be careful.
>I dont have an opinion on this, but thought I'd report on these views
>that I learned of.
>It would be useful to have something to say on this point in the TF
>         -----Original Message-----
>         From: Aldo Gangemi
>         Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2005 12:35 AM
>         To:
>         Cc: Uschold, Michael F;;;
>         Subject: [WNET],[OEP] OntoWordNet. A new large OWL ontology
>         Hi all,
>         second message for new [WNET] files.
>         This message is about a new version of the WordNet datamodel
>that we started modelling months ago. First versions were encoded by
>Guus Schreiber and Brian McBride. This version (3) has been enlarged,
>commented, and checked after the original WordNet specifications by me.
>It's downloadable from:
>Extensive documentation from original sources, and about the work
>carried out, is contained in the OWL file.
>         Best
>         Aldo
>         --
>         Aldo Gangemi
>         Research Scientist
>         Laboratory for Applied Ontology
>         Institute for Cognitive Sciences and Technology
>         National Research Council (ISTC-CNR)
>         Via Nomentana 56, 00161, Roma, Italy
>         Tel: +390644161535
>         Fax: +390644161513
>         *******************
>         !!! please don't use the old
>         address, because it is under spam attack
>Aldo Gangemi
>Research Scientist
>Laboratory for Applied Ontology
>Institute for Cognitive Sciences and Technology
>National Research Council (ISTC-CNR)
>Via Nomentana 56, 00161, Roma, Italy
>Tel: +390644161535
>Fax: +390644161513
>!!! please don't use the old
>address, because it is under spam attack


Aldo Gangemi
Research Scientist
Laboratory for Applied Ontology
Institute for Cognitive Sciences and Technology
National Research Council (ISTC-CNR)
Via Nomentana 56, 00161, Roma, Italy
Tel: +390644161535
Fax: +390644161513

!!! please don't use the old
address, because it is under spam attack

Received on Friday, 25 February 2005 13:30:01 UTC