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Re: Subjects as Literals

From: Jeremy Carroll <jeremy@topquadrant.com>
Date: Tue, 06 Jul 2010 19:36:25 -0700
Message-ID: <4C33E829.8040707@topquadrant.com>
To: Hugh Glaser <hg@ecs.soton.ac.uk>
CC: Sampo Syreeni <decoy@iki.fi>, David Booth <david@dbooth.org>, Kingsley Idehen <kidehen@openlinksw.com>, "nathan@webr3.org" <nathan@webr3.org>, Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>, Toby Inkster <tai@g5n.co.uk>, Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>, Linked Data community <public-lod@w3.org>, Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>
  On 7/5/2010 3:40 PM, Hugh Glaser wrote:
> A particular problem in this realm has been characterised as
> S-P-O v. O-R-O and I suspect that this reflects a Semantic Web/Linked Data
> cultural difference,
> You see this as a problem of having a literal in the "subject" position.
> I might equally decide it is a problem with having literal in the "object"
> position.
> Literals are literals wherever they appear - they have no deeper semantics,
> and they certainly do not identify anything other than the literal that they
> are, if that makes sense.

> Ah, perhaps the nub.
> The "subject" is no more the thing "being talked about" than the "object".
> I am not asking for symmetry of the grammar, if I understand what you mean.
> I am asking for the freedom to express the statements I want in the way I
> want, so that I can query the way I want.
> At the risk of repeating myself:
> If someone wants to say "666" foo:isTheNumberOf bar:theBeast
> and I have to tell them (as I do) ah, you can't say that, you need to
> introduce a resource numbers:666 rdfs:label "666". ...
> or  bar:theBeast foo:hasNumber "666"
> I actually feel pretty stupid, having told them that RDF represents
> relations in a natural and basic way.
> In fact, I always feel a bit embarrassed when I get to the bit in my slides
> that shows there are two sorts of triples, as I have just said that the
> triples are just a directed graph.

Just to mischievously throw a further linguistic spanner in the works ....
(maybe that's a troll alert)


If we consider RDF as an ergative language, then the first position is 
necessarily an agent, and moreover, literals MUST NOT be agents


(My first research paper was on the Basque auxiliary verb, see Carroll 
and Abaitua 1990)

This would have interesting consequences for n-ary predicates

Received on Wednesday, 7 July 2010 02:36:59 UTC

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