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Re: Semantic Document Framework(s)

From: Arjun Ray <aray@q2.net>
Date: Thu, 9 Nov 2000 21:31:07 -0500 (EST)
To: www-rdf-interest@w3.org, www-talk@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.21.0011092113120.11232-100000@info.q2.net>
On 9 Nov 2000 ssarkar@ayushnet.com wrote:
> On Thu, 09 November 2000, "Nic Ferrier" wrote:

>> There is a natural language that is computer parsable... I can't
>> remember what it's called though.
> Sanskrit is the language from ancient India.  It is the language
> of Aryans

Not really.  That would be the dialects that make up "Vedic", of which
Sanskrit is a derivative.  In fact, Sanskrit is not really a natural
language (as Vedic was), but a constructed one.  

The literal meaning of 'Sanskrit' is 'well-formed'.:)

> It seems to be the best known language for computer parsing having
> least ambiguity in its grammer.

Yes, thanks to Panini (fl. 350 BCE) who encapsulated the grammar -
including the exceptions to the rules, and the exceptions to the
exceptions! - in about 3000 aphoristic sentences.  He used a somewhat
algebraic system, so in some ways his grammar is also generative.

(Panini's work was so accurate and comprehensive that practically all
of the previous works, in the long tradition of which he was a late
inheritor, have been lost.  Sanskrit has been "Sanskrit according to
Panini" since his time.)

However, Sanskrit still has considerable ambiguity: _samasa_ or word
compounding loses inflective particles and thus the grammatical case
relationships between the parts.  That's one of the major reasons for
the vast corpus of commentaries on Sanskrit works - to explain (or in
some cases, simply assert) the usages.

[Wildly off-topic, I know.  Sorry.]

Received on Thursday, 9 November 2000 21:18:44 UTC

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