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The taxonomic dictionary

1. The taxonomic dictionary content

A Gellish taxonomic dictionary, such as the dictionary of Formal English, is an electronic 'smart' dictionary and taxonomy and ontology. This means that it contains definitions of concepts, each of which is identified by a unique identifier (UID) and can be referenced by one or more 'names' (terms, including synonyms, abbreviations and codes) and includes relations between concepts, among others subtype-supertype relations. The vocabulary of the formal language, being the names of concepts, are mainly normal natural language terms, many of them can also be found in ordinary English dictionaries. All definitions satisfy the rules for proper definitions of concepts in Gellish. This means that every concept not only has a textual definition, but also that they have at least an explicit relation with its supertype concept(s) and thus together they form a consistent subtype-supertype hierarchy of concepts or taxonomy. The Gellish Modeling Methodology provides guidelines for the extension of the taxonomic dictionary and for the creation of taxonomic dictionaries or just vocabularies in other languages. Such extensions or replacements may lead to separate domain dictionaries for specialized application areas. As long as the common unique identifiers are used, the availability of vocabularies in various languages enable automated translation of Gellish expressions or presentations in a generalized user interface.

The Gellish basic language definition in the taxonomic dictionary of Formal English is free of charge available under Open Source conditions (through an Open Source License) via this website. Extended versions and various knowledge models are available for licensees or can be purchased via the webshop.

2. Definitions of kinds of relations

An essential section (domain) of the definitions in the taxonomic dictionary are the definitions of kinds of relations (also called relation types). Kinds of relations typically have 'phrases' as names, which phrases can be used in Gellish expressions. For example a composition relation has as name 'is a part of', which phrase can be used in a Gellish expression such as: A is a part of B. So the Gellish dictionary does not provide a definition of the separate words, like is, a, part and of, but it gives a definition of the whole phrase, because the phrase represents a concept. The section of the Gellish taxonomic dictionary that contains the collection of base ontology contains the definition of the standard kinds of relations of the Gellish languages. The kinds of relations currently have 'names' and 'Gellish phrases' in English and in Dutch (Nederlands). That section also contains definitions (and names) of the kinds of the roles that are played by objects in relations of those kinds and it contains definitions of the kinds of things that can play such roles. The definitions of kinds of relations also satisfy the rules for proper definitions of concepts in Gellish and thus form a consistent subtype-supertype hierarchy of kinds of relations. As all concepts in the dictionary, including the kinds of relations, roles and other kinds of things, are arranged in a subtype-supertype hierarchy of concepts, the Gellish dictionary is also a taxonomy. The collection expressions that form the base ontology in the dictionary composes the top of that subtype-supertype hierarchy of concepts. All other concepts in the dictionary are subtypes of those generic concepts. The data in the Gellish dictionary are stored in a Gellish database or file in Gellish Expression Format. The Gellish Expression Format is defined in the document 'The Gellish syntax and contextual facts'.

3. Overview of the dictionary content

The Gellish taxonomic dictionary defines concepts by expressing computer interpretable facts about the concepts. The prime expressions have the form of specialization relations or qualification relations. The facts are grouped in collections of facts that define domain specific subsets of the dictionary. In the current Gellish dictionary collections of facts can be distinguished about the following domains:

  • Generic concepts as required to define the Gellish grammar (especially the kinds of relations)
  • Documents, information and identification
  • Occurrences, events, activities and processes, including physical, chemical, and business processes.
  • Technology
    • Civil, building, furniture and structural technology
    • Static and heat transfer equipment technology
    • Rotation equipment technology
    • Transport technology, including rail, road, air and water transport
    • Piping technology
    • Connection and protection materials
    • Electrical technology
    • Control technology, including instrumentation
    • Facilities and systems
  • Geographic and marine objects
  • Biology, Organisms, persons and organizations
  • Business, procurement and financial objects
  • Aspects, characteristics, properties, qualities, and laws.
  • Qualitative and quantitative aspects (standard values)
  • Units of measure, scales and currencies
  • Symbols and annotation
  • Materials (substances), solids and fluids, chemicals and radiation
  • Mathematics and geometry (shapes)
  • Roles of aspects (intrinsic aspects)
  • Roles (usages, applications) of physical objects

Every concept is a subtype of a more generic concept, up to the top concept, called anything.
Lower in the hierarchy you will find the more specialized concepts as defined in engineering standards and in proprietary standards. Further specialized concepts, such as catalog items and manufacturer's models are again subtypes of more generalized concepts.

4. What makes the Gellish Dictionary a Smart Dictionary

A smart dictionary has a number of characteristics in addition to ordinary dictionaries.
The Gellish taxonomic dictionary is an electronic smart dictionary because it satisfies the following rules:

  • It contains a definition per concept, whereas ordinary dictionaries usually provide various definitions of a term, where it is unclear whether those definitions are alternative definitions of the same concept or whether they are definitions of different concepts. Thus a smart dictionary explicitly distinguished homonyms (the same term for different concepts) and explicitly specifies which terms are used in the dictionary as true synonyms.
  • It is completely arranged as a taxonomy, which is a subtype-supertype hierarchy of concepts. This means that each concept is defined as an explicit subtype of one or more supertype concepts by specialization relations (A is a specialization of B and B is a specialization of C, etc.).
  • It includes also concepts with plural term names. For example: line shaft centrifugal pump.
  • It defines relation types (being a special kind of concepts). These relation types enable to make computer interpretable expressions that express facts, including the expression of knowledge and information.

The fact that the Gellish dictionary of Formal English satisfies these rules means that the Gellish Dictionary itself defines the Gellish Formal English language. In Gellish Formal English those relation types have names and synonyms that consist of standardized phrases. For example: the phrase 'is a part of' can be used to express the fact that A is a part of B, whereas the phrase 'can have as part a' can be used to express the knowledge that a whole of a particular kind can have as part a component of a particular kind. For example, the fact that a pump can have a bearing is expressed in Gellish Formal English as:

pump can have as part a bearing.

All three elements in this expression are names of standard Gellish English concepts that are defined in the Gellish dictionary of Formal English.

  • Concepts are related to other concepts in various ways by explicit relations of standardized relation types. Those additional relations express additional knowledge about the concepts. This knowledge about the concepts can be used by computers, because such knowledge about a concept is inherited by all the subtypes of that concept in the subtype hierarchy (taxonomy).
  • It uses one language independent unique identifier (a natural number) to represent each concept. This enables that facts that are expressed in one language can be automatically presented by a computer in any other language for which a dictionary is available.
  • It can be extended by private and proprietary concepts and terms. For example, company specific codes and proprietary knowledge. Some instructions are given in 'Proper definition of a concept'. Further instructions are given in the Gellish Dictionary Extension Manual.
  • It is computer interpretable and system independent.

5. Relations that enable Knowledge-aided design

The Gellish dictionary contains a special collection of facts that specify how expressions of knowledge can be used to create expressions of real facts about individual things.

These are <can be realized by a> relations. Each relation of that kind relates two kinds of relations:

  • a relation type that is used to express knowledge facts, being a relation type that relates two classes


  • a relation type that is used to express real facts, being a relation type that relates two individual things

An example of such a relation is the expression of the fact that:

  • a <can have as part a> relation <can be realized by a> <has as part> relation.

The collection of such relations in the Gellish smart dictionary specify which kind of relation type should be used when knowledge or requirements are used to create facts about individual things in an imaginary or real world. This is typically used when knowledge or requirements are turned into designs.

The following example illustrates the basic principles of knowledge-based design using Gellish. Assume that a requirement expresses that

  • a pump <shall have as part a> bearing.

The above-mentioned Gellish language relations define how to apply that knowledge to create bearings for individual pumps. For example, assume that P-101 is classified as a pump, then software that is Gellish English powered can conclude that

  • P-101 shall have a part X,


  • X is classified as a bearing.

Such software can also derive from the Gellish dictionary what kinds of bearings there are and from a knowledge model in Gellish it can derive which characteristics such components normally have.

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gellish_english_dictionary.txt · Last modified: 2018/08/07 00:37 by andries