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1. Formalized languages

The Gellish family of Formalized Languages is based on language independent semantics and syntax, whereas it is nevertheless close to natural languages. This is realized by the recognition that concepts are basically language independent things, although they are denoted in different languages by different terms, and by the discovery that it is possible to express ideas in a language natural independent way as collections of basically binary relations that are arranged in a network of relations. Such expressions can be unambiguously be interpreted when they conform to patterns in the Gellish universal basic semantic structure. For this reason, each concept is represented in the Gellish family by a natural language independent unique identifier (UID) and each expression is part of a pattern that is derived from the basic semantic structure. Thus the languages of the Gellish family are based a universal basic semantic structure and a generic syntax, as will be described in this wiki.

The Gellish family includes natural specific language variants by adding a dictionary that relates the UIDs of the concepts to the terms in a natural language and possibly to synonym terms, codes or abbreviations in a particular language community within that language. In this way the family currently includes Formal English, Formal Dutch and parts of other formal language variants. These formal languages thus become semantic modeling languages for the modeling of knowledge, requirements, definitions, queries as well as information about any individual things and individual processes with as objective enabling universal system independent data exchange and data integration.
The languages are called formal languages, because they are formally defined, so that computers can unambiguously interpret the meaning from the expressions, Computers cannot do that with natural languages and without knowledge about the dedicated data models they cannot do that with databases either. Information that is expressed in a Gellish formal language is computer interpretable and application system independent. It can be generated when exporting data from systems for data exchanged between systems and parties in Gellish Messages and can be imported, interpreted and stored in database systems and files. Queries can also be expressed in a Gellish formal language. The language has a native standard Gellish Expression format, although it can also be stored in other formats.

1.1 Logic

People implicitly make use of logic when interpreting natural languages. For example, we know that the concept car is a subtype of vehicle. Thus when we talk about a vehicle we know that that may be about a car. In order to enable software to draw similar conclusions when using formal languages it is necessary to include relations between concepts in the definition of the concepts in the formal language. Definitions of concepts therefore relate them to other concepts by standardized kinds of relations. In particular, each concept is defined as a subtype of one or more direct supertype concepts, thus forming a taxonomy of concepts. Gellish formal languages therefore includes an electronic Taxonomic Dictionary that provide the concepts and terminology of the languages, as well as relations of particular kinds between the defined concepts, as far as required for the definition of the meaning of the concepts. Furthermore, every concept is identified by a natural language independent unique identifier (UID). Those UIDs represent the concepts independent of any language. Every concept can be denoted by various terms, names, codes or phrase, as are used by different language communities in different natural languages. Information that is expressed in one of the formal languages include the UIDs of the concepts. This enables that the expressions can be automatically translated from one formal language to another by Gellish enabled software. For example, queries in Formal Dutch, can be executed on databases that are in English, and the queries as well as the results can be presented to users in Dutch and vice versa. This is possible between any languages for which formal dictionaries are available.

1.2 Categories of kinds of relations (relation types)

The expression power of formal languages is largely determined by the number and variety of kinds of relations that are available in the language definition. The Gellish formalized language definition includes about 1000 standard kinds of relations. They are defined in the upper ontology section of the Taxonomic Dictionary-Ontology. Their textual definitions and subtype-supertype hierarchy (taxonomy) is documented a computer readable file that itself is written in Gellish. The hierarchy is also available in printed form in the book Taxonomic Dictionary of Relations and in its Dutch equivalent Taxonomisch Woordenboek van Relaties. The electronic version also includes definitions of the allowed roles and the allowed role players for the kinds of relations as well as a taxonomy of roles and of role players. Together that defines what are correct formal expressions and how expressions should be interpreted. The electronic language definition can be licensed, and can then be directly imported in Gellish enabled application systems to enable generation and computer interpretation of formal language expressions.

Each kind of relation (also called 'relation type') is identified by a unique identifier (Gellish UID). Furthermore, each relation type is denoted by at least one base phrase and by at least one inverse phrase. For example, a part-whole relation between two individual things is denoted in Formal English by the phrase <is a part of> and by the inverse phrases <has as part> and <is a whole for> and has UID 1260. This means that the same fact or idea can be expressed in either of the two ways. For example, the expression 'A <is a part of> B' has the same meaning as the expression 'B <has as part> A'. A relation type can also be denoted by alternative phrases, such as <is an assembly of>, or by phrases in other languages. Users may even define their own synonym phrases (provided that the UID remains the same) and they can indicate a 'language' and/or a 'language community' in which their phrase is preferred. For example: the Dutch (Nederlands) equivalent of the name of UID 1260 in the above example is: <is een deel van>.

The kinds of relations together form a taxonomy (a subtype-supertype hierarchy of kinds of relations) with the following branches:

  1. Kinds of relations between individual things
  2. Kinds of relations between an individual thing and a kind of thing
  3. Kinds of relations between kinds of things
  4. Kinds of relations between a single thing and a plurality
  5. Kinds of relations between pluralities

The kinds of relations include binary relations as well as higher order relations. Higher order relations include relations for modeling occurrences, such as processes, activities and events and relations for modeling correlations, such as for physical laws or geometric and mathematical formula.

For different application area's different kinds of relations are applicable. The definition of a core collection of kinds of relations is free available in Gellish expression format in CSV via the download section of this website.

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