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METAGRAM -- Pt. 2 Some Observations

From:Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>
Date:Thursday, December 18, 2003, 21:46
I have some observations that I scattered around at
the appropriate places below.  But first an imporatant
disclaimer.  Some of these ideas may lead far astray
of the vision you have for METAGRAM.  Feel free to
disregard those that are not consistent with your own

Also, some of these ideas have their origin in my own
similar project a few years ago, however the
underlying intent of my project was to design a way to
describe a real-world event or situation in an
unabiguous manner that could be easily handled by a
computer program running a simulation of that real
world environment.  I was essentially writing a parser
that was to take English statements and translate them
into this cannonical form so that the actions
described by those English statements could be
"understood" by the simulation program.  Since this
intent appears to be different from your own intent in
designing METAGRAM, my suggestions may be way off the

--- Caleb Hines <cph9fa@...> wrote:


> I just realized, though, that what I _don't_ have > yet, is a way to ask > questions or make imperatives: > *<Mary> you {coming{to supper}} <please> > which is literally translated into the incorrect > declarative: > *"Mary, you are please coming to supper."
Imperative: "Mary, come to supper." commanding( to Mary, that coming( to supper, who you )) or maybe the alternate sytax that identifies which words are really argumant tags: commanding( to:Mary, that:coming( whereto:supper, who:you )) Or "John, quick throw the ball really hard!" commanding( to:John, throwing( what:ball, when:without_delay, how:extreme_of( hard )) or maybe "extreme_of( hard ) should really be: modify( what:hard, how:intesify ) Intergogative: "Is Mary coming to supper?" coming( to:supper, who:inquire_if( Mary )) But then what about the difference between: "Is Mary coming to supper?" and "Is it Mary that is coming to supper?" <snip>
> Another form of extraneous words comes in the form > of multi-word verbs (and > I don't mean auxileries!). I don't know what its > called, but at least > English and German do this. Probably other languages > too. For example, you > "look up" a word in the dictionary, you "shut up" > when told to be quiet, > but machines are "shut down" when the're not needed. > You "lock up" a house > for the night, but you "lock down" a nuclear power > plant during a security > alert.
When two words are used to express one single conecpt I would vote for making them effectively one word: shut_down( of_what:machine )
> *locking {of house, upward}
what's wrong with: locking_up( of_what:house ) <snip>
> > The first effectively means: > "Eskimos which are living in igloos -- they are > having fun." > The second is more like: > "Eskimos are living in igloos and are having fun."
What about: implied{ by:something, that:result } implied{ by:dwelling{ who:Eskimos, where:in{ what:igloos }), that:experiencing( who:Eskimos, what:fun )) vs dwelling{ who:eskimos, where:in{ what:igloos }, experiencing{ who:Eskimos, what:fun } It's consistent. <snip>
> In the case of negations, they might be put onto
> book {every} {not-on shelf} > "Every book is not on a shelf." > Or better yet, onto states in general: > book {not-red} > book {not-falling} > I may come back to this point in later post.
OR applied to a whole term: not{on shelf{that}} <snip>
> who {coming{to dinner}} > "Who is comming to dinner?" > > which could also be written: > person {which} {coming{to dinner}} > "Which person (='who') is coming to dinner?"
OR coming{ whereto:dinner, who:? } answered by: coming{ whereto:dinner, who:John }
> These quantifiers still can't ask the type of > question I tried to ask in > section (I) though, i.e. questions about whether > something is happening.
coming{ whereto:dinner, who:John? } OR coming{ whereto:dinner, who:is_it{ John }} OR asking{ what:if-true, that:coming{ whereto:dinner, who:John }} OR asking_if_true{ coming{ whereto:dinner, who:John }} <snip>
> We have seen that each phrase has a head > followed by predicates of that > head. When translating English sentences, > that head will probably be the > subject of the sentence. In active voice, > this subject will typically be an > agent, while in passive voice, it will > typically be the patient. > > I {giving{of book}} > "I am giving the book." > > book {given{by me}} > "The book is given by me."
Again, at risk of doing voilence to your underlying philosophy: giving{ of:book, by:me } is consistent since the giver is as much an argument of the action as the thing given, or the person to who it is given as in: giving{ of:book, by:me, to:Mary } Of course this syntax only identifies the underlying action that took place and not the voice in which it was expressed. Both the active and passive forms would translate to the same "giving{ of:book, by:me, to:Mary }", which may defeat the whole purpose of what you're trying to accomplish. When I was working on my project the intent was to express only the underlying factual nature of the event independent of how it was originally stated, so that the whole active/passive distinction was meant to vanish in my version. <snip>
> pool {killing-there {of shark, by me, with knife}} > "The pool is where there is a killing of the > shark by me with a knife."
> knife {killing-with-it {of shark, by me, in pool} } > "The knife is what is used used in a killing of a > shark by me in the pool."
killing{ of:shark, by:me, location:pool, instrumentality:knife } states the event without emphasis on anything, however, it could be the convention that the order of the argument(s) determines emphasis: "The knife is what I used to kill the shark in the pool": killing{ instrumentality:knife, by:me, of:shark, location:pool } "I killed the shark in the pool with a knife": killing{ by:me, of:shark, location:pool, instrumentality:knife } Anyway, these are just some disorganized ramblings to be taken with a grain of salt. request{ for:you, that:take{ state{ of:indicated( what:plural{ rambling }, how:these }, is:not{ oraganized }}, with{ what:measure{ of:salt, unit:grain, quantity:1 }}} --gary


Gary Shannon <fiziwig@...>Conlang by Mutation