Saturday, July 30, 2016

Good vs Bad in proto semantics

Faced with how language builds up more complex statements from simpler ones and given how easy it is for expressions to become combinatorially difficult to analyze, the ancients found the True/False concept provided relief. As the thinking goes: True/False can be assigned to the smallest part of an expression, and the value percolates up and through all the complexity to reveal a total whole True/False "meaning" for the more complex expressions. Maybe it was pretty clever of them to realize the problem and solve it this way.

I have the same problem with proto semantics. Given a complex statement, what exactly has been said? I take relief in the idea that something like a Hotel review is an opinion. It expresses a value that is, in the end, either positive or negative, good or bad. So what percolates up through the complexity of an a opinion statement is a Good/Bad value that is meaningful for the smallest unit and also percolates up and through the complexity to provide a single Good/Bad value for the whole. [proto semantics also allows the "opinion" to be off topic or un-intelligible].

This means a Narwhal class must contain a "polarity" member variable, that works to retain the whole value of an input text. It defaults to "1" which is equivalent to "good" or "true" or any other polarity that might be around. I am learning lots of things from trying to implement proto semantics in this Narwhal language.

But not all statements are value statements. Lots of technical language describes things with attributes, chronologies, and interactions and is not concerned with the positive or negative values. They are just informational narratives. In that case the polarity can remain at its default ("Good") [where it can be ignored].

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