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Re: DTD Notation raises a question

I think we are getting away from my original intent on posing the question. 

 I had responded to what had sounded like the argument that synonomy was the 
same as referential identity.  However the synonomy I was talking about here 
is exactly what you are mentioning in your reply . Since I seem to be making 
a hash of this, I'll let a couple of linguists speak instead.

Leonard Bloomfield in Language notes: "each linguistic form has a constant 
and specific meaning.  If the forms are phonemically different,  we suppose 
that there meanings are also different..We suppose in short that there are no 
actual synonyms"

Breal notes in Essai de semantique "words which should be synonymous, and 
were so in the past,  have acquired different meanings and are no longer 

Stephen Ullman in Semantics notes "it is perfectly true that absolute 
synonomy runs counter to our whole way of looking at language.  When we see 
different words we instinctively assume that there must be some distinction 
in meaning, and in the vast majority of cases there is in fact a distinction 
even though it may be difficult to formulate.  Very few words are completely 
synonymous in the sense of being interchangeable in any context without the 
slightest change in objective meaning, feeling-tone or evocative value."

He goes on to identify the cases where we do find synonomy  -- specialized 
technical vocabularies where "several synonyms will arise around a new 
invention, until they are eventually sorted out . " 

<< insert -- do I dare raise the schema(ta)(s) issue as an example? >>



given two markup definitions

<!ELEMENT  x  (contentmodel_1) >
<!ELEMENT  x  (contentmodel_2) >

such that the two content models (assuming normalized strings) are not 
string-equal; is it possible to determine if the two content_models describe 
exactly the same set of structures.  (i.e are they "synonyms").

we can do this is certain restricted cases.

(a , b*, c*) is synonymous to  ((a) , (b)*, (c)*)

but can we generalize this to a set of transformations that can be applied to 
one to produce the other.  And if we can, is such a process decidable?  
Specifically, I am looking at whether or not this pocess can be algorithmized.


On Wednesday 11 July 2001 06:09 pm, you wrote:
> Rod Davison wrote:
> > Not in the spirit I was speaking.  It is generally accepted that synonyms
> > are not the same as different references for the same entitiy.  Thus "The
> > President of the United States" and "George W. Bush" are not synonyms but
> > different ways of referring to the same thing.
> At present, yes, but not always.
> > Synonomy is a matter of semantic meaning not reference.  In my example
> > "middle" and "medial" are considered synonomous based on their meaning,
> >
> > not on a reference.
> But CJD, JCD, and SSE really do mean the same thing (at least in
> humans).  As Jonathan Borden posted, they have different sociolinguistic
> implications.  But if you believe in semantics as distinct from
> pragmatics, they have identical semantics.

Rod Davison @ Critical Knowledge Systems Inc
There are three kinds of people in this world, those who can count and those 
who can't.