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Re: [xml-dev] "XML is just syntax" versus "Use semantic markup" (Is this a paradox?)

Hi Len.

For what I think is the growing consensus of linguists on this question, you might look at e.g.
[actually, *you* probably already have :)]
<quote>There is a long-standing tradition in Chomskyan generative grammar of rejecting the relevance of corpus studies. A variety of arguments are put forth to justify this rejection, most importantly, that corpora are necessarily “finite and somewhat accidental” while the set of grammatical utterances is “presumably infinite” (Chomsky 1957: 15), and that, therefore, “probabilistic considerations have
nothing to do with grammar” (Chomsky 1964[1962]: 215, n. 1; cf. also Chomsky 1957: 17). Chomsky is frequently reported as backing up this claim with the observation that

the sentence I live in New York is fundamentally more likely than I live in Dayton, Ohio purely by virtue of the fact that there are more people likely to say the former than the latter (McEnery and Wilson 2001: 10).

As always, it is difficult to decide whether Chomsky seriously offers this example in support of his position. Not that it really matters: Chomsky’s contempt for  and his ignorance of  quantitative issues is of no concern to modern corpus linguistics. Chomsky’s irredeemably anti-empirical views are firmly rooted in his anti-empiricist philosophy, and no amount of quantitatively sophisticated corpus-based
argumentation will ever change his mind.</quote>

Author(s): Anatol Stefanowitsch

Len Bullard wrote:

> Precise, but concise? ;-)
> A question:  to this model, does it matter if the processor is a producer vs
> a consumer?  IOW, is an expression semantic-less unless consumed?  Does
> intension evaporate post speech act?
> The issue of frequency that Chomsky tried to deflect reappears because the
> frequency is selected by the producer.  If markup is only the pointy bracket
> bits, then we agree these have no semantics.
> It's hard for me to accept that tag names at some frequency of expression
> aren't content.  This is the gray area.
> len
> From: W. E. Perry [mailto:wperry@fiduciary.com]
> More precisely, semantics are elaborated from the marked-up text
> ('content' + markup) by the operation of a particular *process*, in a
> particular environment, on a particular occasion, for presumably a
> particular 'purpose' as determined by the operator of that process, in
> that environment, on that occasion, and quite possibly entirely without
> reference to the creator of the marked-up text, nor obedience to any
> intention nor semantic import which that creator might have had or be
> presumed to have. A semantic elaboration is an instance, and an
> unlimited number of such diverging instances might be elaborated from
> any particular text. The operation of the process is always one way:
> from the text to the elaborated semantics. An instance of elaborated
> semantics can no more establish the text from which is was elaborated
> than the text can determine the semantics which might be elaborated from
> it on a given occasion.
> Respectfully,
> Walter Perry
> "Costello, Roger L." wrote:
> > Len Bullard wrote:
> > > Markup does not apply semantics.   Semantics are applied to the
> > markup.
> > I like it!  Thanks Len!
> > /Roger
> >
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