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

On Tue, 11 Mar 2008, Len Bullard wrote:

> Hi Walter:
> Thanks.  I have not read that.  I wonder from time to time if the symbols
> and media affect the answer, for example, the vectors in graphics are a
> means to create the source information for rendering, but individually, they
> are just triplets (in 3D) (syntax).  Only in combination where they exhibit
> frequency are they meaningful, and then only if one ignores point-of-view,
> aka, the camera.
> Even if we skip the frequency debate,

> is a tag name content or markup;

unsure: I've never read a satisfying, compelling paper that explains
how we are to differentiate between "content" and "markup" in an
arbitrary context (it seems to depend upon perspective -- as similarly
for "data" vs "metadata").  In a previous life I studied Sumerian,
Akkadian, Ugaritic, and other levantine languages -- and became
familiar with some other writing systems for ancient languages that
I didn't study.  Many of the common notions of "punctuation"
(characters) and other writing units understood in modern writing
systems don't fit when applied to ancient writing systems.  So
also, notions of "markup" vs. "content".

> or,
> is that a meaningful question?

In the abstract, it's an interesting question, even if we can't
decide upon "meaningful" apart from a context.

- Robin

P.S. I regret having to mention "context" twice, because I can't
bear to live in a world so undetermined as W. E. Perry has
described, in dozens of interesting posts, over the years.  So
I don't.

> len
> From: W. E. Perry [mailto:wperry@fiduciary.com]
> Hi Len.
> For what I think is the growing consensus of linguists on this question, you
> might look at e.g.
> http://www.atypon-link.com/WDG/doi/abs/10.1515/cllt.2005.1.2.295?cookieSet=1
> &journalCode=cllt
> [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
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