[sc34wg3] Supporting variants in TMCL

Steve Pepper pepper.steve at gmail.com
Wed Nov 4 06:03:07 EST 2009

* Lars Marius Garshol
| The following would be a way to express this in TMCL:
| def has-variant($tt, $nt, $t, $min, $max)
|    ?c isa tmcl:variant-constraint;
|      tmcl:card-min: $min;
|      tmcl:card-max: $max.
|    tmcl:constrained-topic-type(tmcl:constrains : ?c,
|       tmcl:constrained : $tt)
|    tmcl:constrained-statement(tmcl:constrains : ?c,
|       tmcl:constrained : $nt)
|    tmcl:required-scope(tmcl:constrains : ?c,
|       tmcl:constrained : $t)
| end

This looks like it would do the trick for at least a very large subset of use
cases. (I'm basing this assessment on the first four lines of the definition; I
don't understand exactly what's going on in the last three associations.)

| However, looking at Naito-san's original use case[1] it does not seem
| that this proposal is sufficient to describe it. The trouble is that
| his variants do not use scopes consisting of a single topic only.

I had an email exchange with Naito-san about this a couple of days ago:

* Naito-san
| I don' know 'Reading' is what type of instance neither.
| I am interested in it. I don't know appropriate English word for it.
| I think it is a kind of transliteration or transcript of Kanji for
| pronunciation. It is a kind of phonetic symbol.

* /me
| Perhaps your variant scopes do not need to consist of two topics
| ('Hiragana, Reading' and 'Romaji, Reading')?
| Perhaps it is enough to define the topics "Hiragana_reading" and
| "Romaji_reading", which are both instances of the type "Reading"?

I haven't heard back from Naito-san yet, but I suspect his requirement can be
met using a scope with a single topic.

| This raises several questions:
|    (1) Is Naito-san's use case typical for how people use variants?

I think the use case is typical for what Japanese users are going to need, but
the solution with "complex scope" (i.e. scope consisting of more than one
topics) is neither necessary nor typical.

As for other users, I never seen any use of variants that required complex scope
(not even the Italian Opera Topic Map).

|    (2) Do we really know how people use variants?

- We know that sort name is very common.

- We know that alternative spellings and transliterations are quite common and
very useful for searching.

- We know that languages with multiple writing systems will need variants.

|    (3) Does Naito-san in fact need the "Reading" topic in his
|        variant scopes? It seems like all Hiragana and Romaji
|        variants have "Reading" as well. Could some variants have
|        something other than "Reading", or appear without "Reading"?

Naito-san must answer this, but (as indicated above in my question to Naito-san)
my strong intuition is that the current use case can be addressed using
simple(x) scope.


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