Creating and querying formal ontologies via controlled natural language

Rolf Schwitter*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Formal ontologies are difficult to read and understand for domain experts who do not have a background in formal logic. This severely restricts the ability of this user group to determine whether an ontology conforms to the requirements of the application domain or not. We argue that a formal ontology - in our case a description logic knowledge base - should be created in a linguistically motivated way so that domain experts can understand and query the ontology. We first show that this can be partially achieved with the help of a naming convention which is based on those linguistic expressions that occur in the application domain. We then go a step further and suggest the use of a controlled natural language for creating and querying formal ontologies that follows the syntactic structure of a well-defined subset of English.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-174
Number of pages26
JournalApplied Artificial Intelligence
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010

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