Panlingua, by Chaumont Devin, May 9, 1998.

Chapter 4, Definitions and Assumptions.


A symbol is a sound, image, or other physical pattern representing something else.

A surface language is a language constructed using symbols.

A subsurface language is a language not constructed using symbols.

Panlingua is the universal subsurface language common to all of mankind.

A person is a human being or other entity possessing human linguistic capability.

A speaker is a person generating text.

A hearer is a person interpreting text.

A situation model is a model of the world, either real or imagined, temporarily held by a person.

Understanding occurs when a hearer reconstructs from the words of a speaker a situation model analoguous to that in the mind of the speaker.

Text is understandable language constructed from symbols.

A link (also called a binary relation) is a vector connecting two nodes.

A node is the point at which two or more links are joined.

A semnod (semantic node) is a node to which one or more words are linked.

A word is a node connected to its regent by a synlink and to its semnod by a lexlink.

A synlink (syntactic link) is the link connecting a word to its left sibling or regent.

A lexlink (lexical link) is the link connecting a word to its semnod.

A semlink (semantic link) is a link between two semnods.

The semantic plane is the collection of all semnods.

The syntactic plane is the collection of all words.

Rank is the level of a word in a binary tree.

A regent is a word of higher rank to which a dependent is linked by a synlink.

A dependent is a word of lower rank connected to a regent by a synlink.

A regent is one rank level above a dependent. A sibling is a dependent of the same regent.

A left sibling is a word to which a word of the same rank is linked by a synlink.

A frame is a regent and its optional dependents.

A state is the way something is.

A lexicon is a collection of symbols and their potential synlink-lexlink combinations.

An ontology is a netlike pattern of semlinks defining hierarchical and non-hierarchical relations between semnods.

An implicit state is a state not explicit in any word, but implied by a situation model.

An explicit state is a state explicitly indicated by a word.

A noun is a word representing a thing.

An adjective is a word representing a state.

A verb is a word representing the maintenance or assumption of a state by a thing.

Parsing is the process of disambiguating texts and representing their meanings in Panlingua.

Text generation, or sometimes just "generation," is the process of generating texts from Panlingua representations.

A template is a Panlingua representation deliberately employing semantic nodes taken as high as is known to be possible in the hypernym hierarchy of the ontology.

A wildcard value is a value that will match anything.


There exists a universal subsurface language common to all of mankind. Proof: All surface languages are essentially the same.

I have called this language"Panlingua," from the greek word, "pas," meaning "all," and the latin word, "lingua," meaning "language."

Panlingua is unique, and the same for all people. Proof: Any healthy human infant can readily acquire any human language.

The basic structure of Panlingua is not evolving in humans over time. Proof: Humans have had time to evolve various physical differences, therefore if Panlingua were evolving it would not now be the same for all mankind.

The uniqueness of Panlingua implies maximum processing efficiency. Proof: Natural systems approach maximum efficiency over time, and Panlingua has no competitors after thousands of generations of free and open competition.

All evolving linguistic systems converge upon Panlingua. Proof: Identical problems encountered by all linguistic researchers, similarity of computational linguistics systems increases with performance, and the fact that Panlingua is unique for all of mankind.

No linguistic system can function at a truly human level without Panlingua. Evidence: No contrary example after many tries.

Efficient processing requires information to be in unambiguous form. Proof: Ambiguity requires interpretation, which is known to take time.

Panlingua is unambiguous. Evidence: Panlingua could not likely have become the unique winner in evolutionary competition without eliminating ambiguity over time.

Panlingua underlies all surface language. Proof: All surface languages exhibit common underlying features.

Panlingua representations are not linear but tree-like in structure. Proof: All surface languages show definite treelike dependency patterns.

Although Panlingua is tree-like in structure, it retains certain linear (sequential) properties. Proof: People can tell stories in chronological order, and noun modifiers assume various relative positions across many languages by semantic grouping.

The trees of Panlingua are binary trees. Proof: Only multiple-daughter trees represented as binary trees have the ability to retain linear sequentiality using standardized nodes.

The semantic plane is composed of semlinks and semnods. Proof: the nodes of the semantic plane are semnods, and semlinks are the links between semnods.

The syntactic plane is composed of words and synlinks. Proof: The nodes of the syntactic plane are words, and synlinks are the links between words.

Symbols do not exist within the linguistic apparatus, but only in the outside world. Proof: Symbols are physical objects, whereas the objects of automata are logical. See symbol definition.

Meaning is encoded in links, whereas a node performs no function except to join to links to each other. Evidence: Words are said to have no meanings in and of themselves, but gain meaning only when associated with other words. By analogy, the meaning of an electronic circuit is determined by its components, and not by the junction points at which they are joined to other components.

Panlingua can be modeled using Tinkertoy structures in the syntactic plane. Proof: Binary tree formation.

Every word in Panlingua is linked to a regent or to a left sibling by a synlink and to a semnod by a lexlink. Proof: Tinkertoy formation and semnod role.

The meaning of every word is completely determined by (1) a synlink to a regent or left sibling, (2) a lexlink to a semnod, and (3) any dependents it may have. Proof: Every word in every language always has a syntactic and semantic role.

No word in Panlingua has any meaning in and of itself without these links. Proof: A word cannot be a word without one and only one syntactic and one and only one semantic role. Neither knowledge nor meaning can be separated from linguistic structure. Proof: links are relations. Words are related, or linked, to each other and to semnods. These links form the structure of language and must be present for any meaning to occur.

lexlinks constitute bridges between the syntactic and semantic planes. Proof: Words are the nodes of the syntactic plane, semnods are the nodes of the semantic plane, and lexlinks link words to semnods.

All words link to semnods of identical type and function. Proof: A semnod is just a node, and nodes have no special significance in an of themselves. A single semnod can link to many classes of words. For example, red, redness, redden, reddens, ... all link to the same semnod through various types of lexlinks.

There exists a finite and predictable set of word types that can be linked to each semnod. Proof: Observation across various surface languages.

A particular surface language may not take advantage of all the predictable word types that can be linked to a particular semnod. Proof: In English there is no stative verb for the semnods linked to many adjectives, while in other languages these verbs exist. Etc.

Aspect is coded in lexlink type. Proof: Meaning is encoded in link type. Aspect is not part of syntax and so cannot be encoded in synlinks, and lexlinks are the only other links available for all words.

Not all lexlink types cooincide with aspect. Proof: Other information mutually exclusive with aspect is also encoded as lexlink type.

Panlingua exists nowhere outside (1) the syntactic plane, (2) the semantic plane, and (3) the space between these two planes. Proof: Panlingua is constructed exclusively from synlinks and lexlinks.

Panlingua has no symbols. Proof: Symbols exist only outside the linguistic apparatus whereas Panlingua exists only in the syntactic and semantic planes and the space between them.

Text is ambiguous. Proof: The synlinks and lexlinks of its words are not explicitly revealed, therefore its exact meaning cannot be known except by interpretation.

Thoughts represented in binary trees in Panlingua must be converted to text before transmission from one person to another can occur. Proof: During transmission language must pass through the physical world, where it is encoded in symbols. Panlingua has no symbols and therefore is not text, therefore text must be generated based on Panlingua representation before transmission can occur.

In general the words of Panlingua are the words of texts in disambiguated form. Proof: The words of texts are ambiguous, meaning they may have several possible or potential lexlink-synlink combinations, whereas the words of Panlingua retain only one of these possible link combinations.

All language consists of repeated instantiations of similar structures called "frames." Proof: Observation across multiple languages.

All language is made up of two basic frame types: (1) noun frames, and (2) non-noun frames. Proof: Observation across multiple languages. All language encodes the maintenance or assumption of various states by various things. Proof: No contrary example.

All verbs are associated with one and only one explicit state. Proof: Observation across many verbs.

A noun can be the patient of a verb if and only if it assumes or maintains the explicit state associated with that verb. Proof: Definition.

In non-noun frames states are passed downwards to nouns from their regents. Proof: Observation across multiple languages.

In noun frames states are passed upwards from modifiers to their regent nouns. Proof: Observation across multiple languages.

Situation models consist of knowledge about various things in various states. Proof: Definition.

Visualization is the generation of situation models. Proof: Definition.

Visualization can be performed using Panlingua. Proof: Panlingua encodes the maintenance and assumption of various states by various things, and situation models consist of various things in various states.

Panlingua representations can be built from situation models. Proof: Situation models consist of various things in various states, and Panlingua encodes the maintenance or assumption of various states by various things.

A translational equivelance exists between all situation models and Panlingua. Proof: Panlingua representations can be converted to situation models and vice versa.