Representing and Aligning Similar Relations: Parts and Wholes in isiZulu vs. English

  • C. Maria Keet
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10318)


Ontology-enabled medical information systems are used in Sub-Saharan Africa, which require localisation of Semantic Web technologies, such as ontology verbalisation, yet keeping a link with the English language-based systems. In realising this, we zoom in on the part-whole relations that are ubiquitous in medical ontologies, and the isiZulu language. The analysis of part-whole relations in isiZulu revealed both ‘underspecification’—therewith also challenging the transitivity claim—and three refinements cf. the list of common part-whole relations. This was first implemented for the monolingual scenario so that it generates structured natural language from an ontology in isiZulu. Two new natural language-independent correspondence patterns are proposed to solve non-1:1 object property alignments, which are subsequently used to align the part-whole taxonomies informed by the two languages.


Object Property Natural Language Generation Noun Class Alignment Pattern Foundational Ontology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work is based on the research supported in part by the National Research Foundation of South Africa (Grant Number 93397). The author would like to thank M. Xakaza for assistance with tool development.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa

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