A comparison of the theories discussed in the previous article with the Indian theories of sentence analysis in the second section shows at once a few striking similarities. Both theories take extreme care to define minute details with which a language describes the relations between events in the natural world. In both instances, the analysis itself is a map of the relations between events in the universe described. In the case of the computer-oriented analysis, this mapping is a necessary prerequisite for making the speaker’s natural language digestible for the artificial processor; in the case of Sanskrit, the motivation is more elusive and probably has to do with an age-old Indo-Aryan preoccupation to discover the nature of the reality behind the the impressions we human beings receive through the operation of our sense organs.
Be it as it may, it is a matter of surprise to discover that the outcome of both trends of thinking-so removed in time, space, and culture-have arrived at a representation of linguistic events that is not only theoretically equivalent but close in form as well. The one superficial difference is that the Indian tradition was on the whole, unfamiliar with the facility of diagrammatic representation, and attempted instead to formulate all abstract notions in grammatical sentences. In the following paragraphs a number of the parallelisms of the two analyses will be pointed out to illustrate the equivalence of the two systems.
Consider the sentence: “John is going.” The Sanskrit paraphrase would be
“An Act of going is taking place in which the Agent is ‘John’ specified by singularity and masculinity.”
If we now turn to the analysis in semantic nets, the event portrayed by a set of triples is the following:
1. “going events, instance, go (this specific going event)”
2. “go, agent, John”
3. “go, time, present.”
The first equivalence to be observed is that the basic framework for inference is the same. John must be a semantic primitive, or it must have a dictionary entry, or it must be further represented (i.e. “John, number, 1” etc.) if further processing requires more detail (e.g. “HOW many people are going?“). Similarly, in the Indian analysis, the detail required in one case is not necessarily required in another case, although it can bc produced on demand (ifneeded).
The point to be made is that in both systems, an extensive degree of specification is crucial in understanding the real meaning of the sentence to the extent that it will allow inferences to be made about the facts not explicitly stated in the sentence The basic crux of the equivalence can be illustrated by a careful look at sentence
“Out of friendship, Maitra cooks rice for Devadatta in a pot over a fire ”
The semantic net is supplied in Figure 5 (below). The triples corresponding to the net are:
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