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Subproject A10

Ontology modeling for ritual structure research

Department and Research Field: Computational Linguistics and Classical Indology; Grammar and Ontology of Rituals

Subproject Management

Prof. Dr. Anette Frank

Department of Computational Linguistics
Im Neuenheimer Feld 325
69120 Heidelberg
Telefon: 06221 - 54 32 47
Telefax: 06221 - 54 32 42

Prof. Dr. Axel Michaels

Department of Classical Indology
Im Neuenheimer Feld 330
69120 Heidelberg
Telefon: 06221 - 54 89 17
Telefax: 06221 - 54 63 38


PD Dr. Oliver Hellwig

Nils Reiter, Dipl.-Ling.

Project Program

A. The sub-project aims at developing a formal model for the representation of rituals. To this end, a selected set of rituals will be analysed and semantically annotated with general and ritual-specific concepts. On the basis of these data, a formal model for representing rituals will be developed. Based on the outcome of the above steps, we will investigate theoretical questions regarding the structure and variance of rituals, as well as practical challenges of determining them. The obtained generalisations will be tested for their ability to capture trans-cultural regularities of rituals.   

B. We will apply computational linguistic techniques for linguistic analysis and formal knowledge representation to analyse and formalise the underlying structure and variance of rituals. The general linguistic and domain-specific concept hierarchies will be used for the analysis of linguistic ritual descriptions. Further, logical methods for ontology-based representation and reasoning will be employed in order to detect and formally represent the structure and possible variations among rituals. Finally, we will explore the use of the obtained models to detect variants of rituals trans-culturally.  

C. As an outcome of the practical research in A. and B. the sub-project will, in collaboration with the Heidelberg Research Architecture, deliver a documentation and research infrastructure as well as a knowledge repository for rituals: an integrated knowledge base of rituals including (i) a semi-structured document collection, (ii) semantically annotated ritual descriptions, (iii) a domain ontology for rituals, and (iv) “intelligent”, semantics-based access to formally analysed
ritual descriptions.

Main Topics

A10.1 Developing a conceptual model for a formal representation of rituals.
A10.2 Application of computational linguistic techniques to analyse and formalise the underlying structure and variance of rituals.
A10.3 Provide a framework for search and analytical exploration of annotated ritual descriptions.