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Ontology language

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Title: Ontology language  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Description logic, Non-classical logic, Ontology (information science), Intuitionism, DOGMA
Collection: Ontology Languages
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Ontology language

In computer science and artificial intelligence, ontology languages are formal languages used to construct ontologies. They allow the encoding of knowledge about specific domains and often include reasoning rules that support the processing of that knowledge. Ontology languages are usually declarative languages, are almost always generalizations of frame languages, and are commonly based on either first-order logic or on description logic.


  • Classification of ontology languages 1
    • Classification by syntax 1.1
      • Traditional syntax ontology languages 1.1.1
      • Markup ontology languages 1.1.2
    • Classification by structure (logic type) 1.2
      • Frame-based 1.2.1
      • Description logic-based 1.2.2
      • First-order logic-based 1.2.3
  • See also 2
  • References 3

Classification of ontology languages

The numerous ontology languages are often classified by structure or syntax.

Classification by syntax

Traditional syntax ontology languages

Markup ontology languages

These languages use a markup scheme to encode knowledge, most commonly with XML.

Classification by structure (logic type)


Three languages are completely or partially frame-based languages.

Description logic-based

Description logic provides an extension of frame languages, without going so far as to take the leap to first-order logic and support for arbitrary predicates.

Gellish is an example of a combined ontology language and ontology that is description logic based. It distinguishes between the semantic differences among others of:

  • relation types for relations between concepts (classes)
  • relation types for relations between individuals
  • relation types for relations between individuals and classes

It also contains constructs to express queries and communicative intent.

First-order logic-based

Several ontology languages support expressions in first-order logic and allow general predicates.

See also


  • Oscar Corcho, Asuncion Gomez-Perez, A Roadmap to Ontology Specification Languages (2000)
  • DL courseIntroduction to Description Logics by Enrico Franconi, Faculty of Computer Science, Free University of Bolzano, Italy
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