I believe that Zellig Harris was the first to apply the term
sublanguage to natural language, using algebra as the underlying
He defines the set of all sentences of a language as the closure of
a given set of linguistic operations. For example, conjunctions of
two sentences yields another sentence. A sublanguage is subset of
the language that is closed under some or all of the operations of
It is almost important to keep in mind that "the language" (eg
English) is a very broad set, containing all conceivable
utterances, including slang, poetry, as well as what we might
call "standard" language.
Note that a sublanguage is not merely an arbitrary subset of
sentences, and may differ in structure as well as vocabulary. For
example, in medicine, telegraphic sentences such as "patient
improved" are grammatical, due to operations that permit dropping
articles and auxillaries.
By this definition, weather reports, stock market reports, computer
manuals and controlled languages would all constitute sublanguages.
-- Stephen Johnson, PhD Associate Professor Biomedical Informatics Columbia University
Quoting Ruslan Mitkov <R.Mitkov@wlv.ac.uk>:
> Hi Victoria, > > I agree with you in that most weather forecasts > have an established style which has developed > spontaneously and has not been imposed on. > It is also true that sublanguages and > CLS are not mutually exclusive. > > May I suggest you have a look at the excellent > chapter on sublanguges and controlled languages > written by Richard Kittredge: > > Kittredge, R. 2003. Sublanguages and > Controlled Languages., In Mitkov, R. (Ed) > The Oxford Handbook of Computational Linguistiucs, > Oxford University Press. > > I hope this helps. > > Regards > Ruslan Mitkov > > > On Oct 30 2003, Gregor Erbach wrote: > > > Quoting Victoria López <email@example.com>: > > > > > I'm a Ph.D. student and I am studing sublanguages. I consider > that > > > weather reports is a clear example of sublanguage. In all the > > > > bibliography I have consulted, they have all the features to > be > > > considered a sublanguage. > > > > > > But some researchers told me that they would consider weather > reports > > > as being more a controlled language than a sublanguage > because the > > > writer is not free in his word choice and he has to follow a > rigid > > > style sheet. > > > > Hi, > > sublanguages and controlled languages are not mutually > exclusive > > concepts. Controlled languages place special restrictions on > > grammar, style and vocabulary for writers of documents in > special > > domains. > > > > Typically, a controlled language is formally defined, so that > > conformity to the controlled language standard can be verified. > > > > > For a brief presentation of different kinds of controlled > languages, > > see http://www.tc-forum.org/topiccl/cl15diff.htm > > > > regards, > > > > Gregor Erbach > > >
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