'Quoting' in Predicates With Events

One of the trickier things I had to deal with is demonstrated by the preposition “on” represented by the _on_p_loc ERG predicate. That predicate, with the same argument types, is used in two very different ways:

Clearly the implementation of _on_p_loc__exx needs to do something very different in each case. The problem is, if you look at the two predicates, they are identical except for variable names (which doesn’t matter for execution): _on_p_loc__exx(e14, x8, x15) and _on_p_loc__exx(e16, x8, x17). How will they know when to act how?

My answer is that something more is needed in the representation to indicate which mode to operate in: an extra argument that I call “Quote” (stealing from the LISP programming language):

One more thing is missing here: where should _on_p_loc__exx actually store the data if Quote == create? It turns out that its first argument is an e variable or “Event Variable”. For our purposes now, imagine it as a variable that acts as a “bag of information”. The bag can get passed between predicates for scenarios where one predicate is saying, for example, “where” (as in this case) or “how” (in the case of adverbs) another term should do its job. It is there to address this scenario. Think of it as a place to hang a bunch of extra arguments or settings to a predicate.

With this addition the logic looks like this:

The only change is that predicates with events are now getting an extra quote argument.

[The problem of how _put_v_1__exxh actually gets ahold of the event from _put_v_1__exxh in Prolog is described here]

Deciding When To Quote

The next problem is: how does the value of quote get set to create or eval? Since there is nothing about the predicate itself that says which way to set quoting, it has to be something outside the predicate.

There are three cases here:

Case 1: The caller of the predicate sets quoting for predicates it calls

When a predicate like _on_p_loc__exx can operate in either mode, the only code that really knows which way to set its quoting is the code that is calling the predicate. Recall from the post on how to build predicates that Prolog only automatically executes the top level predicates. I.e. the ones that outside all parenthesis. So, in “Get the book on the table”, Prolog only executes the first _the_q__xhh predicate since all the rest are recursively inside of it as arguments. All the rest of the predicates are executed by whatever predicate they are an argument of:

_the_q__xhh(x8, _the_q__xhh(x15, _table_n_1__x(x15), and(_book_n_of__xi(x8, i13), _on_p_loc__exx(e14, x8, x15, quote1))), pronoun_q__xhh(x3, pron__x(x3), _get_v_1__exx(e2, x3, x8)))

So, in that case, _on_p_loc__exx is evaluated by the predicate _the_q__xhh(x15... and it is responsible for setting the quoting value of everything it executes. Because “the” does not need things quoted, it sets quoted = eval.

In the case of “Put the book on the table”, the predicate _put_v_1__exxh is the one evaluating _on_p_loc__exx, and _put_v_1__exxh knows that it needs its argument quoted, so it sets the value to that in its implementation – you won’t see it represented in the Prolog here:

      _book_n_of__xi(x8, i14), 
      _put_v_1__exxh(e2, x3, x8, 
        _on_p_loc__exx(e16, x8, x17, quote1)))))

Case 2: Predicates that always quote

Some words, like adverbs or words like “very”, are there for the sole purpose of modifying other words. That is all they do and so they always operate quoted no matter what they are passed. Because they don’t have any indicator that this is their behavior, they still are passed a quote argument, they just ignore it and always quote.

Almost all the cases I have seen, if a predicate takes an event as a non-ARG0 argument it indicates it should always quote. That’s because the whole point of passing an event in is to allow it to do something with it. For example, look at _loud_a_1__ee in the following:

"Go to the green cave loudly"

                        │                          ┌_green_a_2__ex:e14,x9
                        │                      ┌and┤
                        │                      │   └_cave_n_1__x:x9
                                               │   ┌_to_p_dir__eex:e8,e2,x9

Logic: pronoun_q__xhh(x3, pron__x(x3), _the_q__xhh(x9, and(_green_a_2__ex(e14, x9), _cave_n_1__x(x9)), and(_to_p_dir__eex(e8, e2, x9), _loud_a_1__ee(e15, e2), _go_v_1__ex(e2, x3))))

The sole purpose of _loud_a_1__ee is to put data on e2 that gets picked up by _go_v_1__ex and tells it how to go.

Case 3: The “Index” of a phrase

Verbs are an example of predicates that can operate in either mode. For example, in “Get the diamond that shines”, get is a command asking for the world to be changed but shines is a query helping indicate which diamond in the default word the speaker is indicating. And, obviously, they could each by in sentences working in the other mode (e.g. “shine the flashlight”). So, just like on they need to be told which mode to be in for a particular phrase.

"Get the diamond that shines"

                        │                      ┌_get_v_1__exx:e2,x3,x8
                                               │   ┌_diamond_n_1__x:x8

Logic: pronoun_q__xhh(x3, pron__x(x3), _the_q__xhh(x8, and(_diamond_n_1__x(x8), _shine_v_1__ex(e13, x8)), _get_v_1__exx(e2, x3, x8)))

Using the rules described so far, both _shine_v_1__ex (correctly) and _get_v_1__exx (incorrectly) would be evaluated. get shouldn’t be evaluated since the speaker intent is to change the world, not query its current state. But quoting it isn’t quite right either: there isn’t a predicate that needs the “data” that it would generate by quoting, right?

Actually, there is. It just hasn’t been shown yet because it isn’t generated by the ERG, it needs to be added by our engine afterwards. This is described in the section on executing the Prolog since it is added at the very end. The short story is that verbs which are the “index” or “the main verb of the sentence” can actually change the state of the world (e.g. “put the diamond on the table”) and need to be executed in a different way since they use a special planner subsystem to do it.

So, the index verb is always quoted and a special term is added to the Prolog which does the work of actually changing the world using the data that the verb attaches about itself to its event. How the verb does that is described here.

What Predicates Get a Quote Argument?

Two cases require adding a Quote argument to a predicate: