Conceptual graph grammar--a simple formalism for sublanguage.
Medical Informatics Applications
Medical Informatics Computing
Natural Language Processing
There are a wide variety of computer applications that deal with various aspects of medical language: concept representation, controlled vocabulary, natural language processing, and information retrieval. While technical and theoretical methods appear to differ, all approaches investigate different aspects of the same phenomenon: medical sublanguage. This paper surveys the properties of medical sublanguage from a formal perspective, based on detailed analyses cited in the literature. A review of several computer systems based on sublanguage approaches shows some of the difficulties in addressing the interaction between the syntactic and semantic aspects of sublanguage. A formalism called Conceptual Graph Grammar is presented that attempts to combine both syntax and semantics into a single notation by extending standard Conceptual Graph notation. Examples from the domain of pathology diagnoses are provided to illustrate the use of this formalism in medical language analysis. The strengths and weaknesses of the approach are then considered. Conceptual Graph Grammar is an attempt to synthesize the common properties of different approaches to sublanguage into a single formalism, and to begin to define a common foundation for language-related research in medical informatics.