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Structuring languages as algebraic specifications : a framework for multilingual system representation

  • Author(s): Reyes, Arthur Alexander
  • et al.

With this paper we would like to introduce what we believe to be a unifying framework for the investigation of multilingual system representation phenomena. The framework applies the body of knowledge on algebraic specifications to the representation and manipulation of formal languages. In this framework, a formal language is represented by an algebraic specification; the language's syntax is represented by the algebraic specification's signature; and the language's semantics are represented by the algebraic specification's axioms. Strings in the language are represented by terms of the algebraic specification, or in the more general case by formulas of the algebraic specification or a definitional extension of the algebraic specification. Algebraic specification structuring operations, such as specification morphisms, parameterized specifications, and colimits are used to construct new languages from component languages.

We review a number of approaches to multilingual system representation that have been presented in the research literature. For each of these approaches, we show how the approach can be represented in our framework.

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