huml primary-base v. 0.93a (suggested revisions of v. 0.92)

This re-write copyright by its author S. Candelaria de Ram 20-21 6/2005.

Terms have been re-organized after re-writing their definitions, some added, some omitted. Hopefully the assembly is now more coherent, and builds up logically (is more logically complete). Unavoidably, it represents insights from the author's own Cognitive Science research.


Punctuation and capitalization (largely as borrowed in from v.0.92) are not yet consistent with the OASIS and OWL format conventions. Term names of more uniform form might be good, perhaps humlWhatever?

Greater consistency of term level resulted from setting specific physiological descriptors as an expansion (application or secondary schema for forensic or other domain). Address, however, was seen to be a cultural institution term, adduced after Culture's eventual specification.

Semiote is a term I coined, which has now been in use thru the huml group for several years.

One of the additions is Concept, which is needed before Belief (and Belief Systems) can be described with any precision. Also added are measurementValue, timePeriod, and before them, dimension. Omission of the term Personality which was found problematical in earlier huml work is proposed, in favor of a similar term from which it can be constructed if and when need be: the more immediate and verifiable Personna.


The focus of human markup language (huml, a proposed XML domain dialect) is providing of tags for embedding in discourse to serve as explicit indicators of their "humanness" properties. In particular the tags are designed to re-supply implicit communication content and context that is not necessarily obvious from its form. In this day and age where parties to communications may be separated in space and time, this effort arises to fill a need to bridge across contexts, including especially cultural gaps, which becomes urgent.

Embedded XML tags within the discourse, like footnotes in a scholarly work, may be picked out of electronic versions, for instance, to re-supply context assumed by the originator of the message but missing from the receivers' context. It is a way to avoid inadvertent misinterpretation and actions with unintended consequences.

Establishing a sufficient standard vocabulary is a naming game. Necessarily biased by the effort's own cultural context, the following set of terms reflects usages in communities of practice ranging from the hard and soft sciences to those of social institutions. Present revisions reflect study of a number of ontologies ranging from the forensic to usages developed for classifying culturally significant artifacts, writings, and multimedia works (esp. CIDOC).

Particular applications will surely need to expand these terms with suitable expansion schemas. The details will presumably be suited to how the application works and what it is to do. Please let the huml design team know of areas not covered by these terms, or difficulties using them in extensions for applications.

Given the nature of the materiel, the ranges of the terms overlap some. The communication process -- Semiosis, contextualized -- is basic in the schema.



A measurable parameter.

Some dimensions are concrete, like those in hard sciences, though even hard science parameters may be more -- or less -- primal. To wit: time, space, momentum/force, surface tension could be said to be "more primal"; genetic default for a species during an era, predicted weather, economic trend could be said to be successively less primal. They involve more inference than direct measurement.

Conceptual dimensions are very important in human systems. (See other huml terms, such as Chronemic and Intent.) Measuring them may require no little artifice, inference, and/or speculation.

Speculative declaration of dimensions is quite common in human discourse and will need to be tagged using expansion schemas. The schemas, like other things in our naturally time-bound world, may be expected to change from time to time.


Measurement Unit

Used to scale dimensioned measurementValues. Units may be Discrete class designations (e.g., blood types A, B, AB, and O), Ordered class designators (e.g., the procession of calendar days), and interrupted and non-interrupted Continua (e.g., molecular bond lengths, chroma for light-dark vs. colors which apply only in a certain frequency range of light).


Measurement Value

Result in measurement units of measuring along a dimension at some time(s) and place(s): single-valued or multiple-valued when viewed in terms of points, but may also be viewed in terms of curved lines, spaces, or trajectories. Abstract mathematics provides ample models from which tags may well be adopted as appropriate (e.g., array)

For instance, the intensity value associated with huml Haptic type descriptors might be expanded in one schema to an integer between 0 and 9, with some measurementTechnique such as self-reports. Another expansion schema might expand the same thing in the same range as a decimal derived from instrumental measurement of effects of the event on cells in parties to the touching -- including observers, with accompanying estimation of degree of error so that the measurementValue is a compound descriptor.



A designated time period is a span of time, with or without specific endpoints.

Cultural designators may apply in one or another expansion. For example, some application domains call for descriptions of time in seconds or light years, while others call for eras such as The Iron Age, or "during the heyday of the Impressionists", or even "Long, long ago...".


cf. context in Semiosis


Location --?--> Locator

The huml term Locator serves to reference relative positional locations of an object (or in a conceptual space).

Canonical cases in point that might be developed as XML tags in expansion schemas could be those small sets of position adverbs realized in English as the likes of: "on", "upon", "in", "within", "alongside", and perhaps directionals such as "toward", "from", "to", some "of" usages, and qualifiers indicating relative temporal positions, like "erstwhile", or importance like "pre-eminent".


Physiological Descriptors

A Person's body size, shape, and other characteristics stand in contrast to their social identity descriptors, such as roles. Among physical descriptors of use or cultural significance are those bodily measurements commonly used in forensic descriptions of identity: gender, height, weight, eye color, and age at a particular time.


Human Body Part

This is a "simple" body part, such as an arm, a forearm, or an eybrow. Used in haptics, kinesics, artifacts, etc. Cultural and individual variants may obtain. Variants may be "marked" compared to usual inventories of parts (unmarked). Further, conventons in one or another cultural matrix may attribute character properties to bodyParts (e.g., "a strong chin", "a cute nose", "an ugly mug"). Scientific usages will also apply.


< --?-- bodyLocation


The huml term LocationOnBody is used for describing a location on a body part. Co-ordinates with descriptions of haptics, artifacts, and other huml terms. Medical and forensic data may specify internal and external locationOnBody of, for example, scars.


A Channel is a specialized body part or part(s) serving as sensor (faculty, sensing device). Such sensor is instrumental in transmitting and/or receiving Signals comprising communications. Channels differ in what kinds and ranges of energy they can process. For example, ears process vapor compression waves within certain ranges of atmosphere and compression, depending on species. (For instance, human ears, unaided, cannot hear as high as bats', but they can emit as well as receive sound.)

Extensioon: Denominate Channel sequences and compounds that may comprise sensors.


Signal (Human Signal?)

A signal is energy whose shape can potentially be perceived by a party to a communication (see Semiote), and interpreted as meaningful. A signal has physical reality as well as structure.

A Signal's meaning may be very simple (e.g., "Pay attention!") or very complex (such as this document). Signal structures may similarly be simple or couched within elaborate symbol systems such as natural languages, musical idioms, or bits on a computer storage medium.

Extensions: This term could serve as base for a vocabulary of descriptors characterizing signal shapes and properties of messages themselves.


Proxemic: Human Space/Time Nearness Relationships

Descriptions of Proxemic factors in communication may address spatial placeents of protagonists (and their relative body part positions) relative to each other and possibly to their environs. Physical distance or closeness maintained/changed between individuals influences messageTypes?? via perceptibility of odor, body heat, angles of visibility, shadows, etc. Thus proximity can serve as signal.

Secondary schemas might, for one thing, expand to terms for specifying concrete environs: These would be tags for describing dimensions and space-delimiting features like walls, rivers; for noting movability within said space like furniture, tents, door positions, smaller objects. Additionally, terms for culturally and individually conditioned customary social distance may be appropriate expansions for the Proxemic.


Haptic: Human Touching Behaviors

Haptics refers to touching behaviors, which may be semiotic (have symbolic content in one or another system). Some touching behaviors may be regarded as gestures and are thus linguistic, whether verbal or not. Parties to haptic behavior may be direct participants (those touching) and indirect participants (observers). Parameters include region(s) of contact, and forcefulness as well as duration and repetition.

For example, spanking and pats on the back share repetitive slaps from an actor to a recipient (patient, to use case grammar); but the forcefulness of the hand contact and the contact areas on the recipient characteristically differ. Concomitant Intent (q.v.) may also differ substantially from one haptic act to another. Some haptic events are accidental. Customary haptic gestures and acceptabiity to participants is culturally and individually conditioned; like all behaviors, the haptic varies with a cognitive agent's momentary biological state (sensitivity, strength) and with proximity of participants. (Thus for example, manner and meaning of kissing may vary greatly.)

Among theories of the haptic is one that illustrates possible sub-schema typing, proposing classification of haptic events as functional/professional, social/polite, friendship/warmth, love/intimace, or sexual arousal. Physical therapy might be classified as functional/professional, for example, and more or less forceful, but not necessarily highly symbolic communication.


Kinesic: Human Body Movement

Kinesics, body movement bearing meaning, may portray moods, emotions, intent to interact, and emphasis. Kinesics includes facial gesture. Manner of movement may also be meaningful (e.g., a stiff nod).

Exapansion schemas might denominate culture-specific sets of significant body movements. An obvious case in point is ASL, American Sign Language, which has a kinesic basis.


Human Time Factors

Chronemic is a tag used for time descriptions. Perception and hence description of time can vary greatly from individual to individual and culture to culture. Social implicata include perceived/described punctuality, willingness to wait, and rate of interaction (e.g., turn-taking periods). A pair of attributes of Chronemic that may be useful are: Monochronic, meaning one thing at a time in sequence. Polychronic, meaning several things at once (co-occurrent; [partly] simultaneous). Among descriptions of time are "scientific" or "objective" measures, which carry with them assumptions not always the same as those in other social contexts, such as unique, continuous, uniform monotonicity with or without quantization.


Human Artifact

A trace object, usually human made, and/or assigned human meaning (i.e., acting as a sign or symbol). For example, clothing, jewery, pictures, and even buildings, and food are physical artifacts often used to communicate information about oneself (Human/humanGroup). They might, for instance, symbolize one's interests, hobbies, status, role, task, or lifestyle. They may serve to do so even when their user is not present. They often form part of the context of being, including communication or semiosis.

Usages of "artifact" as technical term in anthropology and archaeology must be supported by the huml definition. Artifacts may be interpreted when reconstructing culture, person, and activity patterns. In some usages less physical artifacts (e.g., music and language) may be included. The term "evidence" in forensics is perhaps comparable in some respects..


Human Emotion

Though oft available to self-introspection, emotions have traditionally been considered "non-logical" or "primitive" non-mental "forces" in decision-making. Emotions certainly have physiological correlates internal to a person (or animal). Behavioral correlates are also sometimes observable (e.g., through muscle tension, tears, and pupillary size). Expressed emotions may be less transient than an atomic Thought. Emotions enter into "social courtesy" judgements, reaction time, and basic "fight or flight" reactions. They are therefore very important in Human Communication.

Emotions may vary greatly in strength. Many emotions may co-occur in one individual at different strengths. Therefore huml Emotion carries an intensity rating.

As a starting point six well-documented facial expression types interpretable as emotion-indicators are provided in the huml primary base; use secondary schema terms to refine or modify.


Human Intent

Intent is the state of mind and emotion stemming from purpose and volition, with which a Human acts or prepares to act.

An example of Intent is the planning of a presentation.

This complexType is a key factor underlying communication. Yet recognized descriptors of Intent vary notably with cultural group. Development of Intent description is therefore expected to be fruitful.


HumanThought? --?--> mental-metabolic-state

The physiologial process of mentation.

This factor is intended to include not only coherent awareness processes and communication processes, but also states. States, besides wakefulness, may for some applications need to extend to less usual brain activity conditions of short or long duration such as sleep, coma, autism, amnesia, drugged states.

This term provides a base for expansion of psychological process models.


Cognitive Concept

Concepts are cognitive constructs. Some are doubtless built into humans. Others stem from builtin "hooks" (one being normal human infant response at birth to faces, another newborns' mimicry of systematically apposed vowels -- some would call these "reflexes" akin to immediate muscle responses, except that they involve key conceptualizations).

Building of enormous structured inventories of related concepts is normal during a human's lifetime. Multiple concept systems is also the norm. (For example, nearly all individuals use multiple language varieties.)

Concepts may have geotemporally distributed reflexes (Artifacts) in the physiological system.

This term provides a base for semantics. Concepts may be considered abstractions.


Semiote, Cognitive Agent

A Semiote is a communicating cognitive agent. A cognitive agent may have distinguishable internal parts and states. Therefore communication with oneself is the base case, where sender and receiver overlap. Self-communication (self-awareness, reflexion capacity) is instrumental in assessing whether one has sent intended signals, in modeling their effectiveness in conveying concepts to receivers, and in developing subsequent conceptualizations and their signals.

Context, besides affecting signal transmission, enters into communications in that what is shared by parties to the communication need not be made explicit in the message. Thus both physical and conceptual referents in parties' environs and conceptual universes comprise context relevant to semiosis.

Once perceived and interpreted, the communication content or message is a matter of related Concepts that may constitute assertions about the Semiote's world and that of the sending Semiote partner. Whether they match the intended message is moot. Commonalities may make for easier matched interpretations.


Human Symbol

Any signal or internal reflex (device) with which an abstraction can be expressed. May include written and spoken language tokens (phonetic including prosody) and visual and tactile structures. May be objects. May be processual, taking time. May be culturally specific, part of a system of symbols. Often used as a means to communicate culturally conditioned suppositions. HumanSymbols may (and often do) appear in clusters and depend upon one another and on context for meaning and referential value to the intepreting cognitive agent/Semiote.


A simple signal connected to one interpretation in Semiosis. This term is used by some semioticians in contrast to symbol as defined here much in the way behavioral psychologists contrast reflex and the more general term response. However, in a broader comparative-culture context, signs are seen to generally be culturally conditioned. Therefore use of this term is deprecated in favor of the more culturally specific Symbol.


Semiotic Communication Mode --?--> Semiotic Communication [redundant modifier] [since mode is not addressed in the writeup]

Semiosis is the exchanging among cognitive agents of signs, signals and symbols meaningful to them. Semiosis is the process central to co-operative communication (huml's focus and intended application).


Abstract Human Organization

A HumanGroup attains the status of a Community when it exhibits shared belief and activity. Communication among the individual Humans comprising the HumanGroup is typical. Individuals may take on different roles in organized shared activity. Commonality of purpose may underlie the belief and activity. Defining belief/activity extend to verbal and nonverbal communication, joint creation/use of some artifact, and activity complexes such as study, worship, business, sports, and the like. Organized belief/activity for a particular HumanGroup's status as Community is to be specified in a huml sub-schema.

Examples of Abstract Human Organizations: University, tribal council, business partnership, nuclear and extended family. Institutions are features of Cultures (see Culture).


Human Culture

HumanCulture is characterized by a cluster of characteristics of a Community. Examples of cultural characteristics include family structure, age-grading, child-rearing practices, dress and mores. Cultural characteristics may persist beyond the lifetime of individual proponents of the culture (members of the community). The characteristics may evolve. (Example: script and language variants.) Side-effects of proponent belief and activity may be vested in artifacts that are at some time within the scope of the proponents.

Artifacts may range from the simple physical to subtle long-term effect; for instance, cultural artifacts may be pottery sherds; wires, poles, and switches of a telephone network; calendar, marriage customs; species' genetic makeup; climate and vegetation changes.)

Communication, foundational in many cultural processes, is context-dependent. The process of communication itself is a matter of semiosis, entailing exchanges of symbolic signals among agents. (See huml tags Semiote, Semiosis and Semiotic Communication Mode, huml HumanSymbol and huml HumanSignal, which can be used in descriptions of semiotic systems.)


Human Belief

A human Belief adds conviction that a concept or related concepts forming a statement or assertion is acceptable or true.

Referents for the assertion may be physico-chemical, allowing verification of truth -- or they may not. The belief holder may ignore verified truth in holding a belief. All referents, even vague ones, are always cognitive constructs or concepts. Since the referent of a cognitive construct or concept may be another concept, very complex systems of Beliefs may be built up (Belief systems). Humans and humanGroups may promulgate both Beliefs and Belief systems. Those may come to characterize Communities and Cultures.

Examples: Person P believes his own hypothesis that the sound heard from the phone he listened to yesterday was that of Person B speaking to tell P some thing TH. (A relatively simple Belief.) Person Q believes whatever is written in a certain book is true. (Depending on the book's size and coherence, this could be one or more Belief systems. Verification may or may not be applied to part or all of the book's assertions.)

Comprehension of a Belief or Belief system may also obtain in any given instance. ;)

Depending on the particular logic system being applied to relate the component Concepts, Belief may be extended to allow for degrees-of-truth, possibility, probability, change with time, and other meta-properties of assertions.

Cross-cultural usage demands considerable development of content details and processes pertaining to Belief.


An example of a cultural artifact, address is a communication-access code. Typically and address is a conventionalized Location for a Human or a HumanGroup (Community). The mode of agent access must be specified along with parameter values comprising the code. Examples: phone book.

For instance, the mode of communication for a postal address, common in databases, presumes a certain delivery system with shared name inventory. Face-to-face communication, long the default, is extended by postal delivery, which permits geolocal and temporal separation of the agents, but requires a certain kind of signal-bearing missive. The modes of communication for landline and mobile phones also require, for workability, geotemporally simultaneous co-location of signal-receiving device and each of the communicating agents. However, if recordings are used larger time gaps may be introduced between signal send time and receive time in this mode. Like most components of Human systems, communication-access modes and codes are expected to change from time to time.

Note that agent realworld Location and agent Address are not the same thing.

Further, HumanCommunicationChannel refers to sensory input, which is only one component of comminication-access code modes for Address.

(See huml Semiote, Semiosis and Semiotic Communication Mode, huml HumanSymbol and huml HumanSignal, which can be used in descriptions of semiotic systems.)

Question: Are linguistic modes of address (e.g., "Mom, ") cases of huml Address?



Projected interaction style of a Semiote during a communication event (Semiosis).

Examples: Within a given cultural context, one may intend to portray oneself to one's partners in Semiosis as "genial boss", "strict parent", "pitiful", "hunk", or what have you. Note the tie to timePeriod and Semotic events.

Comparisons and extension:

When consistent Personna projections come to typify an individual across many situations as far as he sees, they constitute his Personality. For example, a "go-getter" (according to self-report) is termed by practitioners to be a "Type A Personality".

Folk classifications are worth accumulating in expansion schemas, whether or not they correspond to theoreticals.

Social roles and characterizations in dramas and other descriptions of individuals may also be appropriate ways of extending this term.

Personality --?--> Personna might be more useful?

Human Personality Type

Long-term personal interaction style, typically of a Human. More useful may be Personna, meaning "currently projected nature of a person in given circumstances to partnered Semiote".

Confounded by other possible causes, the term "personality" arose by declaration in a cultural climate touting individualism. It arose in a time of relatively short Human lifetimes, so individuals went thru fewer stages. The term has been applied cross-culturally to huge groups of people (even whole communities). For computer communication applicatons, cautious concrete assessment may be warranted; a research approach might be to: (1) Find feature clusters that are consistent across multitudes of a person's communications/interactions long-term, and that are attributable to individual nature rather than culture, circumstance, or message. Then (2) find groups showing the same clusters.

[therefore Personna is probably preferable:]