Núcleo Interinstitucional de Lingüística Computacional
An Interinstitutional Center for Research and Development in Computational Linguistics


Universal Networking Language


Starting Time: 1997

UNL is a proposal of a common language shared by people over the world in a multilingual network. This long-term project is sponsored by the Institute of Advanced Studies of the United Nations University (
unl project/ias/unu)

Current Status
NILC is currently developing an "enconverter" for codifying Brazilian Portuguese into UNL and a "deconverter" for decodifying UNL into Brazilian Portuguese. A dictionary of Brazilian Portuguese is also being constructed to be related to universal words.

UNL Features
UNL is a metalanguage devised to describe the informal aspects of sentence meaning in a sense very close to that. The UNL building blocks are:

• a set of Universal Words (UWs), i.e., a "theoretically universal dictionary of conceptual-words", a "UW dictionary", to which every word or expression of a natural language, that is every headword, is to be linked;

• a set of binary Relation Labels (RLs), i.e., a set of theoretically universal semantic and grammatical relations that hold between pairs of sentence components or between UWs;

• a set of Attribute Labels (ALs), i.e., a set of language-specific attributes that specify particular values of grammatical and pragmatic features of individual UWs.

• formulas of the type RL(UW1,UW2)


Related Project
EPT - Web

Expected Results
Robust enconverter from and deconverter to Brazilian Portuguese.

Team (2001)
Maria das Graças Volpe Nunes (coordinator)
Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Jr.
Ronaldo Teixeira Martins (computational linguist in charge)
Lucia Helena M. Rino
Jorge Marques Pelizzoni

Finantial Support
IAS/UNU: 1997-1998

Maria das Graças Volpe Nunes:


Martins, R.T.; Rino, L.H.M.; Nunes. M.G.V.; Oliveira Jr., O.N. The UNL distinctive features: evidences through a NL-UNL encoding task. The First International Workshop on UNL, other Interlinguas and their Applications. LREC 2002. Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain. 29-31 May 2002. p.08-13. download zip file.

Nunes, M.G.V.; Martins, R.T.; Rino, L.H.M.; Oliveira Jr., O.N.; The use of the Universal Networking Language for devising an automatic sentence generator for Brazilian Portuguese. Cadernos de Computação, 2(2), p.73-97, ICMC-USP, 2001. download zip file

Oliveira Jr., O. N.; Martins, R. T.; Rino, L. H. M.; Nunes, M. G. V. O uso de interlíngua para comunicação via Internet: O Projeto UNL/Brasil. Série de Relatórios do NILC. NILC-TR-01-3, Julho 2001, 14p. download zip file

Martins, R.T.; Rino, L.H.M.; Nunes, M.G.V.; Montilha, G.; Oliveira Jr., O.N. An interlingua aiming at communication on the Web: How language-independent can it be? Workshop on Applied Interlinguas: Practical Applications of Interlingual Approaches to NLP (Pre-Conference Workshop in cojunction with ANLP-NAACL2000). Sunday, April 30, 2000. Seatle, Washington, USA. download zip file

Dias da Silva, B.C. et alii. The design of the Brazilian Portuguese machine tractable dictionary for an interlingua sentence generator. III Encontro para o Processamento Computacional da Lingua Portuguesa Escrita e Falada. PUCRS, Porto Alegre, Brasil, November 3 and 4, 1998. download zip file.

Martins, R.T. et alii. Can the syntactic realization be detached from the syntactic analisys during the production of natural language sentences? III Encontro para o Processamento Computacional da Lingua Portuguesa Escrita e Falada. PUCRS, Porto Alegre, Brasil, November 3 and 4, 1998. download zip file.

Nunes, M.G.V. et alii. Developing a UNL decodifier for Brazilian Portuguese. Proceedings of the II Workshop of UNL/Brazil Project. NCE/UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro, August 13 and 14 1997. download ps file

Martins, R.T; Rino, L.H.M.; Nunes, M.G.V., As Regras Gramaticais para a Decodificação UNL-Português no Projeto UNL. Relatórios Técnicos do ICMC-USP, 67 (NILC-TR-98-1). 1998, 143p. download zip file

Sossolote, C.R.C.; Zavaglia, C.; Rino, L.H.M.; Nunes, M.G.V., As Manifestações Morfossintáticas da Linguagem UNL no Português do Brasil, Tech.Rep. NILC-TR-97-2 (Notas do ICMSC, Nro.36). São Carlos, Novembro, 1997, 76p. download zip file

Martins, R.T.; Rino, L.H.M.; Oliveira Jr., O.N; Hasegawa, R.; Nunes, M.G.V., Specification of the UNL-Portuguese enconverter-deconverter prototype. Relatórios Técnicos do ICMC-USP, 63 (NILC-TR-97-1). Outubro, 1997, download zip file

Oliveira Jr., O.N. Internet: barreira vencida. USP Journal (15/06/97), pp.12 - São Paulo, 1997. download zip file