Esses may lead to misunderstanding as humans

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esses may lead to misunderstanding as humans interpret information differ- ently (they form a so-called “deep structure” in their mind) and thus construe it differently as well (e.g., as a requirement). During such a process (i.e., perception and representation of information), so-called “transforma- tional effects” occur that show different characteristics with every human but may occur in all humans [Bandler and Grinder 1975, Bandler 1994] .
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50 5 Documenting Requirements in Natural Language Figure 5-1 Transformational effects in perception and representation of knowledge Transformational effects The fact that transformational effects adhere to certain rules can be exploited by the requirements engineer to elicit the deep structure (i.e., what the author of a requirement really meant) from its surface struc- ture (i.e., the requirements). The following list includes the five transfor- mational processes that are most relevant for requirements engineering: Nominalization Nouns without reference index Universal quantifiers Incompletely specified conditions Incompletely specified process verbs 5.1.1 Nominalization Reduction of processes By means of nominalization, a (sometimes long-lasting) process is con- verted into a (singular) event. All information necessary to accurately describe the process is thereby lost. The process word transmit turns into the noun transmission . Other typical examples of nominalization are the terms input , booking , and acceptance . Personal perception Personal knowledge Reality Language representation of knowledge Defects? Defects? Perception Knowledge representation Example 5-1: Nominalization “In case of a system crash, a restart of the system shall be performed.” The terms system crash and restart each describe a process that ought to be analyzed more precisely.
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5.1 Effects of Natural Language 51 Define processes completely. Per se, there are no arguments against the use of nominalized terms to describe complex processes. However, the process should be explicitly defined by the term used. The definition of a nominalized term must not allow for any leeway in the interpretation of the processes and must precisely depict the process, including any exceptions that may occur as well as all input and output parameters. It is therefore not necessary to avoid nominalizations, but they should only be used if the underlying process is completely defined. During the linguistic analysis of a text, all nominalizations ought to be examined to determine whether they have been defined in sufficient detail in another part of the requirements document and whether they are clear for all stakeholders. If this is not the case, another requirement or a glossary entry must be created. 5.1.2 Nouns without Reference Index Nouns with missing reference As with process verbs, nouns are frequently incompletely specified. Lin- guists call this a missing or inadequate index of reference. Examples of terms that contain incompletely specified nouns are the user , the controller , the system , the message , the data , or the function .
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