The semantic web vision is one in which rich, ontology-based semantic markup will become widely available. The availability of semantic markup on the web opens the way to novel, sophisticated forms of question answering. AquaLog is a portable question-answering system which takes queries expressed in natural language and an ontology as input, and returns answers drawn from one or more knowledge bases (KBs). We say that AquaLog is portable because the configuration time required to customize the system for a particular ontology is negligible. AquaLog presents an elegant solution in which different strategies are combined together in a novel way. It makes use of the GATE NLP platform, string metric algorithms, WordNet and a novel ontology-based relation similarity service to make sense of user queries with respect to the target KB. Moreover it also includes a learning component, which ensures that the performance of the system improves over the time, in response to the particular community jargon used by end users.