Glossing Rules

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Core rules

Alignment

(1) Alignment Rule
An object language word and its gloss need to be arranged vertically left-aligned. [1]
Example
Vorgestern bin ich aus einem Kurzurlaub zurückgekommen.
the.day.before.yesterday am I out a short.vacation back.come
‘I came back from a short vacation the day before yesterday.’
 

But not:

Vorgestern bin ich von einem Kurzurlaub zurückgekommen.
the.day.before.yesterday am I out a short.vacation back.come

The best way to edit this in text editing programs is by the means of invisible tables, i.e. tables without border lines. (Whitespaces like blanks or tabs are not very helpful for this purpose.)


One-to-Many Correspondences

One object language word = many gloss elements

(2a) Standard Joining Rule (for the gloss)
Within a pair of an object language word and gloss, neither the word nor the gloss may contain any whitespaces (blanks, tabs).
If one object language word corresponds to two or more elements in the gloss, these elements have to be joined by a punctuation mark.
The standard punctuation mark for joining elements in the gloss is the period “.”. [2]
Example
Vorgestern bin ich aus einem Kurzurlaub zurückgekommen.
the.day.before.yesterday am I out a short.vacation back.come
‘I came back from a short vacation the day before yesterday.’
 

But not:

Vorgestern bin ich aus einem Kurzurlaub zurückgekommen.
the day before yesterday am I out a short vacation back come

Standard exception to the Standard Joining Rule
The sequence PERSON – NUMBER is usually spelled simply without a period “.”, i.e. abbreviated as e.g. “3PL” (instead of “3.PL”). [3]

For another meaning of the period “.” in cases in which other punctuation marks like colons “:”, hyphens “-” or else are also used, see The Period in Expert Mode section below.


Compact translation phrases in the gloss
(2b) Compact phrase joining recommendation
If one object language word corresponds to a compact multi-word phrase translation in the gloss, these elements should rather be joined by an underscore “_” than by a period “.”. [4]
Example
Vorgestern bin ich aus einem Kurzurlaub zurückgekommen.
the_day_before_yesterday am I out a short.vacation back.come

Rather than

Vorgestern bin ich aus einem Kurzurlaub zurückgekommen.
the.day.before.yesterday am I out a short.vacation back.come

FAQ
What is the difference between the case of “vorgestern – the_day_before_yesterday” and “Kurzurlaub – short.vacation”?
In the case of “Kurzurlaub – short.vacation”, the object language word “Kurzurlaub” actually contains the separate elements “short” (“kurz”) and “vacation” (“Urlaub”) – and only these elements. In the case of “vorgestern – the_day_before_yesterday – vorgestern”, on the other hand, the object language word “vorgestern” does not contain the elements “the”, “day”, “before”, and “yesterday” as four separate units. “The day before yesterday” is rather a fixed combined phrase.
But “vorgestern” does contain the elements “before” and “yesterday”!
In the spirit of the Compact Phrase Joining Rule, one may therefore gloss “vorgestern” either as “before.yesterday” or “the_day_before_yesterday”.


Many object language words = one gloss element

(2c) Standard Joining Rule for object language words
If two or more object language words corresponds to one elements in the gloss, these elements have to be joined by a punctuation mark. The standard punctuation mark for joining object language words that correspond to one single gloss is the underscore “_” (rather than the period “.”). [5]
Example
I came back from a short vacation the_day_before_yesterday
ich kam zurück von ein kurz Urlaub vorgestern
‘Vorgestern bin ich aus einem Kurzurlaub zurückgekommen.’
 

But not:

I came back from a short vacation the day before yesterday
ich kam zurück von ein kurz Urlaub vorgestern


Analyzing grammatical categories

Grammatical morphemes

(3) Grammatical categories markup rule
Grammatical categories marked on or inherent to the object language word may be analyzed in the gloss. These grammatical categories have to be typeset in small caps (small capital letters), or else – but less elegant – in normal capital letters.
For the sake of space, frequent grammatical categories are usually abbreviated. [6]

For common glossing abbreviations, see the Glossing Abbreviations section.

Example
Vorgestern bin ich aus einem Kurzurlaub zurückgekommen.
the_day_before_yesterday be.PRS.1SG 1SG.NOM out ART.INDF.SG.M.DAT short.vacation.M.SG.DAT back.come.PTCP.PRF
‘I came back from a short vacation the day before yesterday.’
 

Alternatively, one might want to leave some elements unanalyzed:

Vorgestern bin ich aus einem Kurzurlaub zurückgekommen.
the_day_before_yesterday am I out a.SG.M.DAT short.vacation.M.SG.DAT back.come.PTCP.PRF


Ambiguous morphemes

(4) Ambiguous polysemous morphemes recommendation
If a morpheme has two or more different meaning, i.e. if it is polysemous, the encoder might optionally want to give two or more of the meanings separated by a slash “/”. [7]

Cf. the following paradigm:

Number, case Word Gloss
SG, NOM Urlaub vacation.SG.NOM or vacation.SG.NOM/ACC/DAT or vacation.SG.NGEN
SG, GEN Urlaubs vacation.SG.GEN
SG, ACC Urlaub vacation.SG.ACC or vacation.SG.NOM/ACC/DAT or vacation.SG.NGEN
SG, DAT Urlaub vacation.SG.DAT or vacation.SG.NOM/ACC/DAT or vacation.SG.NGEN
PL, NOM Urlaube vacation.PL.NOM or vacation.PL.NOM/GEN
PL, GEN Urlaube vacation.PL.GEN or vacation.PL.NOM/GEN
PL, ACC Urlauben vacation.PL.ACC or vacation.PL.ACC/DAT
PL, DAT Urlauben vacation.PL.DAT or vacation.PL.ACC/DAT



Optional rules: advanced mode

Some words are neatly separable into different morphemes, others are not. In an advanced mode of glossing the encoder may distinguish between separable morphemes, ‘joined’ by a colon (“:”), and inseparable morphemes, ‘joined’ by a period (“.”).

General marking of separable inflection

(5) Unspecified inflection markup
If one object language word corresponds to two or more elements in the gloss that can be distinguished between, theoretically, but the encoder is not able to or does not want to specify the type of inflection or the morpheme boundary, these elements may be joined (or rather separated) in the gloss by a colon “:” (rather than by a period “.”). [8]
Example
Vorgestern bin ich aus einem Kurzurlaub zurückgekommen.
the_day_before_yesterday be.PRS.1SG 1SG.NOM out ART.INDF.SG:M.DAT short:vacation.M:SG.DAT back:come:PTCP.PRF
‘I came back from a short vacation the day before yesterday.’
 

Rather than

Vorgestern bin ich aus einem Kurzurlaub zurückgekommen.
the_day_before_yesterday be.PRS.1SG 1SG.NOM out ART.INDF.SG.M.DAT short.vacation.M.SG.DAT back.come.PTCP.PRF

Note that, consequently, the period (“.”) has a more precise meaning then in the advanced mode (see below).


The period in advanced mode

(2a') The period in advanced mode
If one chooses to mark separable morphemes by a colon “:”, elements in a gloss should only be joined by a period “.”, if these are inseparably fused in the object language word, i.e. if they are part of a Portmanteau morpheme. [9]
Example
Vorgestern bin ich aus einem Kurzurlaub zurückgekommen.
the_day_before_yesterday be.PRS.1SG 1SG.NOM out a:M.DAT short:vacation(M)[SG.DAT] back:come:PTCP.PRF
‘I came back from a short vacation the day before yesterday.’
 



Optional rules: expert mode

An extra Glossing line

In the expert mode, inflections are marked more specifically as to its type and degree of attachment. Additionally, morpheme boundaries are not only indicated in the gloss but also in the object language. Consequently, the encoder needs to add an extra glossing transliteration line between the original object language line and the glossing line.

Example (to be explained below)
Original Vorgestern bin ich aus einem Kurzurlaub zurückgekommen.
Glossing
transliteration
vorgestern [10] bin ich aus ein-em Kurz=urlaub zurück=ge-komm-en.
Glossing
line
the_day_
before_yesterday
be.PRS.1SG 1SG.NOM out a-M.DAT short=vacation(M)[ SG.DAT] back=PTCP.PRF1-come-PTCP.PRF1
‘I came back from a short vacation the day before yesterday.’
 


One might then think about leaving out the ‘Original’ line. This is an issue that relates to the kind of one’s intended readers.

Example (to be explained below)
Glossing
transliteration
Vorgestern bin ich aus ein-em Kurz=urlaub zurück=ge-komm-en.
Glossing
line
the_day_
before_yesterday
be.PRS.1SG 1SG.NOM out a-M.DAT short=vacation(M)[ SG.DAT] back=PTCP.PRF1-come-PTCP.PRF1
‘I came back from a short vacation the day before yesterday.’
 


Inflection markup rules

Affixes and clitics

(6) Affix markup rules
If one object language word contains a clearly and neatly separable affix (suffix or prefix), this affix should be attached to its stem in both, in the transcription and in the gloss, by a hyphen “-” (rather than by a period “.” or colon “:”). [11]
(7) Clitic morpheme markup rules
If an object language morpheme attaches to another word as a clitic (enclitic or proclitic), this clitic should be attached to its base in both, in the transcription and in the gloss, by an equal sign “=” (rather than by a hyphen “-”). [12]
Example
Vorgestern bin ich aus einem Kurzurlaub zurückgekommen.
Vorgestern bin ich aus ein-em Kurz=urlaub zurück=ge-komm-en.
the_day_before_yesterday be.PRS.1SG 1SG.NOM out a-M.DAT short=vacation.M.SG.DAT back=PTCP.PRF-come-PTCP.PRF
‘I came back from a short vacation the day before yesterday.’
 

Rather than

Vorgestern bin ich aus einem Kurzurlaub zurückgekommen.
the_day_before_yesterday be.PRS.1SG 1SG.NOM out a.M.DAT short.vacation.M.SG.DAT back.come.PTCP.PRF

For “einem”, cf. the following paradigm:

Gender, case Word Glossing transcription Gloss
M, NOM ein ein ART.INDF.SG.M.NOM (or rather ART.INDF.SG[M.NOM], see below)
M, GEN eines ein-es ART.INDF.SG-M.GEN
M, ACC eine' ein-en ART.INDF.SG-M.ACC
M, DAT eine' ein-em ART.INDF.SG-M.DAT
F, NOM eine ein-e ART.INDF.SG-F.NOM
... ... ... ...

Note that e.g. “bin” cannot neatly be separated into different morphemes. Therefore, all its semantic elements are still fused by periods ‘.’ in the gloss.


Circumfixes and other circum-morphemes

(8) Circum-morpheme markup recommendation
If a split object language morpheme encircles another word from both sides as a circumfix or ‘circum-clitic’, or if two object language words encircle other words, we recommend to simply repeat the same gloss for both elements identically and mark both glosses with the same superscript index. [13]
Examples
šipram taštaprī
šipr-am ta-štapr
writing(M)-ACC.SG 2SG.F1-write.PRF-2SG.F1
‘You have sent a letter.’
 


Vorgestern bin ich aus einem Kurzurlaub zurückgekommen.
Vorgestern bin ich aus ein-em Kurz=urlaub zurück=ge-komm-en.
the_day_before_yesterday be.PRS.1SG 1SG.NOM out a-M.DAT short=vacation.M.SG.DAT back=PTCP.PRF1-come-PTCP.PRF1
‘I came back from a short vacation the day before yesterday.’
 


Je ne sais pas pourquoi.
1SG NOT1 know.PRS.1SG NOT1 why
‘I don’t know why.’
 


Infixes

(9) Infix markup recommendation
If one object language word contains a clearly and neatly separable infix, this infix may optionally be marked in both, in the transcription and in the gloss, by angle brackets “< >” (rather than by periods “.”, colons “:”, or hyphens “-”). In the gloss, the brackets might either follow or precede the gloss of the element with the infix.[14]
Example
šipram taštaprī
šipr-am ta-š<ta>pr-ī
letter(M)-ACC.SG 2SG.F1-write<PRF>-2SG.F1
‘You have sent a letter.’
 


Reduplication phenomena

(10) Reduplication markup recommendation
Categories that are expressed by a regular reduplication phenomenon in a paradigm may optionally be marked in both, in the transcription and in the gloss, with a tilde “~” (rather than with a period “.”, colon “:”, or hyphen “-”). [15]

Cf. the following Egyptian paradigm:

Verbal Number Word Glossing transliteration Gloss Translation
(unmarked) jrt jr-t do.PTCP-F ‘(she) who does/did’
DISTR jrrt jr~r-t do~PTCP.DISTR-F ‘(she) who (repeatedly, ...) does/used to do’


Correct sequential alignment rule

If affixes, clitics, reduplications and/or infixes are marked by “-”, “=”, “~”, and “< >”, respectively, it is mandatory to obey the following rule:

(11) Correct sequential alignment rule
The number and sequence of hyphens “-”, equal signs “=”, tildes “~”, and angle brackets “< >” must always be exactly the same in the object language transliteration and the gloss. [16]

Cf. for example:

Correct Wrong Wrong Correct Wrong
jrrtf jrrtf jrrtf ambulabam ambulabam
jr~r-t=f jrr-t=f jr~r.t=f ambula-ba-m
do~DISTR.REL-F=3SG.M do~DISTR.REL-F=3SG.M do~DISTR.REL-F=3SG.M walk-IPFV-1SG walk-IPFV-1SG
‘what he used to do’ ‘I walked’


Missing inflection

(12) Missing inflection markup recommendation
If one can determine a grammatical category of a word only by the fact that a morpheme (ending, affix, infix, ...) is missing, this category should be attached to the gloss in square brackets “[ ]” (rather than by a period “.” or colon “:”). [17]

Cf. the following paradigm:

Number, case Word Glossing transliteration Gloss
SG, NOM Urlaub Urlaub vacation[SG.NOM] (or vacation[SG.NGEN])
SG, GEN Urlaubs Urlaub-s vacation-SG.GEN
SG, ACC Urlaub Urlaub vacation[SG.ACC] (or vacation[SG.NGEN])
SG, DAT Urlaub Urlaub vacation[SG.DAT] (or vacation[SG.NGEN])
PL, NOM Urlaube Urlaub-e vacation-PL.NOM (or vacation-PL.NOM/GEN)
PL, GEN Urlaube Urlaub-e vacation-PL.GEN (or vacation-PL.NOM/GEN)
PL, ACC Urlauben Urlaub-e vacation-PL.ACC (or vacation-PL.ACC/DAT)
PL, DAT Urlauben Urlaub-e vacation-PL.DAT (or vacation-SG.ACC/DAT)
Example
Vorgestern bin ich aus einem Kurzurlaub zurückgekommen.
Vorgestern bin ich aus ein-em Kurz=urlaub zurück=ge-komm-en.
the_day_before_yesterday be.PRS.1SG 1SG.NOM out a-M.DAT short=vacation.M[SG.DAT] back=PTCP.PRF1-come-PTCP.PRF1
‘I came back from a short vacation the day before yesterday.’
 

Rather than

Vorgestern bin ich aus einem Kurzurlaub zurückgekommen.
Vorgestern bin ich aus ein-em Kurz=urlaub zurück=ge-komm-en.
the_day_before_yesterday be.PRS.1SG 1SG.NOM out a-M.DAT short=vacation.M.SG.DAT back=PTCP.PRF1-come-PTCP.PRF1

Alternatively, one might want to explicitly mark the paradigmatic missing of a morpheme (ending, affix, infix, ...) in the transcription by the means of a ‘zero-morpheme’ affix “-ø”. (Cf. the Affix Markup Recommendation above.)

Example
Vorgestern bin ich aus einem Kurzurlaub zurückgekommen.
Vorgestern bin ich aus ein-em Kurz=urlaub zurück=ge-komm-en.
the_day_before_yesterday be.PRS.1SG 1SG.NOM out a-M.DAT short=vacation.M-SG.DAT back=PTCP.PRF1-come-PTCP.PRF1
‘I came back from a short vacation the day before yesterday.’
 


Covert, inherent categories

(13) Inherent categories markup recommendation
Categories that are never expressed by a morpheme in a paradigm, i.e. categories that are rather inherent to a lexeme, may optionally be attached to the respective gloss in parentheses “( )” (rather than by a period “.” or square brackets “[ ]”). [18]
Example
Vorgestern bin ich aus einem Kurzurlaub zurückgekommen.
Vorgestern bin ich aus ein-em Kurz=urlaub zurück=ge-komm-en.
the_day_before_yesterday be.PRS.1SG 1SG.NOM out a-M.DAT short=vacation(M)[SG.DAT] back=PTCP.PRF1-come-PTCP.PRF1
‘I came back from a short vacation the day before yesterday.’
 

Rather than

Vorgestern bin ich aus einem Kurzurlaub zurückgekommen.
Vorgestern bin ich aus ein-em Kurz=urlaub zurück=ge-komm-en.
the_day_before_yesterday be.PRS.1SG 1SG.NOM out a-M.DAT short=vacation.M[SG.DAT] back=PTCP.PRF1-come-PTCP.PRF1

Caution: This rule may eventually generate some difficult questions, like whether e.g. “ich” should be glossed as “1SG.NOM” or “1SG(NOM)”.


Ablaut phenomena

(14) Ablaut markup recommendation
Categories that are expressed by a regular ablaut phenomenon in a paradigm may optionally be attached to the gloss with a back slash “\” (rather than with a period “.” or colon “:”). [19]

Cf. the following paradigm:

Number Word Gloss
SG Vater father(M).SG or better father(M)[SG]
PL Väter father(M):PL or better father(M)\PL


Transfix (root-and-pattern morphology)

In some languages, like many Afro-Asiatic languages, one can neatly separate (a) a word root and (b) a vowel pattern, although they are intertwined like two cogwheels. This phenomenon is known under as ‘root-and-pattern morphology’ or ‘transfixation’.

(15) Transfix markup recommendation
Categories that are expressed by a transfix, i.e. a complex regular vocalic pattern applied to a (consonantal) root in a paradigm, may be marked as unspecified inflection (“:”, see above).
Alternatively, we suggest to use a ‘new’ punctuation, e.g. “\”, to mark transfixation.
Discussion
Some scholars suggest to use the backslash (“\”; see above) also for transfixation. [20].

Cf. the following examples from Akkadian:

šapārum šapār-um write:INF-NOM.SG or write\INF-NOM.SG ‘(to) write; (to) send’
ašpur a-špur 1SG-write:PST or 1SG-write\PST ‘I sent’
ašappar a-šappar 1SG-write:IPFV or 1SG-write\IPFV ‘I send, I will send’
aštapar a-š<ta>par 1SG-write<PRF> or 1SG-write\PRF ‘I have sent’
šiprum šipr-um writing(M)-NOM.SG ‘message, writing; work’


The period and the colon in expert mode

(2a") The period and the colon in expert mode
If one chooses to mark affixes, clitics, reduplications and/or infixes by “-”,“=”, “~”, and “< >”, respectively,
– elements in a gloss should only be joined by a colon “:” as a last resort for difficult cases like e.g. transfixation, and
– elements in a gloss should only be joined by a period “.”, if these are inseparably fused in the object language word, i.e. if they are part of a Portmanteau morpheme. [21]
Example
Vorgestern bin ich aus einem Kurzurlaub zurückgekommen.
Vorgestern bin ich aus ein-em Kurz=urlaub zurück=gekommen.
the_day_before_yesterday be.PRS.1SG 1SG.NOM out a-M.DAT short=vacation(M)[SG.DAT] back=come:PTCP.PRF
‘I came back from a short vacation the day before yesterday.’
 

However, the encoder may of course choose to use the colon “:” instead of any of the other indications of separable morphemes (“-”, “=”, “< &rt;”, “~”, “\”) – but not for Portmanteau morphemes. But remember that that, differently to the cases of “-”, “=”, “< &rt;”, and “~”, the colon “:” in the gloss is not supposed to match with a colon “:” in the Glossing transliteration line.

Note that a separate glossing transcription line is not necessary if the encoder uses only periods “.”, colons “:”, backslashes “\”, parentheses “( )”, and square brackets “[ ]”.



References

  1. LGR (2008): rule 1; cf. Lehmann (2004: R27).
  2. Cf. LGR (2008): rule 4.
  3. LGR (2008): rule 5.
  4. LGR (2008): rule 4a; Lehmann (2004: R23).
  5. Lehmann (2004: R11).
  6. Cf. LGR (2008): rule 3; Lehmann (2004: R29).
  7. Lehmann (2004: §3.5, tab. 6.2).
  8. LGR (2008): rule 4c; cf. Lehmann (2004: R13).
  9. Cf. Lehmann (2004: R21). LGR (2008: rule 4B) suggest the semi-colon “;” as an alternative.
  10. For the lower case, cf. Lehmann (2004: R31).
  11. LGR (2008): rule 2; Lehmann (2004: R12).
  12. LGR (2008): rule 2; Lehmann (2004: R15).
  13. Cf. LGR (2008): rule 8 (there without index) and Lehmann (2004: R17) with alternative suggestions.
  14. LGR (2008): rule 9; Lehmann (2004: R18).
  15. LGR (2008): rule 10; Lehmann (2004: R19).
  16. Lehmann (2004: R9, R10).
  17. LGR (2008): rule 6. Lehmann (2004: R24, R16) used “[ ]” and “( )” differently.
  18. LGR (2008): rule 7.
  19. LGR (2008): rule 4d; cf. Lehmann (2004: R20).
  20. Cf. Lehmann (2004: R20).
  21. Cf. Lehmann (2004: R21).

Bibliography


Expert Glossing Punctuation
X:C X-C X=C X~C X<C> C1...C1 X\C X\C X[C] X.C X(C) X_Y C/D
unspecified affix clitic reduplication infix circumfix ablaut transfix ø morpheme Portmanteau inherent phrase polysemous