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TEI-L  March 2006

TEI-L March 2006

Subject:

Re: linguistic annotation

From:

Michael Beddow <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Michael Beddow <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 27 Mar 2006 11:10:25 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (65 lines)

[J-L B]
>>> Is there a solution to keep a rich categorisation in my file?

[MB]
>>
>> "a" is something of a numerical underestimate.
>>
[J-L B]
>I understand the difficulties in well obtaining linguistics terms
>accepted by all the linguists.

True enough, but the plurality of analyses and terminologies, challenging
though it is, wasn't what I was alluding to. I meant that, assuming you had
settled on your categories and your criteria for applying them, there were
several different ways of associating them with a given text envisaged
within the TEI approach (and I took the latter issue to be the one you
wanted to solve).

These fall into two groups: those that apply the labels in situ to the
tokens, and those that do so by some method involving indirection. The
second group includes the uses of feature sets, which were expressly
designed for adding complex and detailed linguistic annotations and analyses
while allowing both for maximum flexibility in the terminology used, and for
validation of the chosen feature-set markup as if the vocabulary and grammar
used in that set had been part of the core TEI scheme. The fact that the
designers of the feature-set mechanism succeeded in that very difficult task
is one of the TEI's great achievements; the additional fact that very few
people so far have made anything like full use of the feature-set provisions
is another story, though one that hasn't yet finished and could still have a
happy ending, especially now that the usefulness of a feature set definition
and validation mechanism has been perceived beyond the ranks of linguists
and has been taken on board by ISO.

[J-L B]
[...]
> Perhaps would be necessary it to launch a total dialogue on
> the subject and to arrive to built recommendations to enrich
> the chapter concerning the linguistic annotations ?

I think the initial distinction I made needs to be borne in mind here. The
TEI is not a forum for debating linguistic terminology or analytic
procedures (any more than it is a body that can decide the taxonomies and
procedures of codicologists or prosopographers). What it does aspire to
devise and offer is a repertoire of techniques and recommendations for
ensuring that the many and varied practices of linguists, codicologists,
prosopographers, and numerous other species of Humanities practitioners, can
be translated into encoding that combines expressivity with
interchangeability, permanence and the widest degree of acceptance that can
be attained.

That can't of course be done without the intense involvement of experts in
all the fields that need to be covered; but when those experts put on their
TEI hats, they need to remember that the task in hand is not to extend or
confirm the practices and boundaries of their own discipline, but to arrive
at ways of expressing whatever consensus or agreements-to-differ may already
exist within that discipline in the form of generally acceptable and
applicable markup practices. A corollary is that these experts need to know
at least as much about both the conceptual framework and the practical
details of existing TEI markup as they do about their own fields, otherwise
the tagset can swiftly come to resemble a tyre depot rather than a vehicle
factory, with thousands of wheels piled up everywhere, but nowhere to go and
nothing to go in.

Michael Beddow

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