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Well yes indeed,  <ex> and <am> really only work under some assumptions 
which just don't hold true for many non-Western European scripts, and 
even I am sure in some WE cases. And looking again at the OP, I wonder 
why it's necessary to mark up these expansions at all. Why not just 
transcribe what is there, using the appropriate Unicode character if 
there is one (which there is for 90% of cases) and <g> for the others? 
Generating a modernized/expanded version seems to be more of a 
formatting/rendering issue than an editorial one in this case. And 
transcribing what is actually there surely must be quicker than trying 
to recode it on the fly.

  On 19/07/17 10:06, James Cummings wrote:
>
> Hi Lou,
>
> You are, of course, correct. However, you can't automagically 
> determine what the abbreviation marker was by a script. (Well, given a 
> dictionary of abbreviations you might make a reasonable _guess_)  So I 
> was just putting it at the site of the expanded text so that someone 
> could then edit the <am/> to make it kosher.  I somehow think it is 
> vaguely better to indicate in the abbreviated form that 'this is the 
> place where the word is abbreviated' demonstrated by that being where 
> one expands it. I was just suggesting that with a text using only <ex> 
> elements in words that one could get most of the way to a detailed 
> <choice>.  This falls down even more outside a western european 
> context of course where the abbreviation marker may be completely 
> separate from the orthographic word for all I know.
>
> -James
>
> On 18/07/17 20:44, Lou Burnard wrote:
>>
>> What on earth is that empty <am/> doing in your example James?
>>
>> If the source actually  read exāple, the a-with a macron might be 
>> inside the <am> I suppose. Or did you mean to put a floating macron 
>> in there?
>>
>> Either way, I can hear Matthew Driscoll using the word "nutty".
>>
>>
>> On 18/07/17 16:09, James Cummings wrote:
>>> Hi Sebastiaan,
>>>
>>> I would always wrap it in <expan> however this is probably 
>>> scriptable in XSLT from what you have, so it doesn't necessarily 
>>> need to be done by hand by the encoders. Indeed I think it would be 
>>> fairly straightforward to go from
>>> exa<ex>m</ex>ple
>>> to
>>> <choice>
>>>    <abbr>exa<am/>ple</abbr>
>>>    <expan>exa<ex>m</ex>ple</expan>
>>> </choice>
>>> At least for values of orthographic, whitespace/punctuation 
>>> separated words with no other markup in them. ;-)
>>> -james
>>>
>>> On 18/07/17 15:44, Sebastiaan Verweij wrote:
>>>> Dear all
>>>>
>>>> A brief question: I’m considering not using the <expan> tags while 
>>>> transcribing a large body of seventeenth century mss. I note that 
>>>> the TEI P5 guidelines give a range of examples for <ex>, which we 
>>>> will use, and it seems optional to surround the entire expanded 
>>>> word with the <expan> tags (to mark its boundaries in some way). E.g.,
>>>>
>>>> exa<ex>m</ex>ple
>>>> or
>>>> <expan>exa<ex>m</ex>ple</expan>
>>>>
>>>> Our rationale is mainly around time saving, so I was wondering if 
>>>> you have a view on this in terms of TEI practice. Is there a good 
>>>> reason to retain <expan> if this will not add any functionality to 
>>>> our project? Have you omitted these tags in the past and wished you 
>>>> hadn’t? Thanks so much.
>>>>
>>>> Sebastiaan
>>>>
>>>> —
>>>> Dr Sebastiaan Verweij
>>>> Lecturer in Late-Medieval and Early Modern English Literature
>>>> University of Bristol
>>>> (+44) (0) 117 92 88090
>>>>
>>>
>>
>