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Working on Norse texts one encounters a large number of
abbreviations - in the more extreme cases more than 50 percent
of the words are abbreviated and there can be more than one
abbreviation within a word (or string). In the latter case the
abbreviations may be disjunct, and even with a single
abbreviation its expansion may be disjunct.
 
A simple abbreviation may be "h" with a crossbar which can be
expanded to "hann". A disjunct expansion can be found in "ml*e"
where "l*" is l with a crossbar. This can be expanded to
"mæte". What could be called an example of a disjunct
abbreviation is "k*k*ia" (k*=k with a crossbar) = "kirkia".
 
One single transcriber could probably define a set of rules for
using (or bending) TEI to be able to describe these
abbreviations and their expansions in a way that is useful, but
with a group of transcribers involved there will be, just to
mention one example, different views of whether the abbreviation
or the expansion holds the most important information.
 
At a seminar here in Bergen today we found that one needed to be able to
encode as searchable text and not as attributes:
 
a) the abbreviated string with localization of the abbreviation mark(s)
   if any
 
b) the expanded string with localization of the inserted (or
    expanded?) letters
 
c) b) should if necessary be repeated for different expansions
    of the same string.
 
In TEI c) seems to be taken care of by using <app> and <rdg>.
 
a) and b) are not fully handled by either <abbr> and <expan>.
The use of entities as described on pp 164-165 in P3 is not
really satisfactory, since among other things one has to make a
choice whether the entity should stand for an <abbr> or an
<expan> element. We want both at the same time!
 
The transcription of primary sources is an area where I think
TEI will have to be expanded as part of the updating work now
beginning. During our discussions today we came as far as to
suggest a new model that allows what we want. In the example
expanded as "kirkia" one could do something like:
 
<abbr>
<abbrstring><hcrossbar>kk</hcrossbar>ia</abbrstring>
<expstring>k<insertedtext>ir</insertedtext>kia</expstring>
</abbr>
 
I would very much appreciate some comments on this, especially
if we have overlooked something fundamental.
 
espen
 
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Espen Ore      Persons.: 96 81 21 81           Tel: + 47 55 58 28 65
Norwegian Computing Centre for the Humanities  Fax: + 47 55 58 94 70
Bergen, NORWAY                                   [log in to unmask]