[An-lang] Glossing notation

John Lynch johnlynch123 at gmail.com
Fri Jan 25 15:07:12 EST 2019

It would be interesting to know the reason for this proposed change.

Parentheses are usually used to add additional but non-essential
information. Calling on my editorial experience, I can envisage two
different kinds of situations. One is where the non-English term is used as
if it was an ordinary word in an ordinary sentence, in which case the
parenthetical translation might be appropriate. For example:

a. Only men may enter the *fale* (house) during mortuary ceremonies ...


b. Only men may enter the house (*fale*) during mortuary ceremonies ...

The other is where the focus is on the word as an item of
linguistic exposition, in which case the parenthesis is mistakenly treating
the gloss as non-essential. In such cases I would support retaining the
current practice. E.g.:

c. The first syllable of  *fale* 'house' is usually stressed,although ...


On Fri, Jan 25, 2019 at 3:44 PM Ross Clark <r.clark at auckland.ac.nz> wrote:

> I've had an inquiry from the editor of a journal which sometimes publishes
> papers of a (Pacific) linguistic nature. They are contemplating changing
> the format for glosses of single words in languages other than English from
> single-quotes to parentheses -- e.g.from
> fale 'house'
> to
> fale (house).
> This would bring it into agreement with the reverse situation, where a
> local-language equivalent is given for a word in non-linguistic discussion:
> house (fale).
> [Sorry, all those fale's should be in italics. Don't know how to make that
> happen in Outlook.]
> Apparently the Chicago Manual of Style approves this.
> I don’t find this change particularly disturbing, even though
> single-quotes is a pretty widely followed practice in linguistics. But I
> wanted to circulate the question a little to see if there is strong feeling
> about it, or if people can think of difficulties which haven’t occurred to
> me.
> Thanks for your input.
> Ross Clark
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> An-lang at anu.edu.au
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John Lynch, FAHA
Emeritus Professor of Pacific Languages
University of the South Pacific
PMB 9072
Port Vila.  VANUATU
Phone: (+678) 25036    Mobile: (+678) 5920220    Fax: (+678) 22633
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