3.5.2. Lexicons

The main purpose of the Lexicon Component in ELAN is to support the (semi-automated) interlinearization process. It is not intended as a full-fledged lexicon tool, though the data model supports a bit more than strictly necessary. The data model and XML-based data format are similar to the LIFT format, but simplified.

The interlinearization mode supports the visualization of one lexicon at the time, but multiple lexicons can be stored to choose from. You can create new lexicons, import and export existing lexicons and add or remove single lexical entries of a lexicon that is currently active.

Lexicon overview

Figure 3.23. Lexicon overview

The lexicon overview can be adjusted to display or hide certain columns. To do so, you have to right-click on a lexical entry to display the context-menu. From there, you can show or hide columns of the lexicon.

Lexicon context-menu

Figure 3.24. Lexicon context-menu Creating & editing lexicons

To create a lexicon, simply click the Lexicon Actions... button and choose Create New Lexicon.... A new dialog will appear, allowing you to fill out details about your new lexicon.

Create New Lexicon dialog

Figure 3.25. Create New Lexicon dialog

When the details have been filled out (a Name and a Language are required), click Apply to create the lexicon. Next, you can add lexical entries to the lexicon. you can do this by clicking the Add button on the bottom of the Lexicon main panel. A new dialog will appear, allowing you to create an entry for your lexicon. Alternatively, if there already are lexical entries in the lexicon, you can right-click and choose Add from the context-menu.

Add a Lexical Entry

Figure 3.26. Add a Lexical Entry

When you are finished, click Apply to add the entry to the lexicon. Some fields are required, these will be highlighted if you click Apply while not all requird fields are filled in.

Editing a lexical entry can be done by either clicking the Edit button on the bottom of the panel, or by right-clicking the entry and choosing Edit from the context-menu. A dialog will open, displaying the chosen lexical unit. Some general information is shown, such as ID and date of creation. To edit the entry, click on the value that you would like to add or change. It will become active and ready for editing. Hitting the Enter key accepts the value of the current field and activates the next field.

Edit a lexical entry

Figure 3.27. Edit a lexical entry

Removal of a lexical entry is done by highlighting the entry and then either clicking the Remove button on the bottom of the Lexicon panel, or by right-clicking the entry and choosing Remove from the context-menu.


There is currently no Undo/Redo mechanism for lexicon edit actions!


More documentation about the structure of lexical entries, about which fields are required, what is hardcoded etc. will follow. The same for native, import and export formats etc. Import & export a lexicon

Apart from creating and removing a lexicon, you can also import an existing lexicon and export a previously created lexicon. As mentioned, the data model and XML-based data format are similar to the LIFT format.