Chapter 2. Problematic areas for import: Structure file

2.1. Defining markers and their hierarchies

As shown in the previous chapter, the structure file is a list of all the markers that you use in your project and the definitions of the relations between them. Before embarking on any serious lexical enterprise, it is worthwhile to think about the markers you will use in your lexicon and the relations between them. For instance, in order to introduce examples into the lexicon, researchers very often use markers such as sfx (sound file example), xv(example vernacular), xe(example English) and xn (example national language). Obviously all these categories belong together. If you have more than one example per entry, you will want it to be clear which sound file goes with which translation etc. In Toolbox you could simply list them one under another, without arranging them hierarchically.

However, when transferring your data to other programs, in this case LEXUS, this information might be lost. Therefore, you need to make the relation between them explicit by ordering them in a hierarchy. As has been demonstrated above, this applies to all markers in your Toolbox project. Toolbox allows you to view the markers together with their hierarchy. For the purpose of importing your data into LEXUS, in some cases, you will need to change it. This is not difficult, however.

For every marker you specify under which other markers should be defined and save it in the .typ file. The top marker is usually the lexeme marker (lx) but the position of the rest can be defined according to your needs and the particularities of your lexicon. To come back to our example, you might, for instance, want to define sfx, xe, xn under xv. In that case for each xv that you want to include, you will have a different sets of sfx, xe, xn.

Let us now see what would happen if you imported such a hierarchy of markers into LEXUS. In general, based on your .typ file, LEXUS will create a structure for your lexicon that will be used for your data. When LEXUS encounters a structure in the .typ file such as given in Figure 2.1, it will take the top node and create a group node out of it. LEXUS always turns markers that have other markers defined under them into group nodes. Then it will put all the markers that were defined under the top nodetogether with the top node into that group.

Example of a marker hierarchy in Toolbox

Figure 2.1. Example of a marker hierarchy in Toolbox

The resulting structure in LEXUS will be the following:

The structure in LEXUS resulting from the .typ file

Figure 2.2. The structure in LEXUS resulting from the .typ file

Of course the names of the particular nodes and group nodes can be changed later on in LEXUS so that xv group could be called example group and it would include in it all the necessary nodes: the sound file, transcription and the translations. As you can see, in our example, we have already changed the definitions of the markers in Spanish from the .typ file (i.e. "ejemplo Tsafiki", "ejemplo Espaol", "ejemplo Ingls") into names in English ("example Tsafiki", "example Spanish", "example English"). As a rule, LEXUS will create a group node out of everything that has at least one other marker defined under it in the .typ file.