When studying an agglutinative language, one sometimes encounters the following type of helpful diagram, which labels a sentence according to the grammatical function of each constitutive element.

Here is a (poorly designed) mock-up of the kind of diagram I am referring to: Mock-up diagram

Does this type of diagram have a name? If so, what is it called?

I would like to find a program (or LaTeX package) that can be used to quickly create these diagrams, but I am not sure what to be searching for!

  • I'm not aware of any particular designation for such diagrams. Perhaps you will need to come with your own. I agree that they are helpful for illustrating the syntax and morphosyntax of such languages. Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 2:27
  • Isn't this really the same as an interlinear gloss, just that in the latter the items are vertically aligned rather than having lines connecting? Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 3:21
  • 1
    For interlinear glossing in LaTeX, there is gb4e/cgloss, linguex, and expex. See also this question on TeX.SX.
    – Adam Liter
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 3:39
  • 1
    If I were to guess at a term or have to coin one myself I would pick something like "template diagram" or "agglutination diagram". Agglutinating languages generally fit certain pieces together in certain fixed orders, the pattern in linguistics is often called a "template" and the places where morphemes fit into the template are usually called "slots". Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 3:39
  • 1
    You won't find anything in those packages that does anything like the picture in your question here. Those packages were designed for interlinear glossing. If you really want a diagram like the one you have, then the easiest/best way is probably to use TikZ. Though not exactly the same thing, my answer to this question might be a useful place to start if you do want a diagram like the one depicted in your question.
    – Adam Liter
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 4:52

1 Answer 1


I agree with users Gaston Ümlaut, Adam Liter; the closest thing to this is, I think, a gloss.

I use expex.



\pex                                   %itemizes this paragraph (until \xe) as (1), (2) ...
\begingl                               % begin gloss
\gla Fliegen fliegen Fliegen nach //   % end all three lines with a double forward slash
\glb flies fly flies after //          % this line aligns with gla
\glft "Flies fly after flies" //       % this one doesn't

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.