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I'm writing a cross-dialectical description with three distinct dialects, and would like to indicate with a superscript symbol which dialect a given word/phrase comes from to aid the reader. I thought of raised *s and daggers, but that looks strange. Raised numbers seem to indicate footnotes. Have you ever come across an intuitive solution to this in text?

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There isn't a standard way to do this. Rather you can establish symbols or very short abbreviations and write it before the sentence. But it also depends on how you want to represent these examples.

If I understand what you want to do then: Are they linguistic glosses? Then you can just write it in full form, like:

figure 1

Or just an itemized list? Then you can use conventional abbreviations or create new ones for rare languages, like:

figure 2

Or inline (you could change size, boldness to your liking, this is just an example):

figure 3

Note that the asterisk has an already established use within linguistics and it would be very confusing of you to adopt it for other purposes.

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    I want to speak in favor of the second solution as the proper standard, which should be adopted by all. We are adopting that convention in a project involving multiple speakers where dialect identification is crucial. A two-letter "prefix" field should suffice, and is visually unobtrusive (esp. if set in a smaller point size). – user6726 Jul 16 '15 at 16:34
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    @user6726 Yes it's not obtrusive at all. But if you need to go in depth and do glosses, I'd adopt the first one. It really depends on the purpose of the example. – Alenanno Jul 16 '15 at 16:50
  • The trouble is the differentiation within a paragraph of text. After all, before an example I can simply write, "Example (75), in Dialect-1, illustrates this observation..." However, in a paragraph of text, I think it looks bulky to write "Consider the verb DL. gobha-em, which clearly lacks direct object marking." ("DL" being the dialect name). Is this still the preferred strategy for in-line examples like this? – Teusz Jul 17 '15 at 10:54
  • @Teusz Well, inline you could do the same. I'll add it to the answer. – Alenanno Jul 17 '15 at 11:05
  • You could use D1, D2, D3 for dialect 1,2,3. Of course, you have to explain your notations at the beginning of your paper in a table "Abbreviations etc". – rogermue Jul 18 '15 at 7:19

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