5

I often see this kind of analysis / comparison in linguistic textbooks where they basically provide literal translation of a sentence with grammar notes (like verb tense, noun case etc.). For example:

French:
Je    vais     en  ville.  
I  go:PRS:1SG  to  town.

Russian: 
     Idu         v   gorod.
go:IPFV:PRS:1SG  to town:ACC

I think it's a great way of demonstrating how a foreign language works so I'd like to find more information about it.

So I was wondering if there is a technical term for this type of analysis / comparison or if there are rules or guidelines for how this procedure should be done properly.

7

The kind of structure you ask about is known as an interlinear gloss. It consist minimally of three lines: the first line being the language being analysed, with segmentable morphemes separated out by hyphens; the second line is in the analysis language and has a gloss (usually a grammatical category label) for each morpheme in the first line and is spaced out so that each glow lines up vertically with the appropriate morpheme in the first line; finally, the third line is a free translation.

This sounds complicated so here is an example to clarify:

    1. Latin
    insul  -arum
    island -GEN.PL
    'of the islands'

A useful set of conventions for constructing interlinear glosses are Christian Lehmann's rules for interlinear morphemic glosses.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    Superb answer! Another resource you might find useful @stillenat is the Max Planck institute's reasonably concise summary of the Leipzig glossing rules, which i think are probably the most widespread glossing convention in linguistics: eva.mpg.de/lingua/resources/glossing-rules.php – P Elliott Dec 16 '13 at 15:00

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