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The Linguist's Shoebox

Integrated data management and analysis for the field linguist


You can set up a window as a gloss index (finderlist) by sorting and browsing.

Indexing lexical database records by sorting their gloss fields is an effective way to compare related vernacular words and phrases. It is also an efficient way to look up lexemes. The Multi-Dictionary Formatter (MDF) provides English, national, and regional language gloss fields.

\ge, \gn, \gr Gloss. A single "translation approximation" can often be used for interlinearizing. Occasionally, it suffices for indexing and even as the definition of the lexeme.
\re, \rn, \rr Reversal. Multiple indexing fields might be needed for looking the lexeme up in the finderlist. For example, if the same gloss occurs many times, you might want to make more specific distinctions. Notice that a single interlinear gloss shows the emic unity of the vernacular language lexeme, but multiple etic indexing glosses make it more accessable in the language of description (e.g., English).

You can set up a window in Shoebox to display a view of your lexical data similar to the gloss index (finderlist) that you can export using MDF. However, Shoebox will not select gloss and reversal fields conditionally, nor will it merge multiple occurrences of glosses.

  1. To open a new window, choose Duplicate from the Window menu.
  2. To index the lexical database records by a gloss or reversal field, choose Sorting from the Database menu.
  3. Click Clear.
  4. In the Available Markers list, double-click one of the following: ge, gn, gr, re, rn, rr.
  5. Also double-click lx and hm. (They are the secondary sorting fields.)
  6. Click OK.
  7. To display the finderlist fields, choose Browse Fields from the View menu.
  8. Click Clear.
  9. In the Available Fields list, double-click the indexing field (e.g., ge).
  10. Also double-click the following markers: lx, hm, se, ps, sn. (If you do not use homonym numbers, subentries, or sense numbers, omit the respective markers. For a national audience, include pn instead of ps).
  11. Delete the contents of the "empty field" and "no field" boxes.
  12. Click OK.
  13. To adjust the column widths in the browse window, drag the lines using the mouse.
  14. To jump to a lexical database record, right-click the lexeme in the \lx column (Macintosh: hold down the option key as you click the mouse button).
For more information, read section 2.3 in Making Dictionaries and pages 56–69 in the Shoebox Tutorial.

Index of tips: browsing; fields, definition and gloss; finderlists; glosses; lexical data; indexes; translation approximations
List of tips