[tei-council] TEI P5 1.9.0

Piotr Bański bansp at o2.pl
Thu Feb 17 07:53:42 EST 2011

On 2011-02-16 19:00, Lou Burnard wrote:
> but i miust say think there are maybe more substantial issues that need 
> discussion in this chapter ... e.g. the case of pVar pRef which we 
> bounced around here a few weeks ago

I understand that, I only spoke up on those typos because it was a quick
thing, otherwise I'm head-deep in writing up a project proposal (VERY
much TEI-related) that should be followed by a race to finish a
TEI-related quasi-book, to be allowed to move on to the next academic

Anyway, I didn't have much to say on pVar and pRef. Never used them, and
can only think of one case of systematic pronunciation difference in
headwords in Polish that may be taken as stylistic: some classical
borrowings or their analogues have an antepenultimate stress pattern,
while the native (and in this context, "lower norm") way to stress them
is on the penult: mate'matyka vs. matema'tyka "maths". I'm not sure if
this can be useful for the pRef case, unless you want to put a note into
all the related entries saying that pRef.1 is upper norm, and pRef.2 is
the lower norm. But you'd rather keep this information right at the top
of the entry, without referring to it from the definition. I can also
speculate on cross-referencing these pronunciations from derived
headwords ("mathematician" in inflected forms can show two patterns of
stress), but the relationship isn't really systematic: you can't
maintain that whoever uses the upper-norm pronunciation of "maths" also
uses the antepenultimate pronunciation of Gen.Sg. of "mathematician",
these things are on their way out of the language, and are messed up
even in the pronunciation of single speakers, so presenting this as an
example in the Guidelines would mean presenting bad lexicographic practice.

In general, and thinking across the languages I could try to say
something about (not many), I'd say that you rarely want to present a
*significant* variation in the pronunciation as being rooted in the
pronunciation itself. You'd rather want to say that there is an
underlying semantic and/or grammatical difference that results in the
differing pronunciations, and thus it is the sense or grammatical
contrasts that become the distinguishing factor, not the pronunciation,
which is treated as a surface reflex of those deep sem/gram differences.
What I'm saying is that, deeper in the entry or across entries, I'd
rather refer to particular senses or grammatical words than to
particular pronunciations. In this way I tend to sympathise with the
possibility that Sebastian has mentioned, of removing pVar and pRef. But
on the other hand, (1) I am painfully aware of my limits as far as
knowledge of languages is concerned, and (2) it seems reasonable to keep
the two elements, even if they would be used suboptimally, in bad
lexicographic practice, because it's not for the TEI to judge the
quality of lexicographic practice, it just has to provide tools for it,
and pVar and pRef appear to be tools with a low degree of usefulness,
but oh well, they fit into the system and are rather harmless, and the
possibility of them being used, although low, exists nevertheless. I
share Axel Herold's uneasiness concerning his examples (TEI-L, Feb 07),
but they are more or less real and should do, possibly together with his
remarks on their real-life status.

Uff. I'm stopping, I'm stopping, it's difficult...


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