The linguistic example

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Good language descriptions liberally illustrate their claims with examples. The author must select and order examples, and provide accompanying information. The example may include a reference number, the example in multiple forms (phonetic, phonemic, morphemic or morphophonemic, written), brackets and categories, glosses, translation, punctuation, functional annotations, grammatical judgements, subscripts, empty categories, ellipses marking, information about the author and language variety, attention-directing mechanisms, and so forth. Formatting these diverse sorts of information is a non-trivial task; suggestions are given for “best practice.” The delivery of documents on screens (rather than on paper) makes possible some dynamic enhancements such as inspecting an example’s textual context, toggling on/off various types of information, controlling highlighting and conflation.


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