Slavic Corpora Terminology Dictionary in TEI

The project

The corpora linguistics research group at the Institute of Western and Southern Slavic Studies (University of Warsaw) has recently started a project collecting Slavic corpora terminology with definitions so as to be able to investigate this type of lexica.

The collected data will be stored in the form of a TEI encoded dictionary. There are already started works on Polish, Czech, Bulgarian, Slovene and Slovak terms and in the near future we will add at least Serbian, Croatian and Russian as well. There will be also provided translations into English but only within the entries as equivalents for future comparative studies.

I came to the workshop with sample entries prepared and during the week I reorganised and developed it a little thanks to the classes and discussions with trainers and other workshop participants. Below you may see a sample of an entry. 

Our goal at the beginning was to prepare dictionaries for each language where entries would be linked between the languages so that we could later refer from one language to another one. However it turned out that we should need to prepare ontology first to point to it to link our data. Eventually we decided that there is no need and sense to start the research from the ontology because it would limit our investigation. Therefore there are going to be separate dictionaries but every non-Polish entry will be accompanied with Polish and English equivalent.

There is being prepared a list of Polish and English data that will serve as a starting point for the dictionary editors so that they can always check what should they search for in the languages covered. However the research is not going to be limited strictly to those lists. When the work on the dictionaries is done we will extract both Polish and English equivalents and prepare glossaries.

Changes in the TEI file

During the workshop the TEI Header has been completed, as it was quite basic before the masterclass and contained very little information. We supplied the file with licence information, publisher, corrected <respStmt> information giving names of editors and translators as they may not be the same. There were also added xml:id to the entries which will be useful later when preparing cross references. Also <gramGrp> was corrected – at the beginning there was only information concerning part of speech and we decided to give also gender values because they are important for Slavic languages. At the beginning there also were mistakenly <form> types always called lemmas and now we distinguish lemmas and phrases.

Sample entry

Our entry contains following information:

<form> – lemma or phrase

<gramGrp> – <pos> and <gen>

<sense> with multiple <def> (with counters) to provide multiple definitions with their translations

<cit type=”translation> and <cit type=”original”> within <def>element, because the definitions are going to be translated into Polish and will have one common bibliographic information for each of them

<cit type=”example”> for usage examples

<xr type=”syn”> for synonyms

<cit type=”translation”> for Polish and English equivalents

As the dictionaries editors working in the project have little knowledge on TEI and most of them are not working in Oxygen XML Editor but XML Copy Editor, they are going to use sample entries as forms and mainly fill them in. Thus there were prepared such files for every language that we deal with – they differ only in the parts where there is xml:lang attribute given. Only Polish subdictionary, as there will not be translated definitions, has little differences in the <sense> structure – there is no <cit type=”translation”> within <def> but only <cit type=”original”> and obviously there are no <cit type=”example”> in foreign language, too.

Introduction to CSS and XPath

During the workshop I also learned some CSS and XPath.

Below you may find a sample entry with CSS – we will use CSS files while editing entries so as to check easily the work progress, especially because XML Copy Editor does not provide much help for TEI editing.

Thanks to the fact that I have learned some XPath during the workshop, too, I can now perform some queries on my files to check our work and to provide the team with the needed information on the project progress.

For instance //entry[.//gen=”n.”]//orth  search shows the headwords (orths) of the entries containing grammar information with gender value “n.” (neuter) and //form[@type=”phrase”]//orth  allows us to find the headwords (orths) containing phrases (not lemmas), giving the results eg. besedilni korpus, and not označevanje.

Further work

What we still have to discuss is, what bibliographic information are we going to preserve within the entries, whether to present definitions in original and translated form or only translations (but we preserve both in the TEI file) and how to present data on a website

Unfortunately I have not learned during the workshop any XSLT as I attended other wonderful and useful classes at the same time (it would be much better if we were able to attend both of them). However thanks to one of the participants, Boris, after the workshop I was able to prepare XSLT stylesheet that is sorting the entries in our dictionary in the alphabetical order. I also decided to use XSL stylesheet for TEI dictionaries prepared by Michal Boleslav Měchura to transform the XML file to nice HTML file. Of course we will have to adapt the stylesheet for the needs of the project so there is still much learning and work on XSLT of us ahead.

Moreover we discussed with another participant of the workshop, Nikolche, that we could possibly cooperate in the project and his colleagues could contribute to the Macedonian part of the dictionary.

I am happy that I could attend DARIAH Lexical Data Masterclass in lovely Berlin, learn a lot but also meet other people working on their fabulous projects and exchange ideas. Thank you all!