Aboriginal Languages of Australia
©Jeremy Steele
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9. INFORMATION GROUP

STATUS FIELDS

To the left of the Information bars are two status fields, one for ‘meaning’ and the other for ‘transcription’. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig. 9.1 Status fields and information bars

 

 

Often the entry in these fields is ‘DOUBTFUL’; sometimes ‘ERROR[?], SPECULATIVE and even WILD GUESS. Where the meaning given in the original records is uncertain, its doubtful character is noted in the Meaning Status field. The same applied to any meaning attributed in the English JSM field that might be uncertain. The ‘Meaning Status’ field is often used in conjunction with the ‘Comment’ bar, where a statement such as ‘JS SPECULATIVE TRANSLATION’ might be inserted. 

 

CAPITALS. Capital letters are often used to indicate that the text in capitals is commentary by JS, the database author/compiler. (Sometimes a comment will have a date after it, to show the progression of thinking on a particular topic.)

The ‘Transcription Status’ field is generally used in conjunction with the ‘Transcription’ bar alongside, which will feature an explanation for the status entry.

 

 

INFORMATION BARS

Comment (pale yellow)

Any kind of comment or observation might be entered into the ‘Comment’ bar. This can be useful when revisiting a particular record as a reminder of the thinking it inspired earlier. Sometimes that earlier thinking might be updated in the light of more information available.

 

Meaning Clue (green)

Information about what a record might really mean is often given in the ‘Meaning Clue’ field, particularly examples from elsewhere in the database(s). It was this field that led to the development of the ‘Elaboration bars’, which enabled more extensive examples to be given, and in many databases using an appropriate ‘Elaboration key’. [See ELABORATION BARS earlier.]

 

 

Word for word JS (wd/wd) (pale blue)

This field began as a word-for-word, sometimes even word-for-syllable translation field for an entry, to explain the component parts of an entry. Such analysis could be useful especially in the case of sentences, where an original recorder had provided a sentence, and a translation for the whole sentence . . . but what part of the sentence meant exactly what?

"Bul´-lân´-gâ nin nin-mur´-ra-min good´-thâ-oong yad´-dung gin-nee" balanGa nin nayinmaraman gudayung yadangGini = "the woman takes care of child, good indeed" woman / that / care does / child / good for  : M&E: GGA 1900 [:270:28] [Gga]

An automatically generated summary of an entry (via QuicKey combination shift-option-Z) looks a mess. It can be presented line by line:

 

"Bul´-lân´-gâ nin nin-mur´-ra-min good´-thâ-oong yad´-dung gin-nee"

balanGa nin nayinmaraman gudayung yadangGini =

"the woman takes care of child, good indeed"

woman / that / care does / child / good for  :

M&E: GGA 1900 [:270:28] [Gga]

 

 

 

The entry for this in the wd/wd field is:

woman  ERG that take care of PURP PRES 3sg child him good  PURP

and this can be matched with the ReS entry:

bálan-Ga nin nayin-mára-ma-n gúdha-yung yádang-gini

This is more readily understood when presented in table form:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This, then, is the analysis of the sentence, but who would have known it when presented solely with:

"Bul´-lân´-gâ nin nin-mur´-ra-min good´-thâ-oong yad´-dung gin-nee"

"the woman takes care of child, good indeed"

 

wd/wd as a dump

While the wd/wd information bar still serves its original function in the case of sentences and phrases, it has been put to use as a temporary ‘dump’ when creating automatic summaries. For the result of the QuicKey combination just mention automatically appears in this field—it had to be dumped somewhere, and this seemed the least injurious or awkward place for it to occur, and was accordingly selected in preference to creating a special-purpose ‘dump’ field. So, click anywhere in a target record, do the combination ‘shift-option-Z’, and the automatic summary appears at once in the wd/wd bar, as, for example:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig. 9.2 Combination ⇧--z and  Fulton’s ‘Waddey’ record appears in the wd/wd information bar

 

 

Comment Transcription (yellow)

 

On the OVERVIEW layout the ‘Comment Transcription’ bar appears to be called simply ‘Transcription’, its tagline on the screen having been abbreviated. In this bar are entered any remarks to do with the transcription whether by the original recorder, or relating to the re-transcription by the author/compiler of the database.