Cathy Bow, University of Melbourne

Cathy Bow with Steven Bird & Baden Hughes

The use of interlinear text has long been a valuable tool in linguistic description, and the development of a number of different software tools has facilitated the creation and processing of such texts. In this paper we survey of a range of interlinear texts, focusing on issues such as grouping and alignment. Abstracting away from the presentation, we look specifically at the structure of the data, in an attempt to create a general purpose data model for interlinear text. Our findings are that a four level model - incorporating Text, Phrase, Word and Morpheme levels - is sufficient to represent a very wide range of practice. We present an XML format for representing data in this model, and describe stylesheets for converting such data into presentational formats. Because of its generality, and the way it abstracts away from presentation, we believe the model is a suitable basis for developing archival storage formats for interlinear text and delivering interlinear text to end-users and external software tools in a web environment.