Created: 23 October 2000
Modified: 9 May 2008

Laves abbreviations and symbols

general abbreviations | phonetic symbols | abbreviations on vocabulary slips

The team at UWA Linguistics have inventoried and partly analysed the special symbols in the 'Laves South-west Fieldnotes' linked from John Henderson's home page.

Laves' own compilation of his "Abbreviations and symbols used" is on both sides of a light blue slip of paper found in the larger bundle of KURIN slips, about 2cm in the bundle. (Thanks to Nick Thieberger for drawing it to my attention.)

Both sides of the slip are reproduced here.  Better scans of both sides of the slip (number 213) are available from John Henderson's home page.
Note that the images show the ink from the other side partially visible through the paper.

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Cf. earlier hypotheses about Laves' symbols (yet to be revised in the light of the above)

Laves' phonetic symbols (see separate page)

Abbreviations used on vocabulary slips

As listed by Laves himself on five 'KUMBN' file slips (thanks to Br Steve Morelli for bringing these slips to my attention):
Abbreviations (1)
* at top of slip indicates word illustrated by several sentences
= indicates particle, suffix alternation
cf. suggests a general comparison
CR (Cross-reference) indicates important relation
| separates words or particles although not always inserted
|| separates Abo. from English transcription
"?" indicates idiomatic or provisional translation
||| separates two sentences and their translation, where space requires putting them on one line
[  ] sentences not applying to the subject matter of the slip - accidental
also for enclosing illustrative idiomatic expressions
Abbreviations (2)
v. an expression having distinctly verbal force
s. an expression having distinctly substantive force
adj. an expression having distinctly adjectival force
adv. an expression having distinctly adverbial force (if there is such)
NOT forms created by me to illustrate construction
OR (or) variation in translation
p.a. predicative active particle
tr.a. transitive active particle
loc. location (static unless otherwise indicated)
dir movement to & from etc. ("directional")
contr. contrast with
sfx suffix
itr. intransitive
r. root
rsf root sf.
st. "stem"
vo vowel
Co. consonant

General abbreviations

Laves' abbreviation expanded
Kumbn. Kumbaingeri (Gumbaynggir)
Kerad. Karadjeri (Karajarri)

in interlinear glosses:
agt agent
obj object
cpt complement
m n m person, n number (where m,n = 1,2,3; 3=plural)
21 ! imperative (unless there's an overt 'you') [BJA]
3-digit pronoun glosses
in Matngele ('Emdil')
/ambu-/ '121' = '1+2 Minimal Augmented'
/arru-/ '123' (= '1 Augmented')
/nung.gurru-/ '223' (='2 Augmented')
/gurru-, burru-/ '323' (='3 Augmented')

Conventions about the use of slips in language study may have been partly influenced by Laves' Australian supervisor, Prof. Radcliffe-Brown, as for instanced described in Radcliffe-Brown's letter to PM Penhalluriack (PO), Nakianai, New Guinea, 13 August 1929:
"Some linguistic slips have been sent to you by parcel post   On the
white slips I put the name of the language in the top rights hand
corner and then on the left hand side the native word and its meaning
in English. Beneath these I generally put a sentence or two
containing the word as an illustration of its use. The blue slips are
for making comparative vocabularies of English-Native, so that the
English word stands first and then following are the native
equivalents in each language with the names of the language beside
them. I use the yellow slips for working out the grammar. For
instance, I generally put things like suffixes and prefixes with
examples of their use, or else special grammatical constructions, and
then I fasten together all the slips dealing with any particular
grammatical element. I hope you will be able to make something of
this description."
Elkin Papers, 164/41/4/2/24.  (thanks to Geoff Gray)

Additions and amendments welcomed -- send to david.nash AT

Laves page

© 2001