Morphology with Cascading Stylesheets (CSS)

Jonathan Robie
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Morphology with Cascading Stylesheets (CSS)

Post by Jonathan Robie » November 11th, 2014, 2:37 pm

In the SBL 2014 talk that Micheal Palmer and I are doing, we are using XML-based formats that allow the morphology to be displayed using standard Cascading Stylesheets (CSS), which are frequently used for web pages.

Here's why that's useful. Suppose we want to illustrate the way that aorist and imperfect are used together in a passage where the imperfect "paints the picture" without a fixed sequence and the aorist describes the sequence of events. We could use colors to indicate the aspect, underlines to indicate past reference, and overlines to indicate future reference, like this:
tense-coloring.png
tense-coloring.png (10.39 KiB) Viewed 2644 times
We can use other formatting to indicate anything else in the morphology, e.g. we can mark passive or middle forms as follows:
passive-middle-coloring.png
passive-middle-coloring.png (4.16 KiB) Viewed 2644 times
Now let's look at a passage marked up using that coloring scheme:
luke17-27-colored.png
luke17-27-colored.png (88.9 KiB) Viewed 2644 times
Notice how much easier it is to see the relationships among the verbs with that scheme compared to traditional interleaved morphology tags like this:
luke17-27-morph.png
luke17-27-morph.png (55.64 KiB) Viewed 2644 times
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Morphology with Cascading Stylesheets (CSS)

Post by Jonathan Robie » November 11th, 2014, 2:49 pm

To make this possible, we represent morphology in a way that is accessible both to CSS stylesheets and queries. The text is placed in an XML file. An individual word in the file might look like this:
oneword.png
oneword.png (18.95 KiB) Viewed 2641 times
Now we can write a CSS stylesheet that determines how the morphology affects formatting of the text:
css.png
css.png (64.21 KiB) Viewed 2641 times
Of course, you can write a different CSS stylesheet if you don't like this formatting. And your stylesheet can also be used to display syntax trees ... that's something I will explore in a different thread.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Morphology with Cascading Stylesheets (CSS)

Post by Jonathan Robie » November 13th, 2014, 6:43 pm

Here are a few ways to use this representation:
  • Suppose you are teaching a new point of grammar. Using stylesheets, it is now easy to highlight the feature you are teaching in running text.
  • I am currently using it in my Sunday School class, where we discuss the Greek text. The people who come are a bit rusty, and have difficulty with their verb forms, so we used to spend a fair amount of time in class identifying the verb forms instead of reading the text. Now that I hand out a version with color-coded verbs, we no longer need to spend as much time on that.
  • The patterns of tense and aspect in the text are significant for the interpretation of the text. With coloring, these patterns leap out at you. Interested in a different set of patterns? Write a different stylesheet!
  • Guided practice in learning verb forms. On B-Greek, we have spent a lot of time discussing living language approaches versus analytical approaches to language learning. If you read a lot of text with the verb forms clearly identified, I suspect that will help teach the verb forms. Of course, that is a hypothesis that needs to be tested. Personally, I notice that I get some verb forms wrong when I'm reading, and the coloring sends me back to the textbooks to review my morphology, but this is too new for me to be able to give even a personal experience report.
Image
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stephen Carlson
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Re: Morphology with Cascading Stylesheets (CSS)

Post by Stephen Carlson » November 13th, 2014, 7:20 pm

It looks like the decision to call ἐγαμίζοντο "passive" instead of "middle," one of semantics instead of morphology? From a morphological perspective, I would parse it as middle, though I might construed it as a passive sub-type of the middle.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Stephen Carlson
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Re: Morphology with Cascading Stylesheets (CSS)

Post by Stephen Carlson » November 13th, 2014, 7:21 pm

Any thought about color assignment for people with red-green color blindness? Up to 10% of men have it.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Morphology with Cascading Stylesheets (CSS)

Post by Jonathan Robie » November 13th, 2014, 10:29 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:It looks like the decision to call ἐγαμίζοντο "passive" instead of "middle," one of semantics instead of morphology? From a morphological perspective, I would parse it as middle, though I might construed it as a passive sub-type of the middle.
We're downstream from the Global Bible Initiative analysis, so we simply use whatever analysis they did. But I suspect you are right.

Side note: There's an issues list for the underlying analysis. I discussed this with Randall, and we felt it would be good to use B-Greek as a way of improving the analysis. So if you disagree with this analysis, you could raise an issue in the issues list and start a thread here on B-Greek to discuss it.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Morphology with Cascading Stylesheets (CSS)

Post by Jonathan Robie » November 13th, 2014, 10:38 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:Any thought about color assignment for people with red-green color blindness? Up to 10% of men have it.
First off, the colors are configurable, and I'm not at all sure that the formatting I am using now is ideal. This is all very new. Light blue might be better than light pink ... I need to get an accessiblity expert to help me with this.

For this kind of aspect coloring, we need three background colors that work well. Of course, with a stylesheet, the colors and other visual effects are all configurable. And I think that's important.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Morphology with Cascading Stylesheets (CSS)

Post by Jonathan Robie » November 14th, 2014, 11:48 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:Any thought about color assignment for people with red-green color blindness? Up to 10% of men have it.
OK, a more informed response. Cartographers discuss these issues a lot, for obvious reasons, here is a useful set of resources for coloring maps.

For instance, this program shows you what images look like to color blind people.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Morphology with Cascading Stylesheets (CSS)

Post by Jonathan Robie » November 19th, 2014, 6:33 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:OK, a more informed response. Cartographers discuss these issues a lot, for obvious reasons, here is a useful set of resources for coloring maps.

For instance, this program shows you what images look like to color blind people.
I have now colored the text using this approach, which should be more friendly to the color blind among us (if cartography research is to be believed):
tense-coloring.png
tense-coloring.png (7 KiB) Viewed 2390 times
nonfinite-coloring.png
nonfinite-coloring.png (2.79 KiB) Viewed 2390 times
mood-coloring.png
mood-coloring.png (4.07 KiB) Viewed 2390 times
voice-coloring.png
voice-coloring.png (2.74 KiB) Viewed 2390 times
You can see this in the Gospel of Luke. I need to do a bunch of clean-up, creating a better way to navigate, breaking it down to chapter, etc., but I hope this mockup can demonstrate what it's like to read with the morphology coloring.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

TimNelson
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Re: Morphology with Cascading Stylesheets (CSS)

Post by TimNelson » November 19th, 2014, 10:10 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:...
nonfinite-coloring.png
mood-coloring.png
...

You can see this in the Gospel of Luke. I need to do a bunch of clean-up, creating a better way to navigate, breaking it down to chapter, etc., but I hope this mockup can demonstrate what it's like to read with the morphology coloring.
My main complaint is that, in your key (which doesn't have a background), it's difficult to tell whether a mark goes on the left of one word, or the right of the other. Nothing major, but I thought the feedback might help.
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Tim Nelson
B. Sc. (Computer Science), M. Div. Looking for work (in computing or language-related jobs).

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