I mostly deal with questions regarding linguistics, and I find myself using certain ingrained habits which might be counter-intuitive for other users. For instance, I have a habit of adding breves and macrons on top of vowels to indicate vowel length, and (inverted) breves and macrons underneath vowels to indicate syllable weight.

In another recent reply I unthinkingly used Vs CV, following the notation which I used to follow consistently in my lectured notes etc for any vowel + s at the end of a word, followed by a word starting with any single consonant and any vowel.

I am confident that these examples were understandable to the attentive reader with little effort, but there's of course other instances where the intended pattern might be less clear. I'm thinking about phonetic signs, more complex regex-like patterns, distinctions between writing and pronunciation, etc.

So is there a standard that I should be following to make myself clearer instead of using my own makeshift system ? I haven't read much scientific literature of late - and I used to get frustrated with the extreme lack of standardization in older scholarly texts - so I'm not exactly up to date.

  • 4
    As far as I'm aware, using "C" and "V" is a common linguistic practice, certainly not your own "makeshift" system, and at most requires a brief parenthetical explanation like you included. For pronunciation, IPA is pretty standard. Could you give some other concrete examples? I suspect a "regex-like" pattern is usually reducible to a more intuitive description, e.g. "dental followed by open vowel"
    – brianpck
    Apr 7, 2017 at 19:00

1 Answer 1

  • Do as you see fit.
  • Prepare to explain if someone asks.
  • It's nice if you sometimes explain the notation you use, but don't feel pressured to do it every time.
  • Ask if something is unclear to you or potentially unclear to others.
  • I don't think we should have any standards.
  • Remember that posts are read by all kinds of people.

Based on my experience on other SE sites, there is no point in trying to standardize this on our site. It is of course good if you follow some standard, but we can't and shouldn't begin to force any standard.

We have users with varying backgrounds, and our posts are supposed to be accessible to many internet users. This is actually important: SE sites are supposed to generate much of their traffic through search engines and the content is supposed to be useful. That is, we are not here just for our own community, but for anyone who wants to find solutions to their Latin problems online.

Standard notations of the field are usually fine, but it's good to occasionally explain the notation and give a link to more details. If you feel your notation might be confusing, consider giving a hint or link for further information. Perhaps we could have some notation resources at the meta side and provide links there to make our content accessible.

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