Overlapping and fragmented elements: q, quote, l, and lg

overlap fragmentation
q quote part next prev l lg

Strategies for handling overlapping textual features, particularly quotations and poetry

The overlap of multiple textual features is a recurring topic in the text encoding world, and the TEI provides several mechanisms for dealing with it. The general entry on overlap discusses this issue at a broader level; here, we discuss the specific problem of overlapping quotations and verse lines, which in practice is the most frequent and troublesome instance of overlap in the literary and historical texts this Guide addresses.

When quotations and verse lines overlap, as in example 1, one set of elements must be broken into fragments that nest cleanly inside the other. In order to be able to recompose the fragmented elements into wholes (so that for instance a quotation can be understood as a single unit), some method must be used to indicate that each fragment is part of a larger whole. The TEI provides two methods for doing this.


Example 1. Simple use of part for q

“I never thought,” said he, “that I’d live to see the day.”

<p><q part="I">I never thought</q>, said he, <q part="F">that I’d live
to see the day</q></p>

Example 2. Simple use of part for l (a single line of verse split between two lg elements)

<lg type="verse.para">
<l>Hence my obeisance, my devotion hence,</l>
<l part="I">And hence my transport.</l></lg>
<lg type="verse.para"><l part="F">Nor should this, perchance,</l>
<l>Pass unrecorded, that I still had loved</l>

Example 3. More complex encoding using part for the outer quotation and next and prev for the inner quotation.

<q part="I">
<l>I’ll tell thee how it came about</l>
<l>She fell upon me and turned me out.</l>
<l>I cried <q id="q01" next="q02">But surely you’re mistaken,</q></l>
<l><q id="q02" prev="q01">To leave me thus poor and forsaken</q></l>
<l>But nothing did my words avail.</l>
<l>Jane paused for breath in great travail</l>
<l>But then resumed, no whit deterred,</l>
<q part="F">
<l>I thought perhaps she hadn’t heard.</l>

Example 4.