B-ToBI: English tier

In B-ToBI, the text of Bengali utterances is represented on two tiers: the words tier (phonemic transcription of the Bengali text) and the English tier, which represents the English labels for each word or morpheme, and can thus be considered a semi-morphological gloss.

Each word (or suffix, in some cases) should be represented on the "English" tier with an English-language label. The labels of roots should roughly correspond to a one-word translation (e.g. 'dog', 'sun', 'eat'). There is no standardized set of labels for roots, but one can refer to Sailendra Biswas's Samsad Online Dictionary for ideas.

The labels of suffixes, classifiers, and functional particles follow a standardized system of abbreviations. Suffixes should be separated from roots and other suffixes with hyphens in the English tier (but not the words tier). Examples are given below.

Suffixes on verbs

Verbs in Bengali can be finite or non-finite. Only finite verbs can bear marking for tense and subject agreement.

Finite verb suffixes

Finite verbs have suffixes marking causation, aspect, tense, and subject agreement, in that order. Some combinations will have null markings for some of those slots; there is no need to gloss null morphemes. Most suffixes have different forms based on morphophonological environment, regional dialect, and register; common examples are provided below.

Suffix in phonemic
transcription
Typical
uses
Recommended
label
a, o, i, Wa causative verb
derived verb
CAU
VBZ
ech, iach, yach, s, ys perfect aspect PRF
ch, cch, itech, ytech, tes, ytes, tas, ytas, r, yr progressive aspect PRG
l, il, yl past tense PST
b, ib, yb, m future tense FUT
t, it, yt past habitual HAB
k, uk optative OPT
i, y future/negative imperative FIM
i, y, am, em, um, u 1st person 1
iS, S, os, s, i 2nd person non-honorific 2i
o, W, e, a, ay 2nd person neutral 2
e, Y, o 3rd person neutral 3
en, n, uyn 2nd or 3rd person honorific HON

Non-finite verb suffixes

Non-finite verbs have suffixes marking valence (passive, causative), aspect (perfect, conditional), and related concepts. Again, some of these endings may be null, and thus can be left out of the glossing. Most suffixes have different forms based on morphophonological environment, regional dialect, and register; common examples are provided below.

Suffix in phonemic
transcription
Typical
use(s)
Recommended
label
a, o, i, Wa causative verb
derived verb
CAU
VBZ
e, ia, y--a, Ya perfect participle PRF
le, ile, yle conditional participle CND
te, ite, yte verbal infinitive INF
a, no, Wn, n verbal noun VBN
a, no, nia, ynna passive participle PSS

Glossing vector verbs

All verbs are translated literally, even if they are used as vectors. To mark its use as a vector as opposed to a pole verb, one should use capital letters. For example, the verb root দে- dE- should be glossed 'give' as a pole verb (i.e. when it literally means 'give') and 'GIVE' as a vector verb (e.g. when it conveys a benefactive reading), e.g. লিখে দিলাম likhe dilam 'write-PRF GIVE-PST-1' (roughly '[I/we] wrote [it] for [someone]'). 

Verb root
in phonemic

transcription
Uses as
vector verb
Recommended
label
ach-, ch- perfect
result-focused
'BE'
oTh-, uTh- sudden
inchoative
'RISE'
thak-, thek- durative
iterative
'STAY'
dE-, de-, di-,
da-, dO-
benefactive/malefactive
sudden
'GIVE'
nE-, ne-, ni- self-benefactive
future utility
'TAKE'
pOR-, poR- completive (intr)
sudden/unexpected
change of state/position
'FALL'
phEl-, phel-,
fEl-, fel-,
fala-, la-
completive (tr)
sudden/unexpected (tr)
malicious/careless (tr)
'DROP'
ja-, gE-, ge-, gi- perfective (intr)
change of state/position
'GO'
rO-, ro- perfect
result-focused
'STAY'

Examples of verb glossing

Example words include:
-খাওয়াচ্ছিলেন khaWacchilen 'eat-CAU-PRF-PST-HON' (roughly, 'HON person was feeding')
-খাওয়াইতেছিলেন khaWaytesilen 'eat-CAU-PRF-PST-HON' (same as above, in an eastern form)
-খেয়ে ফেলতিস khe pheltiS 'eat-PRF drop-HAB-2i' (roughly, 'you would eat up')
-খাইয়া ফালাইতি khaya falayti 'eat-PRF drop-VBZ-HAB-2i' (same as above, in an eastern form)
-যা! ja 'go' (imperative for 2nd person non-honorific)
-লুকানো lukano 'hide-CAU-PSS' (roughly, 'hidden' as an adjective)
-লুকাইন্যা lukaynna 'hide-CAU-PSS' (same as above, in an eastern form)

Suffixes on nouns

Nouns in Bengali can take suffixes for definiteness, number, animacy, and case. These all interact in a complex way, and it is not possibly to fully cover this complexity here. Most suffixes have different forms based on morphophonological environment, regional dialect, and register; common examples are provided below. Note that null suffixes (e.g. nominative case suffixes in most situations) need no gloss.

Suffix in phonemic
transcription
Typical
uses
Recommended
label
Ta, Ti, Da default classifier CL
gula, gulo, guli, Ti, Di plural classifier PL
ra animate nominative plural NOMPL
ke animate accusative
dative
OBJ
derke, der, gore animate accusative plural
dative plural
OBJPL
r, ar, er, or, ker, kar genitive
experiencer
GEN
der, go animate genitive plural
animate experiencer plural
GENPL
te, e, Y, Ye locative
ergative (archaic)
LOC

 

In addition to these more common suffixes for nouns, there are some less common suffixes that can convey plurality in certain combinations, e.g. বৃন্দ brindo, গণ gOn, জন jon, সমূহ SomuHoThese can be glossed as PL if desired.

Classifiers

Some of the suffixes that appear on nouns resemble classifiers (also called measure words), although these appear in different parts of the morphosyntactic structure (e.g. suffixed to numerals, quantifiers, etc., rather than to nouns).

Classifier in phonemic
transcription
Typical
use(s)
Recommended
label
Ta, Ti, To, Te, Da default classifier CL
jon human classifier CL

 

Other more specific classifiers, e.g. জোড়া joRa 'pair', চামচ camoc 'spoon', গাদা gada 'heap', etc. can be glossed as nouns even when used as classifiers for other nouns, e.g. কয় জোড়া জুতা kOY joRa juta 'how many pair shoe' (~'how many pairs of shoes'), তিন চামচ চিনি tin camoc cini 'three spoon sugar' (~'three spoonfuls of sugar'), এক গাদা বাচ্চা Ek gada bacca 'one heap child' (~'a massive number of children').

Sentence particles

Sentence particles, which typically show up in second position or final position, can be glossed one of two ways: literally or with "SP". The ambiguity arises because all sentence particles have uses as standalone words or standalone utterances.

Sentence particle in
phonemic 
transcription
Uses as an
independent word
Uses as a
sentence particle
Recommended
label
ki what yes/no questions SP
na NEG confirmation questions SP
na ki or what confirmation questions SP
to therefore reminders SP
kintu but warnings SP
abar again expressions of disapproval
expressions of disbelief
SP
jEno, jani so that, such that reminders or threats SP
bujhi understand-1 expressions of disbelief
confirmation questions
SP
bole say-PRF, CMP reporting hearsay SP

Return to B-ToBI

Now that you know how to gloss your Bengali text for B-ToBI annotation, you can return to the B-ToBI main page.