Importing Lexical Items
Importing lexical items into an existing lexicon can be a little more involved than importing an entire lexicon. This is because occasionally there can be conflicts between the items being imported and the items already contained in the lexicon. If conflicts occur then you'll have to tell Personal Lexicon how to handle them. The kinds of conflicts that can arise depend on the file type being imported. Personal Lexicon has 2 file formats to choose from: the .plx file format and the .csv file format. For more information on this file formats see Lexical Item Import/Export File Formats.
In order to understand what conflicts are possible, we need to take a quick look at the contents of the 2 file formats available. In addition to lexical item data, plx files contain lexical type definitions. If there are nouns, verbs, and adverbs in the export file then the definitions for those lexical types are also contained in the file. If nouns were the only lexical items exported then the file would only contain the lexical type definition for noun. The exact definition of a lexical type depends on the language being learned and how the creator of the original lexicon defined it. For example, some languages define nouns as having gender and some don't. Some languages conjugate verbs a certain way and others don't. Typically, language templates are used when creating a lexicon so users don't need to add or alter lexical types themselves. This means that two students who are learning the same language should be using the same lexical type definitions within their respective lexicons. However, since this is not guaranteed, plx files store this information so it can be verified during import. Geographic regions are also added to the export file if they're used by any of the exported lexical items.
CSV files are a little different. They just contain lexical item data and not lexical type definitions. These export files are used when it's assumed that the lexicon already contains lexical type definitions that match items in the csv file. Each lexical item in a csv file is assigned a lexical type name or abbreviation. If the lexicon doesn't contain a matching name or abbreviation then a conflict arises. If it does then it's assumed that the lexical type definition in the lexicon corresponds to items in the csv file. However, there is no check for this so it's best to import csv files only when you are confident about the lexical types. Otherwise, some data from the import might be discarded. For example, an export file may contain nouns with assigned genders, but if the lexicon defines nouns without genders then the gender data will be ignored. Perhaps losing this information isn't crucial. It's up to you.
Given this background we can now examine the 3 types of conflicts that can occur during import. Click on a link below for details of the conflict type.
- lexical type conflicts
- region conflicts (plx files only)
- lexical item conflicts
If a conflict occurs the program will ask you how it should be handled. It's quite possible that no conflicts will occur, but if one does then usually they are simple to resolve. In any case, you always have the option of canceling the entire import. For example, if importing a file into your French lexicon you find that the lexical types being imported are not French then you probably want to cancel the import. Perhaps the export file contains lexical items for a language other than French. If this happens then the program will prompt you before adding any lexical type to your lexicon and you are given the option of canceling the entire import.
After any conflicts have been resolved and the import completed successfully, the program will show you all lexical items that were just imported. It does this by making visible the system theme entitled [Last Import], which is located near the top of the theme list just underneath the [Unassigned] theme. As the name suggests, [Last Import] will show you all lexical items that were added or modified by the last successful import. These lexical items will remain under this system theme until they are deleted from the lexicon or another import is done. If after examining the imported items you're no longer interested in seeing the [Last Import] theme then you can hide it by selecting the appropriate menu option underneath the View menu. Once hidden, you can always make it visible again by selecting the same menu option.