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(1) A concise statement of the key idea(s) in a text or a portion of a text. Annotations are commonly used in reading instruction and in research.

(2) In corpus linguistics, a coded note or comment that identifies specific linguistic features of a word or sentence.

See also:

From the Latin, "to note down"

Examples and Observations:

  • "When you annotate a text, you underline, highlight, draw arrows, and make marginal comments. Annotating is a way of making the text your own, of literally putting your mark on it--noting its key passages and ideas."
    (John C. Bean, Virginia Chappell, and Alice M. Gillam, Reading Rhetorically. Pearson Education, 2004)

  • Identifying Key Components of a Text
    "Annotation is a logical 'next step' or additional step in teaching students how to isolate key information. Annotating text includes the following components:
    (a) writing brief summaries in the text margins in the students' own words;
    (b) enumerating multiple ideas (e.g., cause-and-effect relations, characteristics);
    (c) noting examples in the margins;
    (d) putting information on graphics and charts if appropriate;
    (e) marking possible test questions;
    (f) noting confusing ideas with a question mark in the margins; and
    (g) selectively underlining key words or phrases
    (Simpson & Nist, 1990).
    Students are responsible for pulling out not only the main points of the text, but also the other key information (e.g., examples and details) that they will need to rehearse for exams. In this way annotation goes beyond the process of isolation. Students are actually transforming information by changing or personalizing it in some way."
    (Jodi Patrick Holschuh and Lori Price Aultman, "Comprehension Development." Handbook of College Reading and Study Strategy Research, 2nd ed., edited by Rona F. Flippo and David C. Caverly. Routledge, 2009)

  • REAP: A Whole-Language Strategy
    "Read-Encode-Annotate-Ponder, or REAP (Eanet & Manzo, 1976), was among the earliest strategies developed to stress the use of writing as a means of improving thinking and reading. REAP does so by teaching students a number of ways to annotate, or write short critiques of, what they have read. The various annotations serve as alternative perspectives from which to consider and evaluate information and ideas. . . .

    "Research on writing suggests that efforts to develop annotation skills concurrently with reading and content result in enriched factual knowledge, conceptual development, and vocabulary acquisition . . ..

    "REAP is a two-level strategy: Once students have learned the annotation forms, they can use REAP independently as a 'study formula' to guide thoughtful reading, or the teacher can use it as an instructional activity.

    "Steps in Student Use of REAP
    1. R: Read to discern the writer's message.
    2. E: Encode the message by translating it into your own language.
    3. A: Analyze by cogently writing the message in notes for yourself or in a thought book to share with others.
    4. P: Ponder, or reflect, on what you have read and written, first introspectively and then by sharing and discussing it with others and as a study aid in test preparation."
    (Anthony V. Manzo and Ula Casale Manzo, Content Area Reading: A Heuristic Approach. Merrill, 1990)

  • Linguistic Annotations
    "Linguistic annotations are notes about linguistic features of the annotated text that give information about the words and sentences of the text. . . . [L]inguistic annotations can be created by annotation tools. For examples, a part-of-speech tagger adds an annotation to a word in the text to say that the word is a noun, or a verb, or some other part of speech.

    "The value of linguistic annotations is that they can be used by subsequent applications. For example, a text-to-speech application reads a given text aloud using a speech synthesizer. If the word contract appears in the text it can be pronounced in two different ways, as in The economy will contract next year or They will read the contract tomorrow. In the first example contract is a verb, and in the second it is a noun. This is not an isolated example. Compare read in the second example with They read the contract yesterday. In both cases read is a verb, but the speech synthesizer must pronounce it differently when it is past tense. If a part-of-speech tagger has already added these annotations, the text-to-speech application can use them."
    (Graham Wilcock, Introduction to Linguistic Annotation and Text Analytics. Morgan & Claypool Publishers, 2009)

  • Corpora Annotation
    "The important point to grasp about an annotated corpora is that it is no longer simply a body of text in which the linguistic information is implicitly present. For example, the part-of-speech information 'third person singular present tense verb' is always present implicitly in the form loves, but it is only retrieved in normal reading by recourse to our preexisting knowledge of the grammar of English. By contrast, a corpus, when annotated, may be considered to be a repository of linguistic information, because the information which was implicit in the plain text has been made explicit through concrete annotation. Thus our example of loves might in an annotated corpus read 'loves_VVZ,' with the code VVZ indicating that it is a third person singular present tense (Z) form of a lexical verb (VV). Such annotation makes it quicker and easier to retrieve and analyse information about the language contained in the corpus."
    (Tony McEnery and Andrew Wilson, Corpus Linguistics: An Introduction, 2nd ed. Edinburgh University Press, 2001)
Pronunciation: an-o-TAY-shen
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