After upgrading to Ubuntu 15.10, I'm now getting the following error when compiling my document with pdflatex:

! Undefined control sequence.
\@selfnt ...malsize \@normalsize \else \@currsize 
l.104 \gll

The \gll macro is part of the covington.sty linguistics package. There doesn't seem to be any errors or warnings raised by this package in the pdflatex output. I've tried downloading a copy of covington.sty and putting it in the same directory as my document, but the problem persists.

I've also confirmed that problem does not exist on a machine running the previous Ubuntu version.

I'm not even sure about the best way to go about debugging this, so any pointers here (if not an actual solution) would also be great.

  • 2
    In the TeX world, the normal procedure is to construct a minimal example (or see here). As this error occurs on line 104, you might not be minimal yet. If the problem manifests only on one of multiple installations, another thing to use is the command \listfiles (put in preamble), compile on both machines, and compare the file versions at the end of the .log.
    – jon
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 3:29
  • Oh yes right, I did make a minimal example, which still had the problem. But after looking at the answer in the meta post, I realised I hadn't replaced my research group's custom class with the vanilla article class. This did remove the problem. Now I'm not sure how to proceed...
    – nedned
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 3:41
  • I also tried looking at the list of files using \listfiles, but they don't seem to have been written to the .log file on the machine which has the problem. Looks like the error happens before it can perhaps.
    – nedned
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 3:46
  • Well, if it's a problem with the class, that's progress! Can you post an MWE using that class and a link to the .cls (and any related files)?
    – jon
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 3:48
  • Sure thing! nedned.net/mintex.tgz should have everything in it you need. With the exception possibly of the facyhdr package, which the custom class depends upon.
    – nedned
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 4:04

1 Answer 1


The version of covington in use at the time this question was asked was so old that it still tested for the "new" font selection scheme, and somehow this interacts with your custom class. You can add the following to your preamble to make it work.

With a current version of the package it's unlikely that the problem will arise.




\gll ya:ro: i: nirNayav-annu khaNDisidaru
     someone this resolution-acc denounce.pst.3pl.hum
\glt `Someone denounced this resolution.’


  • Ah, fantastic, with that fix my thesis once again compiles! I don't remember what considerations went into choosing covington, but I'm sure they were fairly uninformed ones, so I will look into migrating to one of the packages you suggested. Thanks very much.
    – nedned
    Commented Nov 23, 2015 at 5:55
  • Just for the records: the answer above is not really accurate anymore as covington has been updated several times since.
    – JSpitzm
    Commented Feb 17, 2019 at 17:55
  • 1
    @JSpitzm I've removed the editorial, and updated the answer to reflect the current situation.
    – Alan Munn
    Commented Feb 17, 2019 at 18:15

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