I am looking for a code to create the following schemes. As I have never worked with drawing packages in LaTeX before, any help will be appreciated. It would be great if someone could help me by writing a code snippet (including comments).

1 Answer 1


Using tikz package, you can start with something like this:

\usetikzlibrary{positioning, fit, calc}

\node [align=center](tr) {transitive:\\};
\node [align=center, right=of tr] (A) {A\\NOM};
\node [align=center, right=of A] (P) {P\\ACC};
\node [align=center, right=5em of P] (ER) {A\\ERG};
\node [align=center, right=of ER] (AB) {P\\ABS};
\node [align=center,below=of $(ER.south)!.5!(AB.south)$] (SA) {S\\ABS};
\node [above=of $(A)!.5!(P)$] {(1) Nominative-accusative:};
\node [rotate=60][draw,dashed,inner sep=0pt, circle,yscale=.5,fit={(AB)(SA)}] {};

\node [align=center,below=of tr](itr) {intransitive:\\};
\node [align=center,below=of $(A.south)!.5!(P.south)$] (S) {S\\NOM};
\node [above=of $(ER)!.5!(AB)$] {(2) Ergative-absolutive:};
\node [rotate=-60][draw,dashed,inner sep=0pt, circle,yscale=.5, fit={(A) (S)}] {};


enter image description here

To efficiently place nodes, the positioning library comes in handy. And to draw the dashed ellipses around the nodes, the fit library is required. Also, to point to a mid-position between two nodes (for example, $(A)!.5!(P)$) you need the calc library. You can find a comprehensive manual full of good examples for tikz package here.

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