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Tuesday, October 17, 2006  

Searching for Crasis

The other day, a user asked the following question on the Accordance forums:

I am trying out the Greek tags in GNT-T and I have entered egw@ [PRONOUN personal first singular nominative] using the ENTER TAG > PRONOUN option.

I get 423 hits which include kagw

How do I find all the instances of egw without kagw?

Ka’go is an instance of what Greek grammarians refer to as crasis and what English speakers typically think of as a "contraction." Just as we shorten "do not" into "don't" and "it is" into "it's" (not to be confused with "its"!), the Greek New Testament often contracts kai ego into ka’go. In the GNT-T, every occurrence of "crasis" is tagged with the lexical forms of both words which form the contraction. In other words, ka’go is tagged with the lexical forms kai and ego and will be found whenever you do a search for either one of those lexical forms.

But what if you want to exclude instances of crasis from a search? The user who asked this question originally tried to use the NOT command with the lexical form kai. The trouble is, that excludes any occurrence of ego which appears anywhere within the same verse as kai. The user eventually figured out that he could use a combination of the commands NOT, PRECEDED BY , and WITHIN 1 Words to filter out only those occurrences where kai immediately precedes ego, but even that doesn't quite do the job. You see, that search will also exclude any instances of kai ego which are not contracted into ka’go.

Fortunately, there is a special "crasis" tag which can be used to find or exclude instances of crasis in the GNT. Simply type the word "crasis" in quotation marks and join it to the word you're searching for using the at (@) symbol, like this:

This search finds all occurrences of ego when it is tagged as a nominative first person singular and when it is not (note the minus sign after the @) an instance of crasis. Admittedly, the "crasis" tag looks kind of funny in Greek letters, but the point is, it works!

You can, of course, remove the minus sign to find ego when it is contracted with another word. You can also just search for the "crasis" tag by itself to find all occurrences of crasis regardless of which words are contracted.

Pretty cool, huh?





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