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Feb 27, 2013 David Lang

Hey Greek Prof, How 'Bout Some Extra Credit?

Whenever I teach Accordance training seminars (I'll be doing two in Washington D.C. and Williamsburg next month), I get to show some really cool Greek and Hebrew searches. Because the seminar attendees can range from brand new users who don't know Greek and Hebrew to students taking their first class to Bible scholars who work with it every day, it can be challenging to show how some of the more esoteric searches are useful. So I sometimes will joke that the beginning students can use these searches to garner extra credit.

For example, in showing how to use the COUNT command, I'll search the tagged Greek New Testament for [COUNT 1]. (You'll find the COUNT command in the Enter Command submenu of the Search menu.) This powerful search finds every word which only appears one time in the Greek New Testament.

GreekEC

These rarely used words are known as hapax legomena, and in the days before Accordance, there was no easy way to find them.

SearchEIS2

Once we've done this search, I then have the seminar attendees select Analysis from the Stats & Graphs icon to get an alphabetized list of all NT hapax legomena.

GreekEC2

All this takes no more than a few seconds.

It's then that I show the "practical" value of such a search. I tell all the beginning Greek students to approach their professor on a Friday and say, "Prof, if I spend the weekend finding all the hapax legomena in the Greek New Testament, can I get some extra credit?" Then I instruct them to go home, do the search and analysis I just showed, print out the analysis tab, and bring that in on Monday morning. If they really want to sell it, they should look particularly worn out and disheveled when they turn it in.

Now, this might have been more likely to work in the days before Bible software was capable of advanced research, but even today, it might work if your professor doesn't happen to use Accordance. If he uses something else, maybe he won't suspect that it only took you a few seconds!

Tomorrow, I'll give you Hebrew students a search you can use to garner extra credit.


 

Jan 25, 2013 David Lang

That's Interesting! Now Where Is It?

Last week I wrote a series of posts designed to teach you powerful original language search techniques. In the final post of that series, we did a search for any inflected form spelled epsilon-iota-sigma (regardless of its breathing mark and accent), finding two inflections of the lexical form εἷς, along with three inflections of the preposition εἰς. This screenshot shows both the Search tab and the Analysis which we customized to list the inflected forms beneath each lexical form.

SearchEIS11

The unusual thing about this search result is that it found one occurrence of the preposition εἰς which has an acute accent. Since εἰς does not usually take an accent, it's natural to want to check out the accented occurrence. But how can you find it?

Now that you've read through all the posts of the previous blog series, you should be able to figure out how to construct a search for the one occurrence of the inflected form εἴς, but it's easier just to have Accordance do it for you. To do that, simply select the form εἴς in the Analysis window, then choose Search Current Resource from the Amplify button of the Toolbar.

AnalysisAmplify1

This will open a new search tab with the search already defined for you and the result displayed.

AnalysisAmplify2

From this we can see that the preposition εἰς is accented because it is immediately followed by an enclitic—that is, a word that causes the preceding word to be accented. That's the kind of thing that is only important to die-hard Greek geeks, but I hope you can see the convenience of amplifying from the Analysis tab. Whenever you see a word or form listed that you just want to explore further, simply select it and go to the Analysis button of the toolbar. It's quick, it's slick, and it's easy.


 

Jan 16, 2013 David Lang

Become a Searching εἰς, Part 3

In my last couple of posts, I've been showing you how to become a searching 'ace' by searching for the Greek word εἰς. You see, there is another Greek word spelled exactly like εἰς except for the breathing mark and accent: εἷς. As I explained in the first post in this series, Accordance ignores breathing marks, accents, vowel points, and case even if you happen to enter them in your search. We do this to spare you having to get all those things right in order to do a basic search, but what if you want Accordance to pay attention to those things? In my second post, I showed that you merely need to enter an equals sign before the word in question to have Accordance consider breathing marks, accents, vowel points, and case. At the end of that post, we searched for =εἰς to find only εἰς without also finding εἷς.

In this post, I want to show you another little wrinkle. Let's start by doing the opposite of what we did last time. Let's enter =εἷς to find only the occurrences of that word. When the search is finished, choose Analysis from the Stats and Graphs pop-up to open the Analysis tab. You should now see something like this:

SearchEIS6

As you can see from the Analysis tab, this search found only the 345 occurrences of εἷς. Yet if we look at the highlighted words in the Search tab to the left, we don't see the form εἷς at all. Instead, we see words like ἓν and μία.

This is because the lexical form εἷς takes a variety of inflected forms to indicate things like gender, number, and case. If you look down at the Instant Details in the screenshot above, you can see that ἓν is the neuter singular nominative of εἷς.

This distinction between "lexical forms" and "inflected forms" is important. Basically, a lexical form is the form of a word you would typically look up in a Greek lexicon: such as the nominative singular of most nouns or the present active indicative of most verbs. When you enter a Greek word in the search entry box, Accordance assumes that you are entering a lexical form and that you want to find every occurrence of that lexical form, no matter how it happens to be inflected.

To see how many different ways the lexical form εἷς is inflected in the Greek New Testament, go to the gear menu of the Analysis tab and choose Customize Display.

SearchEIS7

This will open a dialog that lets you decide exactly what information you want the Analysis to display.

SearchEIS8

The columns in the middle of this dialog represent each word in your search. Note how they all contain the LEX item. That's why the Analysis defaults to listing every lexical form found by your search. To have the Analysis list other criteria, you simply drag the desired items into the appropriate column. Since we only searched for one word, only the first column applies here, so we'll drag an INFLECT item into the first column underneath the LEX item.

When we click OK, the Analysis will now show every inflected form that was found underneath each lexical form.

SearchEIS9

Again, be sure you understand the distinction between lexical and inflected forms. The lexical form is the dictionary form of the word which represents every inflected form. Thus, the lexical form εἷς occurs 345 times in a variety of forms. From the Analysis we see that 96 of those times, the lexical form εἷς is actually inflected as εἷς, rather than as ἓν, μία, or some other inflection.

Now, what if we want to narrow our search so that it finds only those 96 occurrences of the inflected form εἷς? How do we do that? I'll answer that question in my next post.


 

Mar 15, 2012 David Lang

Uniqueness and Importance

On Tuesday, I showed how you can search for every word in a book (like Mark), then open an Analysis window to get a listing of those words. Today, I want to show how you can customize the Analysis to show unique words and important words.

When I had you create an Analysis of the words in Mark and choose Count Down from the Sort pop-up menu, I told you to scan past the most common words like common nouns, articles, conjunctions, etc. When sorting the analysis by the mere number of times a word appears, those common words will naturally be at the top of the list. Of course, all that really tells you is that common words are, well, common. So way back around Accordance 4.0, we created filters that would push the more interesting words toward the top of the list. To access these filters, simply make sure the Analysis tab is selected, then choose Set Analysis Display… from the Display menu (or use the keyboard shortcut command-T). In the dialog that appears, change the Count pop-up menu from Number to Uniqueness.

UniquenessMenu

When you click OK to dismiss the dialog, the Analysis will show the words which are most unique to the book of Mark.

UniqueMark

Admittedly, it's a bit oxymoronic to measure the degree of uniqueness, but we couldn't think of a better, more concise term. What we mean by it is that these are the words which tend to appear only, or primarily, in your current search range (in this case, the book of Mark). Obviously, this tends to focus your attention on hapax legomena (words which only appear once in the entire Greek New Testament), and those are marked with an asterisk in the Analysis window. You also see words which are repeated several times (and thus not true hapax), but only in the book of Mark. You can then search for any of these more or less unique words to explore them in context.

Now, words which are unique to the book of Mark are not necessarily important words. For example, the name Abiathar is unique to the book of Mark, but it is merely mentioned as a detail in connection with an episode in the life of David, so it would be a mistake to see it as some kind of "key word" in the book of Mark. We therefore added another filter which attempts to find the important words in your search range. To access that filter, open the Set Analysis Display dialog again and change the Count pop-up menu from Uniqueness to Importance. When you click OK to dismiss the dialog, you'll see a list that looks like this:

ImportantMark

What jumps out to you about this list of words? One thing I find striking is how high the words meaning "to say," "to ask," "I," "you," and "who?" all rank in this list. Is this an indication that Mark is particularly focused on dialog? I don't know, but it's a question worth exploring. Another thing that jumps out to me is the prominence of words like "disciples," "many," "crowds," and "scribes." Is Mark particularly focused on Jesus' audiences and their responses to him? Again, I can't know merely by looking at a list of words filtered by a computer algorithm. I'll need to examine each of these words in context to see if they really do mark important concepts or trends in the book of Mark. The value of this Importance filter is that it gives me a place to start, prompting me to ask questions I might not otherwise have thought to ask.

If you haven't tried applying these filters to the Analysis window, be sure to give them a try. They're just one more example of the powerful study options lurking just beneath the surface in Accordance.


 

May 20, 2011 David Lang

Finding Repeated Words in a Passage, Part 5

This week we've been discussing the interpretive value of looking for repeated words in a passage of Scripture, and I've been showing how to do this using Accordance's highlighting tools and other shortcuts. Going through a passage inductively and highlighting like that is a great way to discover key words in context, but it takes time. In the past couple of posts I've shown how you can speed up this process by doing individual searches and highlighting the hits, but you can save even more time by doing a search for all the words in a passage and analyzing the results to see which words are used most frequently. Up to now, we've been working through an English translation, but today I'll be working with the Hebrew text directly.

To search for every word in the Hebrew Bible, I'll set my search text to BHS-W4, click the Words button, and enter an asterisk (*) in the search field. The asterisk is a wildcard symbol which, by itself, simply means "find every word." To limit this search to 2 Samuel (the passage we've been studying), I need to create a range in the range pop-up menu of the Search window. (NOTE: Because of a difference in the way the RANGE command works, I can't use the RANGE command in this instance. I'll explain that in more detail in a future post.) When I run this search, every word in 2 Samuel 11 will be highlighted.

RepeatedWords5-1

At first glance, a search for every word in a passage may seem kind of pointless. But now that we've found every word, we can use Accordance's statistical tools to analyze the search results. To do that, choose Analysis from the Details pop-up menu.

An Analysis tab will open listing every word that was found by this search. To see which words are used most frequently, I need only change the sort pop-up menu from Alphabetical to Count down.

RepeatedWords5-2

As you can see, the most frequently used words are Hebrew particles like prepositions, articles, and conjunctions. If I'd like to filter these from the list so I can more easily focus on significant words, I can go back to my wildcard search and exclude the particles by adding an at symbol (@), a minus sign (-), and selecting Particle from the Enter Tag submenu of the Search menu. In the dialog box that appears, I could specify a particular type of particle, or I could simply click OK to exclude all particles. My search should now look like this:

RepeatedWords5-3

The Analysis window will automatically update to reflect the new search, and should now look like this:

RepeatedWords5-4

As you can see, I now have a list of all the Hebrew words which get repeated in 2 Samuel 11, and I can immediately begin drawing conclusions about this passage. For example, we see immediately that David and Uriah are the most frequently mentioned characters, but where is Bathsheba? This is supposed to be the story of "David and Bathsheba," but Bathsheba is only mentioned by name one time. The rest of the time she is mentioned as "the woman" or "the wife" of Uriah. Is this an indication that the narrator is more interested in setting up a contrast between David and Uriah than in detailing David's illicit relationship with Bathsheba?

Or notice the frequency of the verb "to say"? Seeing this might prompt us to examine how the narrative progresses through the dialog of the characters themselves.

We've already seen how frequently words like "to send" and "house" are used in this passage, but if we didn't know that already, we would clearly see it in this analysis.

As you can see, searching and analyzing all the words in a passage can alert us to important words and concepts in a matter of seconds. By relying on these kinds of tools to speed up the process of observation, we can better concentrate our efforts on the tasks of interpretation and application.


 

Aug 3, 2010 David Lang

See! I Said You Could

Last week I said that whenever you ask us if you can do something with Accordance, we usually answer with a simple and straightforward, "Yes, you can!" Of course, the danger of making such a claim is that I'm practically inviting you to test its validity. So I wasn't at all surprised to get the following "challenge" in the comments on that post:

Not a comment, but a challenge. I want to create a greek analytical lexicon arranged by dictionary form (not alphabetically) with all subsequent forms underneath it with frequencies. How do I do this w/o manually entering every word stem (6060 words)? Any help appreciated!

So can he do it? Yes he can! Better yet, it's incredibly easy to do. In fact, Helen has already spelled out the steps required in the comments on that previous post. I'll recount those steps here to provide a little more detail.

Any time you're wanting a statistical breakdown of all the words in a text (such as the tagged Greek New Testament), you need to begin by searching for every word in that text. You do that by clicking the Words button in your Search window, entering an asterisk wildcard to represent any word, and clicking the Find button. Instantly every word in the GNT-T will be highlighted.

Step 1: Search for Every Word

Now that you've found every word in the text, you can analyze every word that was found by clicking the understated Details button. A Details workspace will open, probably showing tabs for the Hits Graph and the Analysis (depending on your settings). If an Analysis tab is present, click the tab to bring it to the front. If there's no such tab open, click the Analysis button to open one.

Step 2: Open the Analysis

By default, the Analysis lists every lexical form found by your search, its English meaning, and the number of times it was found. However, you can customize the display of the Analysis to show whatever information you like. To do this, select Set Analysis Display from the Display menu (or use the keyboard shortcut command-T).

Step 3: Set Analysis Display

A dialog will open with a series of columns representing the different elements of your search. Since we only searched for one thing (the asterisk representing any word) only the first column is relevant. You can see that it currently contains only the LEX item, which is why all the lexical forms are listed. By dragging additional items into this first column, we can break our search results down by other criteria.

The person who issued the challenge wanted a listing of each "dictionary form" (that is, lexical form), with all "subsequent forms" (that is, inflected forms) listed beneath it. To accomplish this, simply drag the INFLECT item underneath the LEX item in the first column. Like this:

Add the Inflected form to the Analysis Sort

Now simply click OK to see the modified Analysis display:

Yes You Can Create an Analytical Lexicon!

Note how each lexical form is listed along with its number of occurrences. It is then further broken down by inflected form. If I'm understanding the challenge correctly, we've already achieved what was requested. But we can go further still. Let's say we go back to the Set Analysis Display and drag the TAG item between the LEX and INFLECT items. We'll then get an Analysis which looks like this:

Yes You Can Even Refine It Further

Note how each lexical form is now broken down by grammatical form, with inflected forms listed underneath. By adding the grammatical tag, I've reshuffled the inflected forms so that related forms are listed together, rather than all the inflected forms merely being listed in alphabetical order.

See, I told you most of your "Can I?" questions can be answered with a simple and straightforward, "Yes you can!" And in most cases, the method required to accomplish your goal is simple and straightforward as well.

Oh, and while we're on the subject of creating a Greek analytical lexicon, you should know that William Mounce has already done that work for you. His Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament, as well as his grammar and morphology, are all available in one of our Zondervan packages. Can you purchase them? "Yes you can!" ;-)