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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.

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

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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.

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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 18, 2013 David Lang

Become a Searching εἰς, Part 5

In this series of posts, we've been exploring some of the 'ace' techniques you can use to define very precise original language searches. Here's what we've learned so far:

  • Part 1: To search for a Greek lexical form, simply enter the word and hit return. To keep things simple and minimize mistakes, Accordance ignores breathing marks, accents, vowel points, and case—even if you happen to enter them.
  • Part 2: To make sure Accordance uses breathing marks, accents, etc. to distinguish one lexical form from another with the same spelling (such as εἰς rather than εἷς), simply put an equals sign in front of the word.
  • Part 3: Explained that when you search for a Greek word, Accordance assumes you are entering the lexical form of that word and that you want to find every inflected form of that lexical form.
  • Part 4: To search for a particular inflected form rather than all inflections of a lexical form, simply put quotes around it.

In Part 4, we searched for "=εἷς", using both the quotes to indicate we were looking for an inflected form and the equals sign to make sure Accordance paid attention to the breathing mark and accent.

SearchEIS10

I then asked what would happen if we removed the equals sign and just used the quotes. In this post, I want to answer that question. My hope is that it will help cement in your minds the difference between the quotation marks and the equals sign.

Go ahead and remove the equals sign from the previous search so that your search argument looks like this: "εἷς". When you hit Return, you should see something like this:

SearchEIS11

Remember that we had set up an Analysis tab to list all the inflected forms beneath each lexical form. With this search, we have found every inflected form spelled epsilon-iota-sigma, regardless of its accent or breathing mark. The presence of the quotes tells Accordance we are searching for inflected forms, but the absence of the equals sign tells Accordance to ignore the accents, breathing marks, and case. Accordance therefore finds five different inflected forms from two different lexical forms—inflected forms which differ with respect to case, accent, and breathing mark.

Thus, if you're wanting to find an inflected form with a specific spelling and accentuation, you'll want to include both the quotes (to indicate inflected form) and the equals sign (to indicate that you want the accents considered).

Now, you need to understand that such a specific search might exclude some occurrences which are accented in an unusual way. For example, look at the inflected form εἴς in the screenshot above. Normally, the preposition εἰς does not take an accent, but in one case it does take an accent because it happens to be followed by an enclitic. I'll show you how to find that rare occurrence in my next post, but for now I want you to understand that searching for exact inflected forms by including both the quotes and the equals sign may exclude cases you may not want to exclude, such as when a form is capitalized, takes an iota subscript, or is otherwise accented in an unusual way.

This last point brings us back full circle to the reason Accordance ignores all that stuff by default: it's just too easy to miss something if you always have to consider every combination of case, accent, and breathing mark. So while Accordance gives you the tools to construct very precise searches, you don't need to know those 'ace' techniques in order to use Accordance effectively.


 

Jan 17, 2013 David Lang

Become a Searching εἰς, Part 4

In yesterday's post, we did a search for the lexical form εἷς and showed the various inflected forms that were found. We explained that when you search for a Greek word, Accordance assumes you are entering the lexical form of that word and that you want to find every occurrence of that word no matter how it happens to be inflected. We saw that clearly when we customized the Analysis to list all the inflected forms beneath each lexical form:

SearchEIS9

Here we see that the lexical form εἷς occurs 345 times in a variety of forms. We also see that 96 of those times, the lexical form εἷς is actually inflected as εἷς, rather than as ἓν, μία, or some other inflection.

So what if you want to find a particular inflected form? How can you narrow your search so that it finds just the form you enter and no other inflections? Simply enclose your search term in quotation marks, like this: "=εἷς." When we perform this search, we find only the 96 occurrences of the inflected form εἷς.

SearchEIS10

So remember:

  • To search for a Greek lexical form, simply enter the word and hit return.
  • To make sure Accordance uses breathing marks and accents to distinguish one lexical form from another with the same spelling (such as εἰς rather than εἷς), simply put an equals sign in front of the word.
  • To search for a particular inflected form rather than all inflections of a lexical form, simply put quotes around it.

Now, I want you to notice something about the inflected form search we just did. In this case, I used both quotation marks (to indicate an inflected search) and the equals sign (to make sure Accordance paid attention to the breathing mark and accent). Is the equals sign really necessary here? What would happen if we removed it?

I'll answer that question in my next post.


 

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.

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

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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.