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Passage analysis


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#1 Jon Falkenstein

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 11:21 AM

One of the things that I absolutely love about accordance is the ability to search for a Greek word and get all kinds of great information about its usage and meaning with the "details" button. It typically really impresses my professors when I can whip up usage statistics on demand.

But now that I've had a taste, I realize I have a greater hunger for this kind of analysis. I want to be able to analyze entire passages, not just a word. I know this takes significantly more code, but this is a feature request forum, right? Of course, I'm more specifically referring to the original language texts than of English ones.

Some things I would be really interested in is an intuitive analysis with which I could basically select a phrase, verse, or larger paragraph and click "Analyze" like I currently do with word searches. It would point out words with relatively low occurrence across Scripture (thus giving pointers as to where further research should be done), perhaps tying in other tools by offering links to various commentaries and dictionary definitions from various modules for those words. It could point out words and roots that occur numerous times in the selection. It could call up cross references and parallels from the various tools in the verse. Right now, in order to do these things, I need to go by guess and check and do word searches, pull up and research all my dictionaries, open cross references, and then check parallels. In the end, if I'm working on a paragraph, just all the guessing and false trails I would have to go on would take an hour or so. This function would basically help me focus my research. Though this might be a bit overkill for the average pastor, for a biblical studies student this would be a lifesaver.

#2 Helen Brown

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 11:54 AM

We already get complaints from scholars that in one hour Accordance lets them do the research that took months for their PhD. Now you suggest automating it even further.

You can use Search All in defined groups of modules to find the words or references of interest (except in the Parallels).

I personally think that this kind of analysis requires so much judgment as to what is worth pursuing, that it is unlikely that it could be usefully automated. Not to mention that it would take all the fun out of using Accordance. ;)
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#3 Lorinda H. M. Hoover

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 12:47 PM

There may be some ways to simplify your process, though. I have been able to semi-automate checking for repeated words in a pericope, using a combination of Accordance and Butler.

I have the following syntax saved in a custom pasteboard in Butler, which I can access with a keyboard shortcut:

[COUNT 2-10] @-([ARTICLE] ,[CONJUNCTION] , [PREPOSITION], [PARTICLE], [PRONOUN])

When I want to look for repeated words, I pull up a new search window, create a range definition for my pericope, and paste the syntax in. I hit return, and the search happens. Note that the Range definition has to be set in the drop-down because I 'm using the Count command. My topmost range is one called "temp" which I can fairly quickly set to the pericope I'm interested in. (Remember you can select a passage and copy just the range and then paste it into this definition).

For Hebrew, this doesn't work because of the right-to-left issues. So I have a saved search window with the syntax I need. It's also in my Butler configuartion, so I can pull it up quickly.

The Greek solution would work with any keyboard manager. The saved window solution should work with Quicksilver and maybe Launchbar.

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#4 David Lang

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 01:49 PM

Jon,

You're right that there's no quick way to select all the words in a passage and automatically do the kind of analysis you're suggesting. With a little setup, though, you could accomplish much of what you're wanting to do already.

First, you need to search every word in the passage you're interested in. I opened the GNT-T, chose to search by words, and then entered the following search: * <AND> [RANGE Phil. 1:1-5]. The asterisk searches for every word, and the Range command gives me an easy way to limit the search to whatever passage I want.

Now that I've done that, I open a new window with the GNT-T. The easiest way to do that is by duplicating the existing window (command-D). Hit tab to select the contents of the argument entry box and then enter the HITS command by using shift-command-H. The HITS command represents the list of words which were found by another search, so if you use the HITS from the first GNT-T window, you'll essentially be searching for every word in the passage you chose (Phil 1:1-5 in this case).

If you click the Details button in this second window, you'll be able to get an analysis of every word that was found, build a concordance of each of those words, etc. By opening multiple Analysis windows you could set one up to Count Down so that you can see which words are most common, and another to Count Up so that you could see which words are most rare.

You could also set up additional search windows and perform a variety of other searches. For example, [HITS GNT-T]@[COUNT 1] would find all the hapax legomena in your passage. There are none in Phil 1:1-5, but [HITS GNT-T]@[COUNT 1-5] found uncommon words like episkopos and Philippoi. Another example might be to open a window with the LXX and use the HITS command there.

Once you've set up a multi-window arrangement like this that works, you can save it and use it whenever you want to do this kind of analysis. It's not exactly the kind of automation you're looking for, but it's a start.
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#5 Joe Weaks

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 04:45 PM

I didn't really see anything the poster was asking for that couldn't be done to a large extent. Just do all the searches your want that tie in to a main search window, then just save the session. Some windows will need to hit "OK" cause won't autoupdate, but, I mean, how is accordance supposed to guess what precise searches you are interested in as opposed to the kinds of things I'm interested in?
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#6 Jon Falkenstein

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 05:00 PM

Firstly, I'd like to thank you David, I didn't know that the range searches could be done like that. I learn something new all the time!

However, in regards to this "passage analysis" tool, I know that these things can be done. It seems some people in this thread have said that I could save sessions and throw together arguments and have multiple threads running. And this is true. I can do all these things. But, this tool would help those who are not as well trained in accordance. It might sacrifice some advanced options that could be taken for the sake of further usability and intuitiveness (think linux vs. OS X).

I'm not looking for a tool that does everything. I'm just saying that If there was a tool that was a little more loaded and perhaps more specifically designed to look at a whole section of text that could be a little smarter, it would save time. Obviously, all the features that Accordance has right now are very smart, and do more with biblical texts than the greatest scholars of a hundred years ago could do in a lifetime. Nonetheless, if a passage was analyzed in the way I'm suggesting, and, say, there were a few words that had an "importance" factor of over 2 or even higher, it would automatically point those out. Basically, it would point out some of the statistical highlights, names that appear in the timeline package, parallels across scripture, etc and suggest sections of various tools that could help with further research. Obviously, all those things can be done now, but I'm talking about something that would cut down on the work without having to have many windows open with saved sessions and several search arguments running. I have experienced similar tools in other software packages, though not exactly the same. Because the ability is there to do this now, it would just save work. In the process, it would even further progress the integration between texts and the various types of tools.

#7 Mick Matousek

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 08:51 AM

Firstly, I'd like to thank you David, I didn't know that the range searches could be done like that. I learn something new all the time!

However, in regards to this "passage analysis" tool, I know that these things can be done. It seems some people in this thread have said that I could save sessions and throw together arguments and have multiple threads running. And this is true. I can do all these things. But, this tool would help those who are not as well trained in accordance.


It seems to me that saved windows, searches, workspaces, or sessions for advanced passage analysis are another use for the The Accordance Exchange. Those with especially useful analyses should be encouraged to share their insight.




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