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Friday, April 28, 2006  

The Same Word Translated Differently

In Wednesday's post, we built a simple graphical search to find cases where "kingdom" is closely followed by "God," but where "of" does not appear between them. That was pretty cool, but that's just scratching the surface of what you can do with the Construct window. Today, we'll go one step further, by building a Construct that uses Key numbers.

What are "Key Numbers"? Key numbers are the term we use for any system which uses numbers to link words in an English translation with the original Greek or Hebrew words they translate. These include Strong's numbers (KJV), a modified form of Strong's numbers (NAS95), and Goodrick-Kohlenberger numbers (NIV). There's a lot you can do with texts that have been tagged with Key numbers, as explained in this blog entry, and this article I wrote for CMUG. Today, we'll build a graphical search that will look for two occurrences of the same Greek or Hebrew word which have been translated by different English words.

If you have an English Bible text with Strong's numbers, open a Search window and make sure that text is selected in the search text pop-up menu. I'll be using the KJVS, but the same search can be done with the NAS95S or NIV-G/K. Now make sure the "Search for words" radio button is selected and hit the Tab key to select the contents of the argument entry box. Next, choose Simple from the New Construct submenu of the File menu (or use the keyboard shortcut command-1). A new Construct window will open, and will automatically be linked to your search window.

In the Construct window, do the following:

  1. Drag a WORD element into the first (leftmost column).
  2. Click OK to dismiss the Select words dialog box without selecting any specific words. Then type an asterisk (*) directly into the WORD element.
  3. Hold down the option-key and drag the WORD element in the first column into the second column. This will place a copy of that WORD element in the second column.
  4. Drag a WITHIN item into the area above the two columns. In the dialog box that opens, enter "3" in the first field and click OK.
  5. Drag an AGREE item into the area above the two columns. In the dialog box that opens, check Key Number.
  6. Drag a second AGREE item into the area above the two columns. In the dialog box that opens, check Word.
  7. Drag a NOT item over the label of this second AGREE item.
Your construct should now look like this:

This construct will find two different English words within three words of each other which have been tagged with the same Key number. Click OK in either the Construct window or the Search window to which it is linked, and Accordance will perform the search. Here's a look at the first few verses that were found:

When I drag my cursor over the highlighted words to see what Key numbers they've been tagged with, I discover that most of the hit words do not have any Key number at all! This is obviously not what I had in mind. I wanted to find instances where the same Greek or Hebrew word was translated two different ways in the same verse, but I also found all the words which have no Key number at all. Technically, all of these words agree with respect to the fact that they have no key number, but I want to find the words which actually have been tagged with a key number.

Now, I obviously knew this was going to happen before I had you build this search, so why would I have you construct a search which I knew would result in a number of false hits? That's hardly good salesmanship!

I had you do it this way because I wanted you to see that even with a graphical search interface as intuitive as the Construct window, there will be times when the results you get are not what you expected. At those times, the thing to do is to go back to your construct and tweak it slightly. Quite often, developing a good construct involves a process of trial and error. That's when you'll really appreciate how easy it is to follow the logic of an Accordance construct: it makes it much easier to troubleshoot and modify.

Okay, let's go back to our Construct and figure out how to refine it. How can we specify that we only want to find those words which have actually been tagged with a Key number? Well, we used the WORD element with an asterisk to specify that we wanted to find any two words. What if we replace those WORD elements with KEY elements, to tell Accordance we want to find any two key numbers which agree in key number but not in word?

Here's how to do that:

  1. Click on each of the WORD elements in the Construct to select them. Then hit the delete key to delete them.
  2. Now drag a KEY element into the first column, click OK to dismiss the dialog, and enter an asterisk (*) right in that KEY element.
  3. Option-drag that KEY element into the second column to copy it there.

Your Construct should now look like this:

Click OK to perform this search and you get far fewer hits. Drag your cursor over the highlighted words and you'll see that they each have been tagged with the same Key number.

So what did we find? Well, we found some instances like Genesis 1:16:

And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day.

In this case, the Hebrew words have been translated essentially the same way, except that the second instance is singular rather than plural, and uses the comparative form "greater" rather than "great."

In addition to instances like this, where the English words are essentially the same with minor differences in tense or number, this search also turns up a number of more interesting hits:

Gen. 2:16: "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat"
Gen. 2:17: "in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."
Gen. 3:4: "the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die"
Gen. 3:16: "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception"

Hmmm. Now we seem to be on to something. Here the same Hebrew word is repeated twice, yet each word is translated into English by two very different words: "freely" and "eat," "surely" and "die," "greatly" and "multiply," etc. What's going on here?

Next week, we'll explore the answer to that question by building a Hebrew construct search. Until then, have a good weekend!


P.S.: Our Apple Thirtieth Anniversary Sale ends on Sunday. If you haven't taken advantage of this sale yet, you've only got a few days left! :-)

Why don't we have a little competition to see who can come up with the most helpful graphic construct windows in English, Greek and Hebrew and share them around? That way we can learn from each other and end up with a nice handful of saved search constructs to show off to our friends!

I don't know if anybody will see it but It's wort trying. I did everything David described in that entry but I receive the same number of hits in both cases, when using WORD and KEY elements. I always receive 659238 hits. Does it happen to anybody else.

David and I do see the blog comments when they come in, but on an old post like this, we do not know where they belong. It is better to write to us directly.

I think this is a bug in Accordance! It is not finding only the words with Key numbers when you search for KEY *. Try making one of the columns KEY H* and it will work. We will look for the bug.

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