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Monday, June 05, 2006  

New in 7: Agreement by Root

Last Friday, we took a brief look at the new ability in version 7 to search by Greek or Hebrew root. Today, we'll build a Greek Construct to look for different words which agree in root.

For those of you who missed our previous discussions of the Construct window, you can read more about what it does and how it works in this post and the ones which immediately follow it. That way, we can avoid the long explanations in this post and get right to building our Construct:

  1. Open a Search window, select GNT-T (the tagged Greek New Testament) as your search text, and click the Search for Words radio button.
  2. Hit the tab key to select the contents of the argument entry box and select "Greek" from the New Construct submenu of the File menu (or use the keyboard shortcut command-2).
  3. In the Construct window that opens, drag a VERB element into the first (leftmost) column. Click OK to dismiss the dialog that appears without setting any additional tag details.
  4. Drag a NOUN element into the second column. Click OK to dismiss the dialog that appears without setting any additional tag details.
  5. Drag a WITHIN item above the first two columns. In the dialog box that appears, enter "5" in the first field and click OK.
  6. Drag an AGREE item above the first two columns. In the dialog box that appears, click the checkbox for Root. For now, leave the radio buttons underneath the Root checkbox set to "Any." Click OK to close the dialog box.

Your Construct should now look like this:

Before we click OK to perform this search, let me point out another minor enhancement in Version 7: the addition of color to the Construct window. The Construct window has had the same basic look since version 1.0 of Accordance, when "System 7" was the current version of the Mac operating system. So we figured it was high time we gave it a more up-to-date look. We added the Aqua horizontal stripe background to the Construct palette, offset every other element column with a pale blue background, and added color to the WITHIN, INTER, and AGREE connecting items. We were purposefully conservative with our use of color, since too many colors can quickly become garish. We hope you like the new look.

Okay, enough about color schemes, let's click OK to perform this search.

Rather than showing you a screenshot of the results, let's look at something that will help us zero in on what was found: namely, the Parsing window:

How did I get this? It's easy:

  1. Click inside the text window pane displaying the Greek New Testament, then use the familiar Mac keyboard shortcut command-A to "Select All."
  2. Now click the Parsing button in the Language section of the Resource palette. You'll get an error message telling you that only the first 200 verses will be parsed. Fair enough. Click OK to dismiss this.

    A Parsing window will open listing every word in the first 200 verses, along with its lexical form, root, and full parsing information. But we can customize the display of the Parsing information to help us zero in on the actual words that were found by our search. What's the one keyboard shortcut that lets you customize the display of any window in Accordance—the one keyboard shortcut you absolutely must learn? That's right, command-T!
  3. Use the keyboard shortcut command-T to open the Set Parsing Display dialog box. Select "Hit words only" from the Pop-up menu labeled "Parse", then click OK.

Your Parsing window should now look like the screenshot shown above.

Now, what did our Construct search actually find? Well, in Matthew 2:10, it found "rejoiced with great joy." There the verb chairo and the noun chara share the common root charis.

In Matthew 4:18, we find the phrase "casting a net." In that case, the word "net" comes from two roots, the prefix amphi, meaning "around," and ballo, meaning "to throw." Since our Construct specified that the Verb and Noun could agree in "any" root, this phrase was found because both the verb and noun share the common root ballo.

Now look at Matthew 7:13. Here you have two words (apagousa and apoleian) which both share the same prefix apo, but whose main roots are really quite different. It would appear that our specification of agreement by any root "cast the net" too broadly.

Let's go back to our Construct window and double-click on the AGREE item to look at our other options:

As you can see, we can eliminate hits like Matthew 7:13 by specifying that the Verb and Noun must agree in All roots instead of just Any root. Since apagousa and apoleian only agree in one out of two roots, this occurrence would be excluded.

Unfortunately, specifying agreement in All roots would also exclude the phrase "casting a net" in Matthew 4:18. Amphiblestron and ballo both agree in their main root, but only one has the prefix amphi, so this more legitimate occurrence would also be excluded.

That's why we added the option to exclude prefixes when specifying agreement by root. If we click that radio button, Accordance will find words that agree with respect to their main root, without finding words which happen to share the same prefix but which are otherwise unrelated.

If we re-run our search, select all verses, and click the Parsing button again, we'll now see that Matthew 4:18 is included, while Matthew 7:13 is excluded.

In this post, we've seen how to specify Agreement by root in a Construct search, how to use the Parsing window to examine the results, and how to specify whether words must agree in any root, all roots, or any root excluding prefixes. In the next post, we'll look at the practical importance of these kinds of searches.

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