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Friday, December 22, 2006  

New in 7.1: Character and Count in Construct

Sorry for the dearth of blog posts lately. I think all my creativity has been going to the creation of my family's annual Christmas photo and letter, so I've been struggling to come up with a really great topic for the blog. Actually, I've known what to talk about next, I just haven't known how to talk about it. You see, I last discussed the new Search both directions checkbox on the Construct window, intending to move on from there to some of the other new enhancements to the Construct window included in 7.1. Trouble is, I'm still trying to get my mind around how to use some of these new features—hence the need for creativity.

Listing the new enhancements to the Construct window is easy: it is now possible to perform character searches, as well as use the COUNT and HITS commands within a Construct search. What does that mean? Well, let's play around a bit and find out.

The COUNT command lets you find words by the number of times they occur in the text. For example, COUNT 1 will find all hapax legomena in a text. A good example of using the COUNT command in a Construct search might be to look for all prepositional phrases in the Greek New Testament which have a hapax as the object of the preposition. Here's how I would define that using the Construct window

This search turns up 275 hits. From here I might do an Analysis to get a list of which hapax legomena are used as objects of a preposition, look at a Hits Graph to see that these occur most frequently in the latter chapters of Acts, etc.

But I'm not interested in doing meaningful research—I just want to show off as many of these new features as I can! ;-) So let's add a character search.

In the Greek New Testament, the semicolon (;) is equivalent to an English question mark. By dragging the CHAR item into the third column, and specifying the semicolon character, I can look for all the questions in the Greek New Testament which end with a prepositional phrase with a hapax as its object. Here's what my new Construct will look like:

This search finds two questions in the Greek New Testament which end with such prepositional phrases: in Luke 14:28 and in Hebrews 2:4.

While this may not be the kind of thing you'll want to do every day, the COUNT and CHAR elements in the Construct window now enable you to create more sophisticated searches than ever before. Yet all that power comes in the form of two innocuous little boxes on the Construct palette.

A third innocuous little box lets you add the HITS command. I'll blog about that next week. In the meantime, may you all enjoy a wonderful holiday.

Looks like you have a great family, David.

Merry Christmas to you.


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