The past couple of blog posts, I've been talking about the distinction between searching Greek and Hebrew texts for lexical forms (the dictionary form of the word as representative of all occurrences of the word no matter how it is inflected) and inflected forms (the specific form a word takes in a given passage). In tagged Greek and Hebrew texts, Accordance defaults to searching lexical forms. Thus, when you search for agapao in the GNT-T, Accordance returns all 143 occurrences of that lexeme. To search for a specific inflected form, such as agapeseis, you simply enter the form enclosed in quotation marks. In the last post, I explained that we make lexical forms the default because it is a much more common kind of search.
Yet this distinction between lexical and inflected forms sometimes leads to confusion. Most commonly, this happens when a user copies some Greek or Hebrew text, pastes it into the argument entry box, and clicks OK. The words as they appear in the text are inflected forms, but if they are entered without quotation marks, Accordance interprets them as lexical forms and gives an error message.
For example, if I copy the phrase me genoito in Romans 3:4 and paste it into the argument entry box, Accordance will recognize me as a valid lexical form, but genoito is not a valid lexical form, so Accordance will bring up the list of lexical forms so that you can pick the one you want. At this point, you can do one of two things. If you know genoito comes from the lexical form ginomai, you can choose ginomai from the list. This will find all occurrences of me followed by any inflection of ginomai (not just genoito). Another option is to cancel out of the Select lexical forms dialog box and enclose the search argument me genoito in quotes.
Whichever way you choose to get this pasted search to work, you've taken a lot of unnecessary steps. Here's a list of the steps involved:
- Select the text you want to find.
- Select the contents of the argument entry box (hit the tab key to do this quickly)
- Click OK (or hit Return)
- Choose a new lexical form from the list and click OK to dismiss the dialog.
- Click OK (or hit Return) to perform the search.
That's a lot of steps just to perform a simple search for something you see in the text, so let me show you a "more excellent way." Forget about copying and pasting text into the argument entry box of the Search window. Instead, select the text you want to find, then click the Search button at the bottom of the Resource palette. In case you're counting, that's just two steps, and the cool thing is that Accordance will automatically insert the lexical forms which correspond to the inflected forms you selected. Thus, if you select me genoito and click the Search button, Accordance will open a new Search window, insert me ginomai, and perform the search.
If you want to search for the specific inflection me genoito, you simply need to hold down the option key while clicking the Search button on the Resource palette. This will cause Accordance to open a new Search window, insert the inflected forms you selected, automatically enclose them in quotation marks, and perform the search. No muss, no fuss, no copying and pasting, and no error messages!
If you prefer to use contextual menus rather than clicking palette buttons, just control- or right-click on the word or phrase you want to find, and choose either Lemma (another word for "lexical form") or Inflected from the Search For submenu of the contextual menu.
By using either of these methods, you have Accordance do the work of inserting the right search syntax for you. This becomes expecially helpful when working in Hebrew, because Accordance will automatically account for any prefixes or suffixes you may have selected. Try it, and you'll never go back to copying and pasting search arguments in Accordance.
By the way, all of this is covered in painstaking detail (and with corresponding visuals) in the new Training DVD.