As I've mentioned in a previous post, I've been teaching my family Greek using Accordance and an Apple TV. We're now learning noun case endings and beginning all those initially bewildering processes like parsing words, identifying their lexical forms, etc. As an illustration, I decided to show how Accordance makes all that stuff easy.
I began by hovering my mouse over a word in the Greek New Testament to show how its lexical form and parsing is automatically displayed in the instant details box. I then triple-clicked a word to show how Accordance automatically searches a default lexicon for the lexical form of the word rather than for the particular inflected form I happened to triple-click.
They were, of course, amazed at these very basic Accordance features, and they seemed for a moment to have a deeper appreciation for what I do for a living. Then my plan backfired. When they saw how easy it was to have Accordance do all these things they are working hard to learn, one of the kids voiced what they all must have been thinking: "So we really don't need to learn this stuff!"
I laughed and explained that they had hit on one of the great dangers of using Accordance: it can give us the false assurance that we know Greek better than we do. I went on to explain that the value of learning Greek is that it enables us to use tools like Accordance more responsibly. I think they bought it.
Then again, it's probably good that I didn't tell them about the Mounce Greek Study System, a bundle of video lectures and Accordance resources designed to teach you how to use more robust language tools without having to take full-blown Greek language courses. If they knew that option was available, I might lose half my students!
In this series of posts, we've been exploring some of the 'ace' techniques you can use to define very precise original language searches. Here's what we've learned so far:
- Part 1: To search for a Greek lexical form, simply enter the word and hit return. To keep things simple and minimize mistakes, Accordance ignores breathing marks, accents, vowel points, and case—even if you happen to enter them.
- Part 2: To make sure Accordance uses breathing marks, accents, etc. to distinguish one lexical form from another with the same spelling (such as εἰς rather than εἷς), simply put an equals sign in front of the word.
- Part 3: Explained that when you search for a Greek word, Accordance assumes you are entering the lexical form of that word and that you want to find every inflected form of that lexical form.
- Part 4: To search for a particular inflected form rather than all inflections of a lexical form, simply put quotes around it.
In Part 4, we searched for "=εἷς", using both the quotes to indicate we were looking for an inflected form and the equals sign to make sure Accordance paid attention to the breathing mark and accent.
I then asked what would happen if we removed the equals sign and just used the quotes. In this post, I want to answer that question. My hope is that it will help cement in your minds the difference between the quotation marks and the equals sign.
Go ahead and remove the equals sign from the previous search so that your search argument looks like this: "εἷς". When you hit Return, you should see something like this:
Remember that we had set up an Analysis tab to list all the inflected forms beneath each lexical form. With this search, we have found every inflected form spelled epsilon-iota-sigma, regardless of its accent or breathing mark. The presence of the quotes tells Accordance we are searching for inflected forms, but the absence of the equals sign tells Accordance to ignore the accents, breathing marks, and case. Accordance therefore finds five different inflected forms from two different lexical forms—inflected forms which differ with respect to case, accent, and breathing mark.
Thus, if you're wanting to find an inflected form with a specific spelling and accentuation, you'll want to include both the quotes (to indicate inflected form) and the equals sign (to indicate that you want the accents considered).
Now, you need to understand that such a specific search might exclude some occurrences which are accented in an unusual way. For example, look at the inflected form εἴς in the screenshot above. Normally, the preposition εἰς does not take an accent, but in one case it does take an accent because it happens to be followed by an enclitic. I'll show you how to find that rare occurrence in my next post, but for now I want you to understand that searching for exact inflected forms by including both the quotes and the equals sign may exclude cases you may not want to exclude, such as when a form is capitalized, takes an iota subscript, or is otherwise accented in an unusual way.
This last point brings us back full circle to the reason Accordance ignores all that stuff by default: it's just too easy to miss something if you always have to consider every combination of case, accent, and breathing mark. So while Accordance gives you the tools to construct very precise searches, you don't need to know those 'ace' techniques in order to use Accordance effectively.
In yesterday's post, we did a search for the lexical form εἷς and showed the various inflected forms that were found. We explained that when you search for a Greek word, Accordance assumes you are entering the lexical form of that word and that you want to find every occurrence of that word no matter how it happens to be inflected. We saw that clearly when we customized the Analysis to list all the inflected forms beneath each lexical form:
Here we see that the lexical form εἷς occurs 345 times in a variety of forms. We also see that 96 of those times, the lexical form εἷς is actually inflected as εἷς, rather than as ἓν, μία, or some other inflection.
So what if you want to find a particular inflected form? How can you narrow your search so that it finds just the form you enter and no other inflections? Simply enclose your search term in quotation marks, like this: "=εἷς." When we perform this search, we find only the 96 occurrences of the inflected form εἷς.
- To search for a Greek lexical form, simply enter the word and hit return.
- To make sure Accordance uses breathing marks and accents to distinguish one lexical form from another with the same spelling (such as εἰς rather than εἷς), simply put an equals sign in front of the word.
- To search for a particular inflected form rather than all inflections of a lexical form, simply put quotes around it.
Now, I want you to notice something about the inflected form search we just did. In this case, I used both quotation marks (to indicate an inflected search) and the equals sign (to make sure Accordance paid attention to the breathing mark and accent). Is the equals sign really necessary here? What would happen if we removed it?
I'll answer that question in my next post.
In my last couple of posts, I've been showing you how to become a searching 'ace' by searching for the Greek word εἰς. You see, there is another Greek word spelled exactly like εἰς except for the breathing mark and accent: εἷς. As I explained in the first post in this series, Accordance ignores breathing marks, accents, vowel points, and case even if you happen to enter them in your search. We do this to spare you having to get all those things right in order to do a basic search, but what if you want Accordance to pay attention to those things? In my second post, I showed that you merely need to enter an equals sign before the word in question to have Accordance consider breathing marks, accents, vowel points, and case. At the end of that post, we searched for =εἰς to find only εἰς without also finding εἷς.
In this post, I want to show you another little wrinkle. Let's start by doing the opposite of what we did last time. Let's enter =εἷς to find only the occurrences of that word. When the search is finished, choose Analysis from the Stats and Graphs pop-up to open the Analysis tab. You should now see something like this:
As you can see from the Analysis tab, this search found only the 345 occurrences of εἷς. Yet if we look at the highlighted words in the Search tab to the left, we don't see the form εἷς at all. Instead, we see words like ἓν and μία.
This is because the lexical form εἷς takes a variety of inflected forms to indicate things like gender, number, and case. If you look down at the Instant Details in the screenshot above, you can see that ἓν is the neuter singular nominative of εἷς.
This distinction between "lexical forms" and "inflected forms" is important. Basically, a lexical form is the form of a word you would typically look up in a Greek lexicon: such as the nominative singular of most nouns or the present active indicative of most verbs. When you enter a Greek word in the search entry box, Accordance assumes that you are entering a lexical form and that you want to find every occurrence of that lexical form, no matter how it happens to be inflected.
To see how many different ways the lexical form εἷς is inflected in the Greek New Testament, go to the gear menu of the Analysis tab and choose Customize Display.
This will open a dialog that lets you decide exactly what information you want the Analysis to display.
The columns in the middle of this dialog represent each word in your search. Note how they all contain the LEX item. That's why the Analysis defaults to listing every lexical form found by your search. To have the Analysis list other criteria, you simply drag the desired items into the appropriate column. Since we only searched for one word, only the first column applies here, so we'll drag an INFLECT item into the first column underneath the LEX item.
When we click OK, the Analysis will now show every inflected form that was found underneath each lexical form.
Again, be sure you understand the distinction between lexical and inflected forms. The lexical form is the dictionary form of the word which represents every inflected form. Thus, the lexical form εἷς occurs 345 times in a variety of forms. From the Analysis we see that 96 of those times, the lexical form εἷς is actually inflected as εἷς, rather than as ἓν, μία, or some other inflection.
Now, what if we want to narrow our search so that it finds only those 96 occurrences of the inflected form εἷς? How do we do that? I'll answer that question in my next post.
How often do you hold down the option key when using Accordance? Holding down this simple modifier key can open up a host of powerful features you may not have known were available to you. On Monday we showed how you can option-click the close icon of any pane, tab, or zone to close all the other panes, tabs, or zones. On Tuesday I showed how you can option-click any verse to "bookmark" it. Today I want to show how you can option-click to search for Greek or Hebrew inflected forms.
First, let's review the difference between inflected forms and lexical forms. A "lexical form" is simply the form of a word typically found in a lexicon or dictionary. When I look up the English word "ran" in a dictionary, if I find an entry at all, it will do little more than point me to the entry for the word "run." Under that "lexical form" of the word, I will find a list of other forms of the word, such as "runs," "running," "ran," etc. Thus, the lexical form of a word is that form which is typically used in a dictionary to represent every form of that word, and each variation of that word's form is known as an inflection, or "inflected form."
In Accordance, when you're looking at a grammatically-tagged Greek or Hebrew text, the words you see are "inflected forms." That is, each word has been inflected to indicate things like tense, voice, mood, gender, number, case, etc. If I am writing in English, and I want to indicate that the action of running occurred some time in the past, I will use the inflected form "ran." In the same way, Greek and Hebrew writers chose the appropriate "inflected forms" to communicate what they intended. Once again, when you look at the words in the text, you are looking at specific "inflected forms." In fact, one of the challenges of learning an ancient language is being able to identify the "lexical form" a particular "inflected form" comes from—so that you can know what the word actually means.
In a grammatically-tagged Greek or Hebrew text, scholars have actually "tagged" each word in the text with its corresponding "lexical form" and parsing information to make life easier for those of us who haven't completely mastered the languages. (Can I get an "Amen!"?) This also enables you to find every instance of any "lexical form" no matter how it has been inflected. In fact, when you search for a word in one of these texts, Accordance assumes that you want to search for the lexical form rather than a particular inflected form. Nine times out of ten, a lexical search is more helpful than an inflected search, but there are times when you want to search for a particular inflection.
For example, let's say you're reading John 6:35 in the Greek New Testament and you see the phrase ἐγώ εἰμι. You want to search for all instances of this phrase, so you select it and click the Search button on the Resource palette. (Depending on your settings, this may bring up a menu, in which case you would also select the Search item from the menu.) A new Search tab will open with ἐγώ εἰμι entered in the search field. However, because Accordance defaults to searching for lexical forms, this search is actually looking for any form of the word ἐγώ followed by any form of the word εἰμι. Consequently, the first result it finds is the phrase μού ἐστιν rather than ἐγώ εἰμι.
Is there an easy way to search for inflected forms rather than lexical forms? Of course! Simply hold down the option key when you click the Search button on the Resource palette, and Accordance will open a new Search tab with "ἐγώ εἰμι" (note the quotation marks) entered in the search field. The quotation marks tell Accordance to search for specific inflected forms rather than lexical forms, so that you find only the phrase ἐγώ εἰμι.
You can, of course, enter the quotation marks manually any time you want to do an inflected search, but when you select text and use the Search button on the Resource palette, holding down the option key will automatically set up an inflected search for you.