As I mentioned yesterday, I'm teaching my family Greek using Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek grammar. We're now at the point where they're learning to parse first and second declension nouns, and Mounce suggests that we do so by naming the case first, followed by the number, and then the gender. That is different from the default order in Accordance. If you hover over a noun and look at the Instant Details, you'll see the parsing listed by gender, then number, then case.
In order to avoid the confusion that might be caused by these different parsing orders, I decided to have Accordance follow Mounce's suggested order. It will require a bit of adjustment on my part, since I'm used to Accordance's default order, but I figure that's better than making my wife and kids switch between two slightly different methods of parsing.
Thankfully, customizing the parsing in Accordance is easy. Just open the Preferences and choose Arrange Tags in the list of settings. You'll see a list of tags for Greek and for Hebrew.
To rearrange the order in which any given tag is listed, just drag it up or down the list. I want case to appear before gender and number, so I'll drag it up in the list above gender. I also want gender to appear after number, so I'll make that change as well. Since the gender, number, and case of participles is handled separately, I'll rearrange those tags as well. When I'm finished, my new tag order looks like this:
Now I just need to click OK to save my changes, and the new parsing order will be used in the Instant Details.
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!
For the past several posts, I've been showing how you can customize the appearance of the parsing window to show specific information or to parse certain parts of speech. But what if you want to parse specific words or forms in a passage? Believe it or not, you can do that too.
For example, let's say you're using Basics of Biblical Greek, and you're faithfully learning your vocabulary. You want to parse all the words in a passage that you don't yet know, but you want to force yourself to recognize the lemma, parsing, and meaning of the words you've already learned.
As we'll see in a moment, the Parsing window has an option to Parse only the Hit words which have been found by a search. So if we want to parse every word except our vocabulary words, we simply need to construct a search to find all those words.
When you're searching the Greek New Testament by Words, simply entering an asterisk wildcard will find every word in your text. While it may seem silly to search for every word, doing so can be extremely useful when you want to use Accordance's various statistical tools to analyze a passage. See this post from earlier this year for an example of that.
In this case, we want to find (and parse) every word except our vocabulary words, so we'll start with the asterisk, then exclude words by entering them after a minus sign. Like this:
These are the words from the first two vocab lists in Mounce, and you can see that I've just strung them all together after the asterisk. Because the definite article is also included in those vocabulary lists from Mounce, I've excluded that part of speech by entering an at sign (@), followed by a minus sign (-), followed by the [ARTICLE] tag. When I perform this search, every word except those I've excluded is highlighted.
I can then select the text I want to parse, click the Parse button on the Resource palette, and use command-T to open up the display options for the Parsing window. In the Parse pop-up menu, I'll choose Hit words only and click OK. This is what I get for John 1:1:
Obviously, as the number of vocab words you want to exclude grows, the search we used here will become increasingly unwieldy. At that point, instead of excluding each individual word, you might use the COUNT command to exclude words appearing more than a certain number of times, or you might exclude specific forms like nominative and accusative nouns. The possibilities are as endless as Accordance's powerful search capabilities allow, and however you choose to construct your search, you can parse only those words that are found.
Yesterday, I showed how you could customize the appearance of the parsing window to show only the specific information you want for each word parsed. But that's just the beginning of what you can do with the parsing window. What if you don't want parsing information for every word you select?
For example, let's say you're using a grammar like Basics of Biblical Greek which does not even begin teaching the Greek verb until Chapter 15 (roughly equivalent to the start of a second semester). You want to reinforce your knowledge of the nouns you've been learning by trying to translate relatively simple passages from the Gospel of John. Yet even the simplest passages contain verbs, and you need help knowing how to translate those. You want to select your passage and get a parsing window which only displays the parsing information for the verbs, thereby providing the help you need while forcing you to deal with the nouns from memory.
Once you've selected your passage and clicked the Parse button on the Resource palette, use the keyboard shortcut Command-T to access the various display settings.
Change the Parse pop-up menu near the top of the dialog from All words to Parts of speech. Now click the checkboxes at the bottom of the dialog for the parts of speech you want to be displayed. In this case, we'll just check Verb. Your parsing window should now look something like this:
Cool and useful as this is, the Parsing window offers even greater power. Look for more in an upcoming post.
Last week, I showed how you can parse a selection of text using the Parse button on the Resource palette. In that post I confessed my sins from seminary Greek and promised to show you the power of the Parsing window.
The key to accessing the power of the Parsing window is the key to accessing all kinds of hidden power throughout other parts of the program. It's a keyboard shortcut so useful that I have repeatedly asserted that it is the one keyboard shortcut every Accordance user must learn. It's command-T, which will bring up the various display options for the currently selected zone, tab, or pane. Once you've selected some text and clicked the Parse button, use command-T to bring up the following dialog:
As you can see, there are a lot of options here. You can adjust the font size, the way tags are displayed (as full words, abbreviations, or cryptic tag codes), which words are displayed, and what information you want displayed.
For example, let's say you want parsing help for every word, but you want to hide the lexical form so that you can work at recognizing each word's lemma. Simply uncheck Lexical form in the middle of the dialog, then click OK.
Or let's say you're trying to learn your vocabulary, so you decide to have the lexical form displayed but choose to hide the English gloss:
As you can see, the display options for the Parsing window let you tailor it to your specific needs. And that's just the beginning. I'll have even more to show you in a future post.
I have a confession to make. When I was taking Greek in seminary, I didn't always come to class fully prepared. I know, it's hard to believe—especially in light of how consistent I've been with the blog this week—but I'm afraid it's all too true. There were times when I came to class without my translation assignments completed, and I would sit through class just hoping I wouldn't be called on to read my translation or parse something. I'm sure none of you reading this can relate.
On my desktop at home, I had Accordance and could get quick parsing help via the Instant Details, but laptops were prohibitively expensive back then, and even if I had one, my professor probably would have frowned on my using it in class. Then I found a poor man's solution to getting help in class: the Parse button on the Resource palette.
The Parse button gives you the parsing information displayed in the Instant Details for every word you select. So on those days when I didn't get my assignments done, I would select every word in the assigned passage, click the Parse button, and print the contents of the Parsing window.
Once I discovered this Accordance equivalent of Cliff's Notes, Greek class became much less stressful:
"Mr. Lang, would you please parse ἐκάλεσεν?"
"Sure thing! It's the third person singular aorist active indicative of καλέω."
Oh how self-assured and confident I appeared from that day forward!
The other day someone asked a question on our forums that reminded me of the insanely great power of the Parsing window. Far more than a crib sheet for unprepared students, the Parsing window can be customized in a variety of ways. I'll show you some of those in the next couple of posts.
Of course, any professors reading this should know that I do not condone this sort of behavior among your students! ;-)