If you’ve invested the time to learn Greek, Accordance is the Bible Software for you! We have a host of Greek texts and resources—and an amazing set of search tools. In this podcast Dr. J covers the basic kinds of Greek searches, modifying those searches with search commands and symbols, and how to type in Greek.
See more episodes of Lighting the Lamp on our Podcast Page!
Searching the Bible for verses, words, and topics is a fundamental study technique. Accordance makes it faster and more accurate. Join Dr. J as he demonstrates how to do all of these kinds of searches—and how to check your results.
See more episodes of Lighting the Lamp on our Podcast Page!
This week, I've been encouraging you to explore the various options in the Search menu and its corresponding contextual menu. Today I want to look at the most obvious place to start when constructing a search: with selecting the words you want to find. Most of the time, of course, you're simply going to type the words you have in mind, but sometimes it is helpful to select from a list of all the words in a text. At those times, you'll want to choose the Enter Words… menu item.
When you do, a dialog will open with a list of every word contained in the text.
The cursor is automatically placed in an entry field labeled "Go to." If you begin to type in this box, the list will automatically be scrolled to the word closest to the letters you type. For example, type L-O-V and the list will be scrolled to the word "Love." You can then single-click any words in the list to add them to the list labeled "Words to enter."
Here you can see I've clicked the various forms of "love": "love," "loved," "loves," etc. When I'm finished, I can simply click OK to close the dialog box. (I could also double-click the last word I select.)
The words I chose from the Select Words dialog will now be entered into my search field as a series of words separated by commas and enclosed in parentheses. This search syntax (which you can also type yourself) will look for every occurrence of any of those words. It's essentially the same as using the OR command between each word.
There's still one part of the Select Words dialog I haven't explained yet: the Use exact word checkbox. I'll tell you what that is for in my next post.
In Monday's post, I explained how everything you need to fill in a blank search entry field is clearly listed and readily available in the Search menu. I encouraged you to explore the options in that menu by borrowing the tag-line from an old spaghetti sauce commercial: "It's in There!"
In upcoming posts, we'll stir the sauce and take a closer look at some of the items that are "in there." But before we do, I want to point out that these options are also available in the contextual menu that appears whenever you right-click in the search entry field. (Mac users can also Control-click to bring up the contextual menu.)
If you're more prone to right-click than to go to the menu bar, remember this tip whenever you need help constructing a search.
Some time ago, the television ads for a brand of spaghetti sauce used the tag line, "It's in There!" The ads would typically revolve around an Italian father or mother chastising someone for cooking spaghetti sauce from a jar, and they would begin listing the ingredients of a true homemade sauce. Each ingredient would then be answered with something like, "Look, Pop, it's in there!"
When it comes to Accordance, the "It's in There!" slogan could easily be applied to the Search menu at the top of the screen. Everything you need to fill in an Accordance search entry field can be found right there in that menu.
Need to choose from a list of Words, Key Numbers, Lexical Forms, or Inflected Forms? Open the Search menu and you'll find "It's in There!"
Want a list of every available Search command, like AND, OR, NOT, and WITHIN? Open the Search menu and go to the Enter Command submenu. "It's in There!"
How about a list of every available symbol that can be used to modify a search, such as the asterisk wildcard or the plus sign for root searches? Even if you can't remember all those symbols, you can just go to the Enter Symbol submenu of the Search menu. You'll find whatever symbol you need is "in there!"
And of course, we would never make you memorize arcane abbreviations for Greek and Hebrew grammatical tags. Just go to the Enter Tag submenu of the Search menu and choose the appropriate part of speech (Noun, Verb, etc.). In the dialog box that opens, choose the grammatical characteristics you want and click OK. The appropriate tag will be inserted into your search entry box. Even when it's time to do complex Greek and Hebrew searches, just look to the Search menu and you'll find "It's in There!"
Whenever you need to perform a search, and you're not quite sure how to construct it, try looking to the Search menu and experimenting with some of the options you find "in there." You'll soon find yourself becoming a power user, just because you knew where to look.
Remember: the Search menu—"It's in There!"
As a writer, I have often known the mockery of the blank page. It glares at you, laughing at your struggles to fill it with something meaningful.
As Accordance users, we are constantly presented with a blank search box, ever ready to be put to use. Experienced users know exactly what to do with it, but new users may experience something of the mockery I feel when trying to fill a blank page. They may conceive of a search they would like to do, but how to construct it? They know Accordance is capable of much more than simple word and phrase searches, but how do they go about learning all the Boolean commands, wildcard symbols, and other tools that make such power-searching possible?
Thankfully, everything you need to fill in that blank search box—and I mean everything—is always readily available through one of the menus at the top of the screen. Can you guess which one?
As I'm sure you guessed, the aptly named Search menu presents you with everything you need to fill in the blank. Not sure what word to search for? Choose Enter Words…. Want to search a Bible with Key numbers for a particular key number? Choose Enter Key Numbers…. If your search text is a grammatically tagged Greek or Hebrew text, these menu items will appear as Enter Lexical Forms… and Enter Inflected Forms….
Beyond simply helping you enter words and key numbers, the Search menu also includes submenus listing every search command (AND, OR, NOT, etc.), every wildcard symbol, and (in the case of tagged texts) every grammatical and syntactical tag. You don't have to memorize these options or go digging through documentation even to realize they're available; just go to the Search menu and browse through the submenus. Not sure what a command or symbol does, but want to try it out? Simply select it from the menu to insert it into the search box.
By making all these options readily available, Accordance does its best to eliminate the potential mockery of the blank search box. And while there are still aspects of these commands and symbols which need to be learned, you always have them listed in a convenient place whenever you need them.
If you've never paid much attention to the Search menu, you now understand it's importance. Just remember to look there whenever you need help filling in the blank.
In yesterday's post, I offered you Greek students a method for garnering extra credit from your professors: Approach them on Friday and ask for extra credit if you spend the weekend finding all the hapax legomena in the Greek New Testament. Then do a simple search in Accordance, open an Analysis tab, and print! (Be sure to look tired and disheveled when you turn it in on Monday.)
Now, you Hebrew students could use extra credit too, so far be it from me to leave you out. Here's a search that is sure to impress your first semester Hebrew prof. In Hebrew, there's a class of verbs known as geminates. These are verbs in which the second and third letters of the lexical form are the same. Perhaps the most famous example would be הלל, "to praise." Why not ask your professor if you can spend the weekend putting together a list of every geminate verb in the Hebrew Bible? It sounds appropriately difficult—like the kind of thing only the most ambitious Hebrew student would attempt.
Now, to define this search, start by entering three question marks in the search entry box. The question mark, like the asterisk, is a wildcard symbol which can stand for any letter or number. Yet where the asterisk can represent any number of characters, the question mark can only represent a single character. For example, if I do an English search for love*, Accordance will find any word that begins with "love," no matter how many other letters it has: words like "loves," "loved," "lover," "lovers," "lovely," etc. If, on the other hand, I search for love?, Accordance will find only words that have a single letter after "love", such as "loves" and "lover." See the difference?
Because each question mark stands for a single character, whatever that character happens to be, entering three question marks into the search field means you want to find only three-letter words.
Now we need to specify that the third letter must be the same as the second letter. To do that, place parentheses after the third question mark. (Be sure to enter the right parenthesis followed by the left, since everything is reversed in Hebrew). Inside the parentheses, place an equals sign followed by the number 2. Your search argument should now look like this: (2=)???.
Placing parentheses after a question mark lets you specify which characters that question mark can be. For example, b?(ae)t will find "bat" and "bet," but not "bit" or "but," since we have specified that the question mark can only be an "a" or an "e." Returning to our Hebrew search, placing (2=) after the third question mark means that it can be any character, so long as it is the same character as that found by the second question mark. In other words, the second and third letters can be any letter, but they must be the same.
Now all we need to do is specify that the word we're searching for must be a verb. To do that, make sure the cursor is blinking to the right of the search argument, then choose Verb… from the Enter Command submenu of the Search menu. A dialog will appear enabling you to select specific grammatical details, but since we want to find any verbs, just click OK to dismiss the dialog. Accordance will then add the Verb tag to your search argument, and all you need to do is hit Return to perform the search.
As sophisticated as this search is, your results should be instantaneous. Now just choose Analysis from the Stats and Graphs icon to get an alphabetical list of all the geminate verbs in the Hebrew Bible, and print it out!
Just be warned: while this search may help you garner some extra credit, it may also raise your prof's expectations for you. You might find that he now treats you as a star pupil. And we all know what that means: you can probably count on getting called on more often in class!
Whenever I teach Accordance training seminars (I'll be doing two in Washington D.C. and Williamsburg next month), I get to show some really cool Greek and Hebrew searches. Because the seminar attendees can range from brand new users who don't know Greek and Hebrew to students taking their first class to Bible scholars who work with it every day, it can be challenging to show how some of the more esoteric searches are useful. So I sometimes will joke that the beginning students can use these searches to garner extra credit.
For example, in showing how to use the COUNT command, I'll search the tagged Greek New Testament for [COUNT 1]. (You'll find the COUNT command in the Enter Command submenu of the Search menu.) This powerful search finds every word which only appears one time in the Greek New Testament.
These rarely used words are known as hapax legomena, and in the days before Accordance, there was no easy way to find them.
Once we've done this search, I then have the seminar attendees select Analysis from the Stats & Graphs icon to get an alphabetized list of all NT hapax legomena.
All this takes no more than a few seconds.
It's then that I show the "practical" value of such a search. I tell all the beginning Greek students to approach their professor on a Friday and say, "Prof, if I spend the weekend finding all the hapax legomena in the Greek New Testament, can I get some extra credit?" Then I instruct them to go home, do the search and analysis I just showed, print out the analysis tab, and bring that in on Monday morning. If they really want to sell it, they should look particularly worn out and disheveled when they turn it in.
Now, this might have been more likely to work in the days before Bible software was capable of advanced research, but even today, it might work if your professor doesn't happen to use Accordance. If he uses something else, maybe he won't suspect that it only took you a few seconds!
Tomorrow, I'll give you Hebrew students a search you can use to garner extra credit.
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.