Accordance Blog
Aug 23, 2010 David Lang

More "Yes You Can!"

A few weeks ago, I made the claim that whenever you ask us if you can do something using Accordance, we're usually able to answer with a simple and straightforward, "Yes you can!". Not long after that, I backed that up by answering "Yes you can" to a specific challenge. A few days ago, someone posted the following question in response to that second post.

Thanks, David. This has inspired me to play around a bit with the analysis window and its options.

Is there a way to see words from a particular pericope listed in order of the frequency with which they occur in the whole NT? For instance, could one get a list of the words in Col 1:1-14 from the most rare (in the NT, not in the pericope) to the most frequently occurring? I can't quite figure out how to automate this in Accordance.

Wait for it: . . . Yes you can! And of course, it's easy to do. Here's how:

The first thing we need to do is find every word in Colossians 1:1-14. I'll be doing the search in the tagged Greek New Testament (GNT-T), but you can do it in an English translation as well. To search for every word in a passage, simply click the Words button, enter the asterisk wildcard (*) to represent any word, then use the AND and RANGE commands to limit your search to a particular passage. Both the AND and RANGE commands are listed in the Enter Command submenu of the Search menu, or you can use the keyboard shortcuts shift-command-A and shift-command-R. Your search argument should then look like this:


After doing this search, every word in Colossians 1:1-14 will be highlighted. What is the point in that? Well, having found every word, you can now analyze the words that were found or even use them as the basis of another search.

If you click the Details button and look at the Analysis tab, you'll see a listing of every word that was found and the number of times it appears. To sort these from least frequent to most frequent, simply choose Count Up from the Sort pop-up menu. Your analysis should look like this:




This is close to what the user requested, except that she wanted to see the words listed according to their frequency in the entire New Testament rather than just the passage in question. What's the difference? Well, as you can see here, the word αγαθος ("good") is only used one time in Colossians 1:1-14. Yet αγαθος is hardly a "rare" word in the Greek New Testament. To see which of these words is least common in the Greek New Testament, we will have to do a new search for each of these words in the entire New Testament!

Thankfully, we don't have to search for each of the 95 different words in Colossians 1:1-14 separately. Instead, we can use the entire list of words as the basis of a new search. To do that, duplicate the existing Search window by using the keyboard shortcut command-D. Hit the tab key once to select the entire contents of the argument entry box, then select HITS from the Enter Command submenu of the Search menu (or use the keyboard shortcut shift-command-H). If you only have the two tabs I'm describing, when you enter the HITS command, it should automatically insert the name of the tab containing your first search. If you have additional search tabs open, a dialog box will appear asking which tab's "hits" you want to use.

What does the HITS command do? As its name suggests, it lets you use all the "hits" (that is, found words) from another search as an argument in a new search. In this case, we're searching for every occurrence of each word found in Colossians 1:1-14, but since we've set no range for this search, we'll now find those words throughout the entire GNT.


When we click the Details button and look at the Analysis tab of this search, we can now Count Up to focus on the truly unusual words in Colossians 1:1-14.


While I've taken a long time to explain all this, performing this search and getting the analysis actually takes no more than a few mouse clicks. The trick is knowing that the HITS command lets you use the hits from one search as the basis for another. Learn to use the HITS command, and you'll discover many more "Can I?" questions for which the answer is . . . say it with me . . . "Yes you can!"


Aug 3, 2010 David Lang

See! I Said You Could

Last week I said that whenever you ask us if you can do something with Accordance, we usually answer with a simple and straightforward, "Yes, you can!" Of course, the danger of making such a claim is that I'm practically inviting you to test its validity. So I wasn't at all surprised to get the following "challenge" in the comments on that post:

Not a comment, but a challenge. I want to create a greek analytical lexicon arranged by dictionary form (not alphabetically) with all subsequent forms underneath it with frequencies. How do I do this w/o manually entering every word stem (6060 words)? Any help appreciated!

So can he do it? Yes he can! Better yet, it's incredibly easy to do. In fact, Helen has already spelled out the steps required in the comments on that previous post. I'll recount those steps here to provide a little more detail.

Any time you're wanting a statistical breakdown of all the words in a text (such as the tagged Greek New Testament), you need to begin by searching for every word in that text. You do that by clicking the Words button in your Search window, entering an asterisk wildcard to represent any word, and clicking the Find button. Instantly every word in the GNT-T will be highlighted.

Step 1: Search for Every Word

Now that you've found every word in the text, you can analyze every word that was found by clicking the understated Details button. A Details workspace will open, probably showing tabs for the Hits Graph and the Analysis (depending on your settings). If an Analysis tab is present, click the tab to bring it to the front. If there's no such tab open, click the Analysis button to open one.

Step 2: Open the Analysis

By default, the Analysis lists every lexical form found by your search, its English meaning, and the number of times it was found. However, you can customize the display of the Analysis to show whatever information you like. To do this, select Set Analysis Display from the Display menu (or use the keyboard shortcut command-T).

Step 3: Set Analysis Display

A dialog will open with a series of columns representing the different elements of your search. Since we only searched for one thing (the asterisk representing any word) only the first column is relevant. You can see that it currently contains only the LEX item, which is why all the lexical forms are listed. By dragging additional items into this first column, we can break our search results down by other criteria.

The person who issued the challenge wanted a listing of each "dictionary form" (that is, lexical form), with all "subsequent forms" (that is, inflected forms) listed beneath it. To accomplish this, simply drag the INFLECT item underneath the LEX item in the first column. Like this:

Add the Inflected form to the Analysis Sort

Now simply click OK to see the modified Analysis display:

Yes You Can Create an Analytical Lexicon!

Note how each lexical form is listed along with its number of occurrences. It is then further broken down by inflected form. If I'm understanding the challenge correctly, we've already achieved what was requested. But we can go further still. Let's say we go back to the Set Analysis Display and drag the TAG item between the LEX and INFLECT items. We'll then get an Analysis which looks like this:

Yes You Can Even Refine It Further

Note how each lexical form is now broken down by grammatical form, with inflected forms listed underneath. By adding the grammatical tag, I've reshuffled the inflected forms so that related forms are listed together, rather than all the inflected forms merely being listed in alphabetical order.

See, I told you most of your "Can I?" questions can be answered with a simple and straightforward, "Yes you can!" And in most cases, the method required to accomplish your goal is simple and straightforward as well.

Oh, and while we're on the subject of creating a Greek analytical lexicon, you should know that William Mounce has already done that work for you. His Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament, as well as his grammar and morphology, are all available in one of our Zondervan packages. Can you purchase them? "Yes you can!" ;-)