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OpenText.org SAGNT

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#1 cwconrad



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Posted 14 December 2005 - 06:03 AM

I'm wondering whether Accordance has explored the matter of incorporating the OpenText SAGNT into a module for Mac users. I have watched with interest as Rick Brannan of Logos Software has explained the module they plan to make available early next year, but I'm not altogether happy with their implementation of it. The demo models available at the OpenText.org site are impressive, in my view, especially in that the analysis is in terms of modern linguistic categories drawn from Halliday's Systemic Functional Grammar, and that seems to me far better than using the syntactic categories from traditional grammar, particularly such artificially sub-categorized pigeon-holes as devised in Wallace's GGBB. I think this would enable searches for syntactic patterns that might be more useful than what can now be accomplished. As it is, Accordance software allows for syntactic analysis by bringing the elements together in a list that one can annotate and employ for whatever one's preferred scheme of diagramming; that's helpful but I think that what SAGNT is doing goes considerably beyond that. There's also the "Lexenham" program of syntactic analysis that Logos Software is working on; I'm far less impressed by that as I am generally unimpressed by Logos Software's insistent interjection of interlinear translation items into the mix, something that hinders rather than helps someone who knows Greek and is most likely to use the tool for research. On the other hand, I suppose there might not be enoough demand for such a tool to make it worth the effort to develop it -- but if that's the case, why is Logos doing it? I want it for a Mac in my preferred software package!

#2 Helen Brown

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 06:40 PM

We are aware of and are following the announcements from Logos about the syntactical tagging and searching capabilities that they are developing. We understand that, despite its name, the OpenText project was supported financially by Logos who therefore have exclusive rights to the commercial use of the database for an extended period.

It is, of course, our desire to offer our users every valuable database and feature that we possibly can. We are evaluating the question of whether syntactical tagging is really going to benefit users. Is it too subjective or uncertain to assist researchers? Would the beginner be unable to look beyond the tagging and form his/her own conclusions? We would very much value the feedback of you, our users, especially those who are aware of these recent developments.

We will be happy to explore the issue of syntactical tagging of the databases, but since it would involve a lot of programming, and we have many other exciting ideas to implement, we have not yet committed Accordance to this project.
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#3 cwconrad



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Posted 14 December 2005 - 08:24 PM

I was unaware that Logos had supported the OpenText project, but it doesn't surprise me. I don't like what I see of a sort of interlinear translation associated with it in the Logos interface for it, but I do like the fact that the syntactical tagging is done in terms of Hallidayan grammatical categories rather than in traditional categories. Since OpenText's public announcement suggests a commitment to "open source" ideals, I hope that what they're doing will continue to be available at their web-site as it develops further. The chief value I see in the project is the opportunity to search for syntactic patterns much more readily than one can with the existing software capacities of Accordance. On the other hand, while this would be very useful for research purposes, it might not be worth that much to even the average user of the tagged Greek text.

Well, as I have already noted, I doubt that it will be of great benefit to ordinary users. It must be admitted too that even the tagged Greek NT can give the illusion to a student of Greek that he/she doesn't really need to learn the grammar or acquire real reading knowledge. But to a researcher the search ability is invaluable.

I guess my question is answered; I couldn't see duplicating the work that the OpenText people have done, but I wish it could be available for Accordance users. It would also be nice to have the unabridged LSj Greek lexicon available, but I suppose the rights to that are exclusive too.

#4 Martin Shields

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 05:14 AM

It would appear that Logos will be using Emdros to power their syntactical search functionality. Emdros can be compiled and run on a Mac (I have it running here), and I understand that Mac binaries of Emdros and the Emdros Query tool will soon be available directly (rather than having to compile them yourself). The hard bit is getting the data, but if OpenText is truly open that may also be possible.

SESB already provides some syntactical search capabilities for the OT using the WIVU database, so in combination with OpenText we may have the entire Bible covered.

ISTM that the searching morphologically tagged texts is now quite well covered by the available software, and syntactically tagged texts are perhaps the next great leap forward.

#5 Steve Raine

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 03:57 PM

This looks like a remarkable tool to add to the Accordance arsenal.
I don't think it can be ignored: potential for Scriptural study is too vast.


(btw-- Safari shut down on me again while trying to compose this.)

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