In Monday’s post, I hinted that those who stopped by the Accordance booth might get a sneak preview of a new feature slated for the next version of Accordance. Of course, none of you likes it when I give such cryptic hints, and I received several comments and tweets asking for more information. I think word has generally leaked out, but in case you haven’t heard, we were demonstrating the ability to search syntactically tagged Greek and Hebrew texts.

All of the tagged texts we currently have available have been morphologically tagged, which means that scholars have looked at the form of each word and tagged it as aorist, or nominative, or possessive, or whatever other grammatical categories can be derived from examining a word’s morphology. Syntax refers to the relationship among various words in their context. For example, is that accusative noun the direct object of the verb or the object of a preposition? By defining those kinds of relationships, a syntactically tagged text can make it easier to find cases where a particular noun is used as the subject of a particular verb, or where a verb takes a particular object.

We’ve got several syntactical databases in development, and we were showing a very early prototype of syntactical searching at the show. At this point, I can’t tell you much, and since the interface is still being tweaked, I can’t show you any screenshots either. I can tell you that syntactical categories have been added to the existing Greek and Hebrew construct windows, so syntactical searching will enjoy the same drag-and-drop simplicity Accordance users have been enjoying since version 1.0.

We don’t generally show off upcoming features like this. Even with permission to do so, I only demoed the feature two or three times. The vast majority of demos I did were to first-time Accordance purchasers, and they were too blown away by Accordance’s existing features to ask about what’s next. If you wanted a sneak preview, you really had to follow the advice on our sales flyer and “ask about it.” Even at the Bible Software Shootout, our presenter had an opportunity to mention our development of syntactical databases but chose not to, stating simply that we don’t yet have them. If you were one of the few to preview the feature, you got to enjoy a rare glimpse into the future of Accordance.