PDA

View Full Version : Hebrew Morphology Search



Jud Davis
05-17-2010, 04:22 PM
Does anyone know how to find places in the Hebrew Bible where a plural noun is the subject of a singular verb (like Elohim and bara in Genesis 1)?

Adelphos
05-17-2010, 06:12 PM
Does anyone know how to find places in the Hebrew Bible where a plural noun is the subject of a singular verb (like Elohim and bara in Genesis 1)?

Set your search version to WTM and then see if this is what you're looking for --

'*@n??p* *@v*

Notice the apostrohe at the beginning. You also may want to set your search limit to a certain chapter to speed up the search. You could do this, for example --

l gen

which restricts the search to Genesis. To clear the limits, type l (el) on the command line and press enter.

ISalzman
05-17-2010, 11:04 PM
Set your search version to WTM and then see if this is what you're looking for --

'*@n??p* *@v*

Notice the semi-colon at the beginning. You also may want to set your search limit to a certain chapter to speed up the search. You could do this, for example --

l gen

which restricts the search to Genesis. To clear the limits, type l (el) on the command line and press enter.

Hey Scott, I'm not questioning your answer there; my understanding of it may be faulty. So, to clear up any confusion I might have:

1. When you say "Notice the semi-colon at the beginning," do you not mean the apostrophe which denotes a phrase search?

2. In your search syntax, it appears that there is nothing to require the verb to be singular.

3. Since you made it a phrase search, your example will only yield results where the noun precedes the verb, which is not the rule in biblical Hebrew.

4. You did not allow for any intervening words or particles between the two terms.

Please, please don't take this as a criticism of your method. I'm just trying to learn to do these searches better myself. So, in effect, I'm basically asking you if I am correct with what I surmise.

Thanks Scott.

Irving

Mark Eddy
05-17-2010, 11:31 PM
Adelphos can answer for himself tomorrow, but his search was lacking some necessary information. Here is a more complete string with WTM as the search version:
'*@n??p* *@v?[pivcawq]??s*

The order is correct, since Hebrew is backward, so this search finds every plural noun which is preceded by a singular verb, the "normal" Hebrew word order.
But this is not the only Hebrew word order. You are correct that the subject does not always immediately follow the verb. And sometimes it precedes a verb.
This search will not tell you that the noun following the verb is the subject of the verb. E.g. in Gen 1:10 two of the 3 combinations of singular verb+plural noun include the subject, but one of them includes the object, since the subject of the second verb in the verse was previously stated, and therefore not repeated.

This sort of search will only allow the user to find examples of what he is looking for. It will not be able to tell him if he has found all the examples, and it will show some "false positives," because it is not looking for "plural subject + singular verb". It is only looking for "plural noun + singular verb". No database in BibleWorks tags nouns as "subject" or "object." The user has to determine that from context. This search will give many examples of what the user wants to find. But in order to find all of them, a number of extra searches would be needed. E.g. the following would find all strings of singular verb+any word+plural noun:
'*@n??p* *@* *@v?[pivcawq]??s*
The order could be changed to find any plural nouns which precede the singular verb.
If the user wants a fairly complete list of verses, the Verse List Manager should be used. After the list is made, any "false positives" can be removed from the verse list. And secondary lists could be made (e.g. where the word order is reversed or words intervene). Then the could cull the secondary list for "false positives," and finally the lists could be merged.
But you won't get "scientific accuracy" unless you want to spend many hours of time, considering all possible combinations.
However, if you just want to find lots of examples, the first search I gave above will give you 1205 verses to look through. There are plenty of examples there.
In Christ,
Mark Eddy

Adelphos
05-18-2010, 09:12 AM
Yes, I was offering a simple search, and I was aware of its limitations. I kept it simple because of the way the question was worded, and that's why I asked "see if this is what you want", i.e., I didn't want to provide a complicated search. IOW, my search finds his example of bara and elohim.

Mark's search is obviously much more comprehensive and accurate, but it is also much more complicated. Bottom line, I didn't want to overwhelm a new user with a complicated string. And yes, Irving, you are correct, I meant apostrophe instead of semi-colon, which I have now corrected.

ISalzman
05-18-2010, 10:42 AM
Adelphos can answer for himself tomorrow, but his search was lacking some necessary information. Here is a more complete string with WTM as the search version:
'*@n??p* *@v?[pivcawq]??s*

The order is correct, since Hebrew is backward, so this search finds every plural noun which is preceded by a singular verb, the "normal" Hebrew word order.

Okay, that is good to know. In other words, a search of a Hebrew-based database (WTM, WTT, etc.) will read the Command Line from right to left? Even though the apostrophe is placed to the extreme left of the search term?



But this is not the only Hebrew word order.



Admittedly. But Verb-Subject is the more common word order in the Hebrew. When that order is broken, we have a syntactical clue that the author is doing something out of the norm. As an example, Gen 3:1 starts with a Vav + Subject + Qatal verb ( וְהַנָּחָשׁ֙ הָיָ֣ה עָר֔וּם). The syntax of the clause is not advancing the narrative. Vayiqtol verbal forms are typically what advance the narratives. Rather, the author is giving us vital background information.




You are correct that the subject does not always immediately follow the verb. And sometimes it precedes a verb.
This search will not tell you that the noun following the verb is the subject of the verb. E.g. in Gen 1:10 two of the 3 combinations of singular verb+plural noun include the subject, but one of them includes the object, since the subject of the second verb in the verse was previously stated, and therefore not repeated.

This sort of search will only allow the user to find examples of what he is looking for. It will not be able to tell him if he has found all the examples, and it will show some "false positives," because it is not looking for "plural subject + singular verb". It is only looking for "plural noun + singular verb". No database in BibleWorks tags nouns as "subject" or "object." The user has to determine that from context.

By the way, do you know if BibleWorks has any plans afoot to eventually offer a syntactically tagged database in the future?

ISalzman
05-18-2010, 10:52 AM
By the way, for Mark and Scott (and for anyone else who would care to chime in), intuitively, why would a simple concept like wanting to find all examples in the bible of a plural subject with a singular verb be so difficult to create a search for? It strikes me that bible software should be able to implement something like that no sweat. I know, I am not a programmer. It is easy for someone like me to say that. But what could be done on the programming end of things to make searches like this not so complicated? I assume bible study software is evolving and growing. Perhaps the next generation of bible software will be even more intuitive and user-friendly so as to be able to makes searches like this one child's play? Thoughts?

By the way, this post is not intended as a criticism or critique of the status quo.

Dale A. Brueggemann
05-18-2010, 10:59 AM
...why would a simple concept like wanting to find all examples in the bible of a plural subject with a singular verb be so difficult to create a search for? .... what could be done on the programming end of things to make searches like this not so complicated? I assume bible study software is evolving and growing.

It's not a programming issue, it's a database authorial issue. If you, or someone else, would be willing to produce a syntactical database to work alongside our grammatical database, BW would probably implement syntactical searches in quick order, if your provided it to BW at a reasonable price so they could include it in their base price package. I say, "Go for it!" I've been wanting syntactical searching for a long time.

ISalzman
05-18-2010, 11:07 AM
It's not a programming issue, it's a database authorial issue. If you, or someone else, would be willing to produce a syntactical database to work alongside our grammatical database, BW would probably implement syntactical searches in quick order....

Understood. That's why I asked in a post above if there were any plans afoot to add or create a syntactically tagged database in the future. Are there any currently existing syntactical databases that could be licensed by BW and added to the program? For example, I don't know if Andersen-Forbes has an exclusive relationship with other bible software platforms, but could their database be licensed by BW and incorporated into the program? I believe Accordance also has a syntactically tagged database. As opposed to recreating the wheel, is there anything currently out there that could be adopted by BW?

Michael Hanel
05-18-2010, 11:32 AM
Understood. That's why I asked in a post above if there were any plans afoot to add or create a syntactically tagged database in the future. Are there any currently existing syntactical databases that could be licensed by BW and added to the program? For example, I don't know if Andersen-Forbes has an exclusive relationship with other bible software platforms, but could their database be licensed by BW and incorporated into the program? I believe Accordance also has a syntactically tagged database. As opposed to recreating the wheel, is there anything currently out there that could be adopted by BW?

I don't know that there has been an "official" answer to these questions, but based on their actions in other places, the BW people generally do not have problems with using other people's databases (i.e. they will not attempt to re-invent the wheel if stuff already exists out there). The problem however could be that other companies, if they develop the stuff, do not want to license it out to others because it helps them keep their market edge. (Suppose Brand X makes a new database for their program, it is in their business interests to keep that license to themselves so they can say this product is unique to our software.) The other possibility is that the database is developed by a third-party (i.e. not a Bible software company) and theoretically it should be easy for them to license it out to multiple companies, but this is not always the case (see for instance the talk of trying to get the NA27 apparatus, among others from the German Bible Society).

Also consider that costs are an issue. It, in fact, may be that BibleWorks could get any one of these, but the costs were more than BW thought was fair, so they turned it down. But my point is, I know people have suggested that BW get syntactic databases, but they have not said whether this is in the near future or not. Generally BW hasn't talked about things that they have coming until it's a sure-thing and they also generally don't talk about "failed negotiations" which tend to incite more spite than benefit.


Apart from business matters though, I've seen a few different syntactic databases and this work still seems in its infancy (which is not to say it's not useful) with no clear models of tagging because there are different linguistic theories at work. It's so much easier to tag a text morphologically because there's a lot less debate whether a noun is a nominative or accusative, but once you start talking about what kind of phrase a word is or to which clause a modifier belongs, you're getting into muddy waters. So in the future I see that there will be more syntactic databases than currently exist, which at least in my mind is a good enough reason for BW not to bet the farm on any one. Try to acquire one if possible, but if not, look for open doors in the future.

ISalzman
05-18-2010, 11:41 AM
So in the future I see that there will be more syntactic databases than currently exist, which at least in my mind is a good enough reason for BW not to bet the farm on any one. Try to acquire one if possible, but if not, look for open doors in the future.

Or, how about acquiring one now while keeping an eye out for improved databases in the future?

Thanks for a good post.

Adelphos
05-18-2010, 11:58 AM
...The problem however could be that other companies, if they develop the stuff, do not want to license it out to others because it helps them keep their market edge...

Actually, my problem is the exact opposite. I have a Hebrew and Greek database that returns "Messiah" or "Jesus" in every search, no matter how constructed, but I can't get anybody to buy it from me. :)

Michael Hanel
05-18-2010, 12:14 PM
Or, how about acquiring one now while keeping an eye out for improved databases in the future?

Thanks for a good post.

Irving, your idea is good too, but I just assume by the fact that I haven't heard anything that there isn't one available to acquire. To my knowledge, only the PC competitor has syntactic databases. The Mac competitor is building their own. This alone seems to tell me that there are not syntactic databases available to acquire. One reason I continue to support BW despite other programs having "more stuff" is because BW generally is more than willing to let others use resources it develops (obviously for a reasonable cost), whereas the other companies seem (to me anyway) to be far more restrictive on what they develop. The laborer is worthy of his wages to be sure, but BW seems more ministry-minded than business-minded.

ISalzman
05-18-2010, 12:31 PM
Thanks Michael. Agreed.

Adelphos
05-18-2010, 12:38 PM
...The laborer is worthy of his wages to be sure, but BW seems more ministry-minded than business-minded.

I know a way to get around that.

You see, the success of the ministry allows the ministry to continue to offer its wares, even if it has to compromise on issues in order to be successful. The success of the ministry is everything, for without the ministry no gospel could be offered at all, even a watered-down gospel. In short, the success of the ministry overrides the pesky little details concerning matters of truth and biblical sobriety.

Oh, wait! Most ministries have already adopted that mindset. Never mind.

bkMitchell
05-18-2010, 07:53 PM
Or, how about acquiring one now while keeping an eye out for improved databases in the future?

Don't tell me you already forgot the:
Westminster Hebrew Syntax

"The Westminster Hebrew Syntax is a new database project that has been in development for the past five years, and is nearly ready for distribution. Syntax is the analysis of whole thoughts, clauses, and their parts, phrases. Syntax, far more than the study of individual words, is the study of the meaning of the text." (link) (http://www.grovescenter.org/GC/projects/westminster-hebrew-syntax)

Example for a linguistic tree in this database (link) (http://www.grovescenter.org/GC/projects/westminster-hebrew-syntax/TreeEditorRu13.jpg/view)
WHS Tracker: This database tracks all changes made to the Westminster Hebrew Syntax database(link) (http://www.grovescenter.org/GC/syntaxissues)

ISalzman
05-18-2010, 08:48 PM
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=3]Don't tell me you already forgot the:
Westminster Hebrew Syntax



Well, now that's an excellent question. In common parlance, to "forget" something includes the idea of having known - or known about - the thing in the first place. I cannot recall ever having known about this database in the first place. So, technically, I guess that would get me off the hook for forgetting about it. But now that you bring the database to my attention, I have bookmarked the site. Brian, do you think they would make the database available to BW?

Michael Hanel
05-18-2010, 09:52 PM
Well, now that's an excellent question. In common parlance, to "forget" something includes the idea of having known - or known about - the thing in the first place. I cannot recall ever having known about this database in the first place. So, technically, I guess that would get me off the hook for forgetting about it. But now that you bring the database to my attention, I have bookmarked the site. Brian, do you think they would make the database available to BW?

Not that I completely despair, but I haven't heard any updates on this and it's been quite a while. See here (http://bibleandtech.blogspot.com/2008/04/westminster-hebrew-syntax-more-on.html).

bkMitchell
05-18-2010, 09:57 PM
Brian, do you think they would make the database available to BW?

If, by 'they' you mean the J. Alan Groves Center for Advanced Biblical Research formerly known as the Westminster Hebrew Institute. Then, I would answer in the affirmative.
According, to their website They currently provide their morphological database to:

Accordance by Oak Tree Software (Mac); BART by SIL/Wycliffe (Win); BibleWorks by Hermeneutika (Win)(sic); Logos by Logos Research Systems (Win); and WordSearch by iExalt Electronic Publishing (Win).

And, one can imagine, when they(Westminster) are finally ready to release their syntax database they will again provide their services to Bibleworks as well as everyone else.

Also, since they are Orthodox Presbyterian, and Bibleworks seems to have a following in Presbyterian seminaries as well as being very popular at Westmister Theological Seminary(and for obvious reason) it is likely they would have already thought about Bibleworks. Figuratively, speaking I would bet BibleWorks will be the first commercial software they test it on, if they have not done so already.

However, it will probably be up to BibleWorks to produce a module or incorporate it into BibleWorks, once Westmister has finally released the database for licensing.

bkMitchell
05-18-2010, 10:23 PM
Not that I completely despair, but I haven't heard any updates on this and it's been quite a while. See here (http://bibleandtech.blogspot.com/2008/04/westminster-hebrew-syntax-more-on.html).


Of course, your link(of blog post from 2008) is referencing the older information from 2007 found below. You will notice that they speak of 'a' project coming to completion in 2007, but that is not about they syntax database as a whole but they Chinese language project: http://www.wts.edu/resources/alangroves/grovesprojects.html
" essential element of this tool is a “map” between biblical Hebrew syntactic structures and the syntactic structures of the target language – in this case, Mandarin Chinese. This project is entering its final phases (October, 2007)"


If you want an update you should look here:
http://www.grovescenter.org/GC/projects (http://www.grovescenter.org/GC/projects/westminster-hebrew-syntax)
Where in 2010 they wrote:
"The Westminster Hebrew Syntax is a new database project that has been in development for the past five years, and is nearly ready for distribution."
So, one could guess that would either be from 2004~2009 or 2005~2010
they have been working on this.


And here at the WHS tracker. Click, on some the issues/bus they were tracking mostly in late 2009.
http://www.grovescenter.org/GC/syntaxissues
One, can gather they were and maybe still are ironing out the bugs before this database is released to the public.

Michael Hanel
05-18-2010, 10:28 PM
And here at the WHS tracker. Click, on some the issues/bus they were tracking mostly in late 2009.
http://www.grovescenter.org/GC/syntaxissues
One, can gather they were and maybe still are ironing out the bugs before this database is released to the public.

I'll gladly be corrected! I hope it's completion is near and that it makes it to a BibleWorks near us soon :)

ISalzman
05-18-2010, 10:37 PM
Thanks Brian.

bkMitchell
05-18-2010, 10:59 PM
Forgive me if I mentioned these before as I don't want to bore:

Here are some blog post (from The Empirical Humanist 2008~2009) about the syntax database and a spin off project:
http://www.grovescenter.org/blogs/kirk/?cat=9
(snap shot)

"The whole point of using XML is that one can easily transform it into another form, whether XML or not. And it is easy…until you want to do something complicated! My goal was to convert our in-house syntax database into something “lean and mean,” both small in size and without extraneous data (mostly embedded in attributes) that had accumulated ad hoc during development for the needs of the parser, mostly. I also wanted to refactor all the names of elements and attributes into something closer to the usual jargon of biblical scholars and Bible software vendors, our primary users of the raw XML form of the data."



In 2006 Kirk Lowery one the Hebraist/programmers of the syntax database in questioned took part in related project and co-published an article about it. I have provide a link to that PDF:

http://www.cs.brandeis.edu/~marc/misc/proceedings/lrec-2006/pdf/6_pdf.pdf (http://www.cs.brandeis.edu/%7Emarc/misc/proceedings/lrec-2006/pdf/6_pdf.pdf)



A guide to the Westminister Hebrew Syntax Database(Draft/2009)
http://www.grovescenter.org/blogs/kirk/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/guide2009-01-22.pdf (http://www.grovescenter.org/blogs/kirk/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/guide2009-01-22.pdf)

Adelphos
05-19-2010, 09:12 AM
Brian, it wouldn't surprise me if you have inadvertantly stolen some of BibleWork's thunder. :o

Based on the information you have provided, it SOUNDS like there may an announcement forthcoming in the not too distant future.

ISalzman
05-19-2010, 09:28 AM
Brian, it wouldn't surprise me if you have inadvertantly stolen some of BibleWork's thunder. :o



So who's the Boanerges ("son of thunder") now?

Adelphos
05-19-2010, 10:20 AM
So who's the Boanerges ("son of thunder") now?

You are... you da man!!! A real mensch if ever there was one. :cool:

ISalzman
05-19-2010, 08:49 PM
You are... you da man!!! A real mensch if ever there was one. :cool:

Thanks Scott. I take that as a nice compliment. By the way, is "mensch" a word in German too? Or is it unique to Yiddish?

Adelphos
05-19-2010, 09:28 PM
Thanks Scott. I take that as a nice compliment. By the way, is "mensch" a word in German too? Or is it unique to Yiddish?

Yes, it's a word in German, and it can mean "human being" etc., but it can also be used as slang in a not too complimentary way. :cool:

I, of course, meant it in a complimentary way.

ISalzman
05-19-2010, 09:48 PM
Yes, it's a word in German, and it can mean "human being" etc., but it can also be used as slang in a not too complimentary way. :cool:

I, of course, meant it in a complimentary way.

Interesting. In Yiddish, it is only ever used in a complimentary way. It is usually intended to mean someone of integrity, principle, distinction, etc. It is usually used of a man (male gender).

Adelphos
05-19-2010, 11:46 PM
Shavuot tov!

ISalzman
05-20-2010, 09:47 AM
Shavuot tov!

Thanks very much, Scott!