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Thread: Trying to understand how to search for hapax legomenae

  1. #1

    Default Trying to understand how to search for hapax legomenae

    Hello! I'd like to know of a relatively easy way to use the powerful search tools in Bible Works to identify hapax legomenae. So far, it seems the only how-to's on how this is done are for the NT, for which either BNM or GNM are recommended.

    The explanations that were given were written in semi-jargon that assumed a familiarity with the more advanced features of Bible Works that I presently lack.

    What I'm currently doing, step by step, in Bible Works 9 is:

    1. Going to Tools > Analyzing the Text > Word List Manager (some call it WLM for short but this is confusing for those of us who aren't hip with the lingo)
    2. From this new window that pops up, clicking "Load or Generate Word List" > going to the drop down menu and choosing WTT because that's the Hebrew text I like to use > unchecking all boxes (because another thread recommended not keeping morphologies) > clicking "Create List"
    3. Manually highlighting all of the words that occur more than 1 time (ctrl + shift + left click lets you highlight a range) > clicking "edit" > Delete selected > click file > save as IEL > close this window
    4. Back at the main Bible Works 9 window, clicking Search (at the top) > Graphical Search Engine (GSE for short)
    5. This brings up a window that looks like this:

    Name:  Hapax.jpg
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    6. I double click the larger box with the blue stripe on the left > click the radio button next to "Inclusion/exclusion list (IEL)" on the bottom left > choose "Load IEL" > select the IEL list I saved in step 3 above > select OK
    7. Double click the smaller box with the green stripe at the end of the arrow > under the "version" drop down, choose WTT again > click OK

    This generates tons of hits, but clearly I'm doing something incorrect because many of the words are *forms* of words that only occur once, but the root word occurs many times throughout the OT scripture. So please, could someone more knowledgeable than I am point out my error. I read something about a secondary list in one of the other threads, but I didn't really understand what it was I was supposed to do, and I suspect it's at that point that I'm flubbing things.

    Many thanks,


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004


    There is an easier way to find hapax legomena.
    Make WTM your search version.
    Open the Word List Manager.
    From "File" choose "Create Word List."
    For "Source" choose "Load words from a Bible version." (WTM should already display as your Bible version.)
    The "verse range" should read "Gen 1:1 - Mal 3:24"
    Uncheck "Keep 99 morph codes".
    Click "Create list," and in the Word List Manager you will see a list of all lemmas in WTM in order from most common (waw with 50524 instances) down to all the hapax legomena at the bottom of the list.
    You can either save the list as is, and just look at all the words at the bottom of the list with "1" behind them.
    Or you can click on the "Select" button and choose "Select all." Then go down the list to the beginning of the "1" words and unhighlight them.
    Then click on the "Edit" button and choose "Delete selected."
    This will leave you with a list of all hapax legomena in WTM. It includes a lot of proper nouns, but I do not know what you intend to do with your list.
    After you have edited the list to what you want, remember to click on "File" and choose "Save as IEL file for later use, or for GSE)". That way you can open your list to look at it or edit it in the future.
    I personally did something similar for BGM (combined Greek Old and New Testament) for words occurring under 50 times. And as I looked at the hapax legomena, I excluded the proper nouns, saving the list after excluding them.
    It may take 15-30 minutes to do all this. I hope this helps.
    You can then use this list in the Graphic Search Engine. Or, from within the Word List Manager itself you can individually click on words, and the verse in which they occur will display in the browse window. You can also "Sort" this list of hapax legomena from within the Word List Manager to put it in alphabetical order, if that will help your study.
    Mark Eddy
    Last edited by Mark Eddy; 11-04-2014 at 10:48 PM.

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