Monday, February 25, 2008

Greek Syntax Search using Logos: Article & Prepostional Phrase

Rick Brannan just uploaded an interesting post on the Logos blog in response to the following question posted on the Logos newsgroup:

Someone has commented that there are 484 occurrences of the definite article occurring without a noun introducing a prepositional phrase, such as, "τα επι τοις ουρανοις." I wonder if someone would teach me how to search my GNT (N/A27) to confirm this statement?
(I wanted to reply to Rick on his blog, but I need to include pics, so I will do it here.)
I think the search requested is not quite what Rick ends up with. Rick correctly finds all the instances of articular prepostional phrases.
Rick's results, therefore, include Matthew 5:16: τὸν πατέρα ὑμῶν τὸν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς = "your father in the heavens" where the prepositional phrase modifies "father." The request, however, is for "occurrences of the definite article occurring without a noun introducing a prepositional phrase..." That is, if I understand it correctly, the person wants instances where the article with prepositional phrase is functioning as a substantive and not when it is functioning as an adjectival phrase.
So, to eliminate those, here is the Syntax Search I used in Logos:
First, as I looked at some of the anticipated phrases in OpenText, I noted that the article was always the Head Term. On my search, therefore, note that I define Word 1 as being an article using the morphology selector, but I also checked the box indicating that it "Must be an immediate child of the parent." This choice makes sure that it doesn't turn out to be functioning as an adjective.
Second, rather than trying to define the function of the preposition as Rick does using the Modifier/Relator identification, I simply used the morphology selector again to indicate that it has to be a preposition. (And note that it should not be an immediate child.)
Third, I don't think that I need to worry about word order in this instance. The article will always precede the preposition, and as I long as I don't specify the preposition as an immediate child, it should pick up instance where, e.g., a postpositive particle intervenes. Running the search, I come up with the following:Now, I am a bit suspicious that my 149 results are exactly half of Rick's 298, but you will see that we come up with quite different hits. Actually, however, I only have 147 hits (or less), because I am almost certain that the very first one, Matthew 5:12, reflects a mistake in the OpenText coding as well as Luke 6:42. I say "almost certain," because I am still trying to figure this stuff out. [Those of you who know better, I would appreciate confirmation that the articular prepostional phrases in Matt 5:12 and Luke 6:42 are indeed incorrectly coded and should instead be marked as a relator phrase. BTW, I also ran the search using "modifier=relator" instead of the preposition tag, and I came up with 150 results.]
Bottom line: This is really a powerful way of conducting syntactical searches. I'm not sure that I am confident of my results, however, both because I'm not sure I fully understand the coding and because I think there are errors in the OpenText coding.

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