Lemmatizing Greek Verbs

Biblical Greek morphology and syntax, aspect, linguistics, discourse analysis, and related topics
cwconrad
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Re: Lemmatizing Greek Verbs

Post by cwconrad » February 8th, 2015, 5:57 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:The way I see it is that lemmatizing is for the headword; the examples of usage can have finite forms.
We are on the same team here in the general principle to lematise by infinitive(s). I am bringing up a mater of detail.

The word "example" contains a vagueness that could end up being confusing in this case, and ultimately an argument that could be use to discredit this way of lemmatising - or cause a source of embarrassment, despite what other good it in fact has. That is to say - Entries contain concrete textual examples and abstracted grammatical examples.

Let me put a couple of examples up from LSJ's entry for what is now lemmatised as διαλέγομαι, but what we would prefer to be lemmatised as διαλέγεσθαι (aka διαλέγω B. as Dep.)
  1. “μοι ταῦτα φίλος διελέξατο θυμός” Il.11.407 ...
  2. δ. τί τινι or πρός τινα, discuss a question with another ...
  3. “γλῶσσα εὔτροχος ἐν τῷ δ.” Plu.Per.7; ...
  4. “οὐκ ἐρίζειν ἀλλὰ δ.” Pl.R.454a ...
  5. opp.ποιεῖν, D.H.Comp.20 ...
a) an example with the entry as you are suggestion would be possible
b) an abstracted example, and the issue I'm referring to is what does the "δ." refer to? I understand it as meaning that the headword is repeated throughout the dictionary entry in the form of the "δ." abbreviation.
c), d) and e) seem to indicate that despite LSJ being now lemmatised with the finite verb, it was originally constructed with the infinitive as lemma.

To restate my point in these terms, a dictionary entry needs to be workable in terms of how the abbreviated form in the dictionary works, and in the cases where a construction is used with a participle, a finite form might need to be spelt out, rather than just an abbreviation like "δ.".
The question, I think, is one of where the lexicographer may reasonably economize in the style of usage citation. I really think that we ought to assume that the user knows the fundamentals of the language. Irregular conjugational forms in all the significant dialects are indicated immediately after the lemma; the user should know how to form the perfect middle on the basis of what's cited in those conjugational forms. It might be nice to see at once the exact form of the verb appearing in each cited passage, but the user knows that the verb in question is in use from the "δ." and is given the context: the significant elements in the collocation and indication of the text cited. I'd have to agree with SC here; this question goes beyond the question of how a verb should be lemmatized and into broader questions of styling of lexical entries. For my part, I don't see a problem with indication of usage of the verb διαλέγεσθαι by "δ." in the citations of usage.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Lemmatizing Greek Verbs

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 8th, 2015, 6:59 am

cwconrad wrote:this question goes beyond the question of how a verb should be lemmatized and into broader questions of styling of lexical entries.
Yes, I was trying to be conciliatory to Stephen's understanding and reply.

Perhaps I have misunderstood lemmatising a little. As a single word to represent all other inflected forms, I was thinking that in terms of other syntactic patterns, an infinitive works, but not in the case of syntactic patterns with participles like that.

I was thinking that each usage would have a different lemma, and for that lemma with the participle, the lemma should be the most basic finite verb. I was thinking of it in terms of vocabulary for learning on a usage pattern by usage pattern basis, rather than single entry.

Anyway, forget it.
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cwconrad
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Re: Lemmatizing Greek Verbs - beyond the lexicon

Post by cwconrad » February 8th, 2015, 7:49 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
cwconrad wrote:this question goes beyond the question of how a verb should be lemmatized and into broader questions of styling of lexical entries.
Yes, I was trying to be conciliatory to Stephen's understanding and reply.

Perhaps I have misunderstood lemmatising a little. As a single word to represent all other inflected forms, I was thinking that in terms of other syntactic patterns, an infinitive works, but not in the case of syntactic patterns with participles like that.

I was thinking that each usage would have a different lemma, and for that lemma with the participle, the lemma should be the most basic finite verb. I was thinking of it in terms of vocabulary for learning on a usage pattern by usage pattern basis, rather than single entry.

Anyway, forget it.
No, it's now a bit clearer what you were really suggesting -- it was not clear earlier -- not to me, at any rate, although it ought to have been clear if only I had been bright enough to put 2 and 2 together from your recurrent queries about verb phrases and the significance of your trivia questions. But, IF I now understand you rightly, it seems to me that you are describing a reference work that overreaches the function of what we traditionally understand a lexicon to be by far: you want, I think, a "phrase book" of the sort regularly used by travelers in lands where an alien language is spoken. Your "phrase book", however, would extend far, far beyond such matters as changing currency or dealing with a taxi or finding a barber and the like; it would stretch far, far to the distant horizons of idiomatic usage in every sphere of human behavior and exploration. Your "unabridged" lexicon would be more comparable in breadth/range (and bandwidth?) to Wikipedia. When viewed in that sense, the question of "how best to lemmatize" would indeed call for one or more alternatives to using the infinitive. But I think you really are talking about something distinct from our conventional understanding of a "lexicon."

Which raises, in my mind, another question: are "lexicon" and "dictionary" synonyms? I've always supposed that we only use the word "lexicon" for Greek words. Upon checking my Apple system thesaurus, I find
an illustrated lexicon: dictionary, wordbook, vocabulary list, glossary,
There's clearly some overlap here, but it seems to me that "thesaurus" is probably more precisely the sort of extended catalog of word-usage that Stephen is talking about here -- he can correct me if I'm still off-base! We expect a "thesaurus" to be more properly "ausführlich" than a lexicon and to run to many volumes, whereas we hope to encompass an unabridged lexicon in a single printed volume (oh, but then there's the staggering size of the OED!!).

To return to Stephen's original question, I would still think that the collective head entry for verbs in this "Ungeheuer" of a thesaurus would be an infinitive form of the verb, but that the sub-entries might cite the actual form appearing in the citation. After all, once we push the boundaries of our dictionary/lexicon/wordbook/phrasebook as far as our intellectual horizon stretches, neither the printed page nor the electronic range is a boundary.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Lemmatizing Greek Verbs

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 8th, 2015, 8:15 am

Yes. The first part of what you said is a good description of my thinking. The quest for idiomatic Greek.

Further to that and also off the topic, as I now realise it to be, I think lexicons arranged alphabetically obscure the idiom of the language. Also, in terms of what you said, if it were arranged by words and the patterns were repeated many times, it would run to many volumes, but if the arrangement were by patterns that then had words listed, it would be smaller. The process of reading involves seeing a pattern of arrangement of the words in a text and then knowing the meaning of the individual significant words in that pattern, and getting an overall meaning from the pattern with the words. Lexicons with single lemma entries suggest that words are the basic building blocks of language, rather than that patterns are the basic models into which blocks are arranged.

I just mentally ran the single lemmas through all structures I could think of since that idea was mooted and found that that structure with the participle red flagged. There are a few other verbs that (can) take participles on the right-hand-side (so to speak - following the verb, required by the verb, not the verb's third person ending), but they seem more common in classical.

I'm trying to think by structures, but, honestly, I don't think it is an idea that will gain a foothold in other people's general approach to Greek. In this discussion at least, I've admitted my misunderstanding, so let's stick to the marked paths and stream-beds rather than entangle this bold and positive move in dealing with the bracken and hanging vines which make the going difficult.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Paul-Nitz
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Re: Lemmatizing Greek Verbs

Post by Paul-Nitz » February 9th, 2015, 11:35 am

Stephen, I very much like the idea of typical structures being listed in a lexicon. That would be a wonderful resource for communicative style acquisition.

I'm assuming a new dictionary with infinitive headwords would be digital. There is no space limitations. Therefore, why not think of having both (and separately) the Present and Aorist Infinitive listed. Somewhat related (and I think mentioned previously) the κοινη and εαυτικη Infinitive forms should be listed. I suppose, for some verbs, you might throw in a θηναι pattern εαυτικη infinitive.

Since the dictionary is digital, it is also searchable. Every known form of the word might be listed, such as is done in the Lexham Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament.

Someone just gave me a little German Bible Society concordance for the GNT. It's a very nice little book. It gives a gloss in Latin and lists phrases in which the word is used, not just references. But the real surprise to me was that it lists the lemma by Present Infinitive!
http://www.amazon.com/Handkonkordanz-Gr ... 3438060078
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Re: Lemmatizing Greek Verbs

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 10th, 2015, 7:48 pm

Paul-Nitz wrote:Stephen, I very much like the idea of typical structures being listed in a lexicon. That would be a wonderful resource for communicative style acquisition.
I'm sure other people have spent many hundreds of human-lifetime hour equivalents thinking about how better to order words to present to people than on the alphabetical model.

For me, giving the issue just my cursory glance, the basic question of organisation comes down to internalisation-tool or external-reference model. I thing that we are in agreement - albiet from different starting points - that internalisation of knowledge is the best "reference work", and I would go on to say that memory is the best encyclopedia to look things up in. Memorising words in alphabetical ordered lists falls short on many testing ranges.

Structures, and arbitrarily defined contexts (e.g. sailing, philosophy, ... ) would be the next level of division in what I had in mind. It could have an alphabetical index to give users a way to choose their starting point.

For me at least, arrangement for the most effective commitment to memory trumps arrangements to most efficiently look up unknown things.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

cwconrad
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Re: Lemmatizing Greek Verbs

Post by cwconrad » February 11th, 2015, 8:28 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:I'm sure other people have spent many hundreds of human-lifetime hour equivalents thinking about how better to order words to present to people than on the alphabetical model.
I'm less sure about other people, but I think you have been chasing this will-o'-the-wisp for many of the months of your participation in this forum, extensively and expansively exploring all the nooks and crannies of lexical cubbyholes in your endeavor ὀρθοτομεῖν τὸν λόγον τῆς ἀληθείας.
Stephen Hughes wrote:IFor me, giving the issue just my cursory glance, the basic question of organisation comes down to internalisation-tool or external-reference model. I thing that we are in agreement - albeit from different starting points - that internalisation of knowledge is the best "reference work", and I would go on to say that memory is the best encyclopedia to look things up in. Memorising words in alphabetical ordered lists falls short on many testing ranges..

Structures, and arbitrarily defined contexts (e.g. sailing, philosophy, ... ) would be the next level of division in what I had in mind. It could have an alphabetical index to give users a way to choose their starting point.

For me at least, arrangement for the most effective commitment to memory trumps arrangements to most efficiently look up unknown things.
Stephen, I'm not sure that you will ever get beyond the "young whippersnapper" stage and grasp that μνημοσύνη is a precious resource, to a considerable extent a gift of Prometheus, that tends to slip away from us more often than we would like (I think it was about half a century ago in my case) and we are happy to have the reference work, in print or digitally accessed, to assist us in finding le mot juste.

I rather suspect that what you are really after belongs in another thread (perhaps entitled "Trivia"?). Our word "lemma" apparently derives from the verb λαμβάνειν in the sense of a "handle" (the English word is apparently a 16th century coinage from the Greek word not used in this sense. I guess that the question begged by the coinage is: "How do we get a hold on the word or expression -- the dictio or λέξις -- that can convey the sense we wish to convey or give us access to the sense intended by an ancient author who can no longer be consulted directly. The question is: how best to organize a corpus of λέξεις or dictiones for the most convenient consultation? You have then split the question into two halves: external arrangements for retrieval of unknown information and some device to assist internal storage -- μνημοσύνη -- to allow instantaneous retrieval upon command.

I'm not sure that we'll ever improve upon the ancient reliance upon the daughter of Μνημοσύνη to remind us of what we have forgotten (μῆνιν ἄειδε, θεά ..., ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, Μοῦσα ... ). We still use mnemonic devices to help us recover the names of the Great Lakes (remember "HOMES"?); verse remains an aide mémoire for the irregular days of our months ("Thirty days hath September ... ") as it did for the ancients·
Πληιάδων Ἀτλαγενέων ἐπιτελλομενάων
ἄρχεσθ' ἀμήτου, ἀρότοιο δὲ δυσομενάων.
αἳ δή τοι νύκτας τε καὶ ἤματα τεσσαράκοντα
κεκρύφαται, αὖτις δὲ περιπλομένου ἐνιαυτοῦ
φαίνονται τὰ πρῶτα χαρασσομένοιο σιδήρου.
Indeed, back in the earlier days of the last century it was standard pedagogical practice to exhort students of Greek and Latin to commit great swatches of ancient writers to memory just as did the ancients (surely we don't imagine that when Plato quotes Homer and Hesiod, he has consulted a printed text?). Back before Prometheus gave us alphabets and the technology of writing, that was the way all things learned were preserved. It is pretty effective, but memory, as we are being reminded all too often, is not altogether reliable.

As for retrieval of λέξεις from print or digital media, Stephen rightly notes that alphabetized lemmata offer no more helpful organization than a telephone directory. I'm not aware of any better organizational scheme than Louw & Nida's organization by "semantic domains" -- but that might be the best place to start thinking about alternative kinds of arrangement.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Lemmatizing Greek Verbs

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 11th, 2015, 8:49 am

cwconrad wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:I'm sure other people have spent many hundreds of human-lifetime hour equivalents thinking about how better to order words to present to people than on the alphabetical model.
I'm less sure about other people, but I think you have been chasing this will-o'-the-wisp for many of the months of your participation in this forum, extensively and expansively exploring all the nooks and crannies of lexical cubbyholes in your endeavor ὀρθοτομεῖν τὸν λόγον τῆς ἀληθείας.
For my part I could say that Empty minds need to me filled with some thing at least. For your part I could say that Bringing a lifetime of experience to the consideration of a problem in the same field is a good thing too.
cwconrad wrote:You have then split the question into two halves: external arrangements for retrieval of unknown information and some device to assist internal storage -- μνημοσύνη -- to allow instantaneous retrieval upon command. ... I rather suspect that what you are really after belongs in another thread (perhaps entitled "Trivia"?).
That stems as a development from my earlier misunderstanding. I see these last few posts as a settling of the ripples caused by the slip, rather than the beginning of a wave. Trivia should of course consist of curios that belong to a group consciousness, not really to matters that map the way that one individual memorises things.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Lemmatizing Greek Verbs

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 11th, 2015, 5:01 pm

Let me add my little thoughts to the other points Carl raised.
cwconrad wrote:Stephen, I'm not sure that you will ever get beyond the "young whippersnapper" stage and grasp that μνημοσύνη is a precious resource, to a considerable extent a gift of Prometheus, that tends to slip away from us more often than we would like (I think it was about half a century ago in my case) and we are happy to have the reference work, in print or digitally accessed, to assist us in finding le mot juste.
Well, in my mid-teens, I memorised Greek passages as sounds and that was not easy. Now, I memorise working from the main theme to the order, to the structures to the actual words used. I also generally remember one phrase at a time, and put them together later. Knowing the language to a better standard and knowing the meaning of most of the words in a passage (at least as glosses) helps a lot too. Memorisation is different rather than harder now.
I guess that the question begged by the coinage is: "How do we get a hold on the word or expression -- the dictio or λέξις -- that can convey the sense we wish to convey or give us access to the sense intended by an ancient author who can no longer be consulted directly.
There is enough disagreement "noise" even on this forum to suggest that intended meanings and understood meanings are not always the same - and due to the fact that in many cases evidence from other passages / authour's is introduced into the arguments supporting various interpretations, it would seem likely that even at the time of writing, different people would have understood (or misunderstood) what was written.
cwconrad wrote:The question is: how best to organize a corpus of λέξεις or dictiones for the most convenient consultation? You have then split the question into two halves: external arrangements for retrieval of unknown information and some device to assist internal storage -- μνημοσύνη -- to allow instantaneous retrieval upon command.
Designing the interface(s) for knowledge is something that requires an appreciation of the uses one would like to put the knowledge to.
cwconrad wrote:I'm not sure that we'll ever improve upon the ancient reliance upon the daughter of Μνημοσύνη to remind us of what we have forgotten (μῆνιν ἄειδε, θεά ..., ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, Μοῦσα ... ). We still use mnemonic devices to help us recover the names of the Great Lakes (remember "HOMES"?); verse remains an aide mémoire for the irregular days of our months ("Thirty days hath September ... ") as it did for the ancients·
Certain longer passages, such as the reply of John (the Baptist) in the Gospel of John (the Evangelist) have very regular patterns, and sound good sung, and are easy to remember that way. Besides from your allusion to Καλλιόπη, it seems that the TPR method, which could be seen vaguely as employing others of the nine daughters and is a good way to commit things to memory.
cwconrad wrote:
Hesiod, Ἔργα καὶ Ἡμέραι, 383ff wrote: Πληιάδων Ἀτλαγενέων ἐπιτελλομενάων
ἄρχεσθ' ἀμήτου, ἀρότοιο δὲ δυσομενάων.
αἳ δή τοι νύκτας τε καὶ ἤματα τεσσαράκοντα
κεκρύφαται, αὖτις δὲ περιπλομένου ἐνιαυτοῦ
φαίνονται τὰ πρῶτα χαρασσομένοιο σιδήρου.
The Farmer's Almanac+.
cwconrad wrote:Indeed, back in the earlier days of the last century it was standard pedagogical practice to exhort students of Greek and Latin to commit great swatches of ancient writers to memory just as did the ancients (surely we don't imagine that when Plato quotes Homer and Hesiod, he has consulted a printed text?). Back before Prometheus gave us alphabets and the technology of writing, that was the way all things learned were preserved. It is pretty effective, but memory, as we are being reminded all too often, is not altogether reliable.
Not trying something because of some vague fear of failure or not being perfect is part of the self-defeatist rhetoric shared by both sluggards and cowards. Memory become slightly less reliable for "accurate" recall of a passage as we move from parroting to active (brain-switched-on / retelling in the authour's words) memorisation.
cwconrad wrote:As for retrieval of λέξεις from print or digital media, Stephen rightly notes that alphabetized lemmata offer no more helpful organization than a telephone directory. I'm not aware of any better organizational scheme than Louw & Nida's organization by "semantic domains" -- but that might be the best place to start thinking about alternative kinds of arrangement.
How is supermarket flyer arranged relative to the arrangement of the goods in the supermarket?
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

cwconrad
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Re: Lemmatizing Greek Verbs

Post by cwconrad » February 11th, 2015, 5:41 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:How is supermarket flyer arranged relative to the arrangement of the goods in the supermarket?
I'm not quite sure why you raised this question, but it hammers upon one of my pet peeves: If only the flyer were arranged in terms of produce, bakery, meat, dairy, distinct varieties of canned goods, etc., etc., it would greatly simplify shopping. Of course it's actually arranged in order to make items attractive to buyers ... But I don't really think this has any relevance to what we're talking about. I assume that we would like to get beyond purely random sequence.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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