Software and syntactical search with pronouns

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Jason Yuh
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Software and syntactical search with pronouns

Post by Jason Yuh » July 7th, 2014, 12:49 pm

Hi Everyone,

Does anyone definitively know if there is any software that has the capability of searching for pronouns that are specifically referring to a noun (i.e., as opposed to referring to a generic phrase or concept, or a proper noun)? I would need to do this search against the canonical books, the Greek Pseudepigrapha, the NT Apocrypha, the Church Fathers, and others (e.g., Philo, Josephus, etc.).

I am assuming that, at this time, there is no software that has this capability, but I just wanted to double-check since this would save me a substantial amount of time for my research project. Your help is much appreciated!

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Software and syntactical search with pronouns

Post by Jonathan Robie » July 7th, 2014, 4:14 pm

I am not aware of software that does that.

In my own queries, I've run into the problem that you can't really automate this very accurately, identifying the referent of a pronoun usually requires human interpretation. If you wind up needing to do that work, it would be great if you would make the result available in an open dataset, this has been a bottleneck in some queries I wanted to do.

Maybe someone else has already done this.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Software and syntactical search with pronouns

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » July 7th, 2014, 4:35 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:I am not aware of software that does that.

In my own queries, I've run into the problem that you can't really automate this very accurately, identifying the referent of a pronoun usually requires human interpretation.
Which is why PhD candidates working on NT linguistics often resort to manually tagging a corpus for their dissertation. I remember several people studying under Porter at Rohampton back in the 1990s were doing this, building their own tagged texts.
C. Stirling Bartholomew

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Software and syntactical search with pronouns

Post by Jonathan Robie » July 7th, 2014, 5:16 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
Jonathan Robie wrote:I am not aware of software that does that.

In my own queries, I've run into the problem that you can't really automate this very accurately, identifying the referent of a pronoun usually requires human interpretation.
Which is why PhD candidates working on NT linguistics often resort to manually tagging a corpus for their dissertation. I remember several people studying under Porter at Rohampton back in the 1990s were doing this, building their own tagged texts.
Yep. Now when you are doing a lot of custom markup of a specific kind, it may make sense to write a graphical tool to make it easier, faster, and more reliable to add your annotation.

And you may want to start with an existing tagged corpus. Here are three candidates:

* Nestle 1904 with syntax trees and morphological tags (constituent model)
https://github.com/biblicalhumanities/Nestle1904/
https://github.com/biblicalhumanities/g ... nestle1904

* SBLGNT syntax trees with morphology (constituent model)
https://github.com/biblicalhumanities/g ... ees/sblgnt

* Dag Haug's PROIEL syntax trees with morphology (dependency model)
http://proiel.github.io/

And if you are going to create a tagged corpus that is valuable, please, please consider basing it on a text that can be freely distributed, put your own work in source code control, and license it freely. Also, use the OSIS reference system for verses. I'm happy to discuss this with anyone creating such a corpus - one of the main goals of biblicalhumanities.org is to help people create resources that can be used together with other resources.

For querying your corpus, consider existing tools like XQuery or emdros.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

cwconrad
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Re: Software and syntactical search with pronouns

Post by cwconrad » July 8th, 2014, 6:42 am

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
Jonathan Robie wrote:I am not aware of software that does that.

In my own queries, I've run into the problem that you can't really automate this very accurately, identifying the referent of a pronoun usually requires human interpretation.
Which is why PhD candidates working on NT linguistics often resort to manually tagging a corpus for their dissertation. I remember several people studying under Porter at Rohampton back in the 1990s were doing this, building their own tagged texts.
If one is competent at recognition of forms and constructions (big IF!) and doesn't want to be subject to the mistakes of others, then that's the only way to go. The problem is, even if one is competent (I suspect that's relative!), there remains the problem of inadvertent errors. It's all a matter of the source and destination of garbage. I can't even proofread my own work with confidence.
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

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

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Software and syntactical search with pronouns

Post by Jonathan Robie » July 8th, 2014, 9:08 am

cwconrad wrote:If one is competent at recognition of forms and constructions (big IF!) and doesn't want to be subject to the mistakes of others, then that's the only way to go. The problem is, even if one is competent (I suspect that's relative!), there remains the problem of inadvertent errors. It's all a matter of the source and destination of garbage. I can't even proofread my own work with confidence.
But some of the existing tagged corpora have been edited by several competent scholars, and are probably better than an individual would do alone. I would put PROIEL and the Global Bible Institute / biblicalhumanities.org treebanks into that category. There's another treebank that just might happen this yearish that I would put in that category too. So if all you need is morphology and syntax trees, I do think it's usually better to start with one of these.

And to enhance the syntax trees with another level of information, such as the referents of pronouns, and add your data to the publicly available data available for analysis. If you put your data in github, other scholars can suggest corrections. Better yet, collaborate with other people who really are about what you are doing so you can check each other's work, but still check it into github.

The basic vision of biblicalhumanities.org is to have an open ecosystem for digital biblical humanities, where scholars build on each others work. Each scholar creates data and owns it, publishing it on a github of their own (or on ours if they prefer). And a lot is beginning to happen now - most of the resources I pointed to here did not exist 18 months ago. I can help with any questions regarding licensing, reference systems, XML representations, github, etc.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stephen Hughes
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Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Mixed lot of texts in respect of preparation

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 8th, 2014, 3:04 pm

Jason Yuh wrote:I would need to do this search against the canonical books, the Greek Pseudepigrapha, the NT Apocrypha, the Church Fathers, and others (e.g., Philo, Josephus, etc.).
Jonathan Robie wrote:
Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
Jonathan Robie wrote:I am not aware of software that does that.

In my own queries, I've run into the problem that you can't really automate this very accurately, identifying the referent of a pronoun usually requires human interpretation.
Which is why PhD candidates working on NT linguistics often resort to manually tagging a corpus for their dissertation. I remember several people studying under Porter at Rohampton back in the 1990s were doing this, building their own tagged texts.
And you may want to start with an existing tagged corpus. Here are three candidates:

* Nestle 1904 with syntax trees and morphological tags (constituent model) ...
* SBLGNT syntax trees with morphology (constituent model) ...
* Dag Haug's PROIEL syntax trees with morphology (dependency model) ...
...
And if you are going to create a tagged corpus that is valuable, please, please consider basing it on a text that can be freely distributed, put your own work in source code control, and license it freely. Also, use the OSIS reference system for verses.
Jonathan Robie wrote:But some of the existing tagged corpora have been edited by several competent scholars, and are probably better than an individual would do alone.
...
The basic vision of biblicalhumanities.org is to have an open ecosystem for digital biblical humanities, where scholars build on each others work.
Jonathan: Jason is wanting to use a much broader selection of Greek literature, than is covered by those three tagged New Testament texts that were mentioned.

Is the OSIS reference system for verses sufficient to cover the works he is talking about searching? Or is that system just for Biblical verses?

Jason: At a rough guestimate, given your terms of reference, the New Testament will comprise only 1/70th of the total Greek that you are wanting to look at. A term like, "The Church Fathers" could cover up to many thousands of pages for just a single authour.

I share Carl's anticipation of inadvertant errors, and would also mention this systematic error. Because you are going to be working with some works that have not been checked for their accuracy in scanning, together with polished and refined - worked and reworked - databases for the New Testament. I suggest caution to eliminate this systematic error as you work through this.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Mixed lot of texts in respect of preparation

Post by Jonathan Robie » July 8th, 2014, 4:28 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:Jonathan: Jason is wanting to use a much broader selection of Greek literature, than is covered by those three tagged New Testament texts that were mentioned.

Is the OSIS reference system for verses sufficient to cover the works he is talking about searching? Or is that system just for Biblical verses?
For the extra-biblical references, CTS is probably the way to go, and using the Perseus identifiers for these works. For biblical references, I'm hoping that the canonical CTS identifiers will embed the OSIS identifiers, and I'm pushing in that direction.
Stephen Hughes wrote:Jason: At a rough guestimate, given your terms of reference, the New Testament will comprise only 1/70th of the total Greek that you are wanting to look at. A term like, "The Church Fathers" could cover up to many thousands of pages for just a single authour.

I share Carl's anticipation of inadvertant errors, and would also mention this systematic error. Because you are going to be working with some works that have not been checked for their accuracy in scanning, together with polished and refined - worked and reworked - databases for the New Testament. I suggest caution to eliminate this systematic error as you work through this.
For a lot of this, it's going to be hard to find tagged corpora anywhere as mature as the GNT corpora. That may well change over the next few years, and I think it's very likely to change over the next decade.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Jason Yuh
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Joined: July 7th, 2014, 7:35 am

Re: Software and syntactical search with pronouns

Post by Jason Yuh » July 11th, 2014, 10:01 pm

I want to thank everyone for all of your feedback and suggestions. Although most of this is new to me, it is also very exciting.

To be more specific, I'm trying to find examples of a neuter pronoun referring to a feminine or masculine noun. I found examples in classical Greek, but I need to find examples in the NT and/or in Greek texts that were written between 2nd century B.C. and 2nd century A.D. If I can find enough examples in the NT, then I may not need to go beyond that.

So I'm thinking of going through every demonstrative neuter pronoun in the NT. There are only 98 instances, so I can probably go through them one by one. If I come up with this data, then is it worth sharing with others? I'd be more than happy to, but I'm not sure how useful it would be, and I would need some guidance regarding how to get this out there for others.

Stephen Hughes
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Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Preparing to deal with ambiguity οὗτος / ἐκεῖνος

Post by Stephen Hughes » July 13th, 2014, 12:35 am

Jason Yuh wrote:I'm trying to find examples of a neuter pronoun referring to a feminine or masculine noun.
...
I'm thinking of going through every demonstrative neuter pronoun in the NT. There are only 98 instances, so I can probably go through them one by one.
Statistics and searches aren't really going to be reliable here even for a well-tagged text. Because the forms of the neuter and the masculine are the same in the genitive and the dative, there is a degree of uncertainty of the gender for οὗτος, this, and ἐκεῖνος that.

In the case of ὅδε, this, I would speculate that the writer of the Apocalype was using a stylised phrase (fossilised form in the language) "Τάδε λέγει", rather than thinking of τάδε as part of any declensional pattern.

What 98 instances are you referring to?
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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