syntactic tagging

Bryan Rocine 596547 at
Mon Jul 13 08:52:15 EDT 1998

Hi Kirk,
Welcome back to the States!  I had heard that you are still abroad, but
judging from your sig, you have already arrived in PA.

At 10:56 AM 7/10/98 -0400, you wrote:
>On Wed, 8 Jul 1998 13:44:48 -0400 B Rocine <596547 at> wrote:
>> Now here's a wish I would like to pass onto our computer text-taggers
>> Wheeler, Kirk Lowery, et al.:  Tag the boundaries of clauses.
>Bryan, the good news is that your wish shall be granted....the bad news
>is that we're at least five to seven years away from it. 

>The problem is going to be solved, that's for sure. I hope you can see
>that a lot of thought and effort has already been given to it, but it is
>far from trivial to solve. (And we all have our day jobs! ;-)

Thanks for your efforts!  Such a tool would be a great boon to someone such
as myself who is interested in the distribution of clause-types and how the
distribution relates to clause functions within discourse.

>> While I'm at it, another wish:   Tag the boundary between narration and
>> quoted speech.  How beneficial!  The resulting research would make it
>> like we're learning Hebrew all over again.
>What am I, your fairy godmother? (I wish! ;-)

Well, now that you mention it, no.  Fairy godmothers only grant single
wishes, and I have already made two and will most likely have a third. 
Three wishes...hmmmm....that would make you....the genie in the lamp. ;)

Anyhow, it's interesting how hard it is to get a computer to do reliably
what we can *usually* do fairly easily.  

On the other hand, as you guys succeed in tagging high level constituents
of discourse, it will enable linguists only somewhat familiar with BH to do
pretty fine-tuned and reliable linguistic analysis of BH.  The reliability
and relevance of the results may be more a function of training in
linguistics than training in BH.  Some new insights should develop.  I
wonder how the more traditional Hebraist, who is not necessarily a
linguist, will react when the high-tech linguist comes on his turf.  Will
the linguist with a lap-top loaded with Bibleworks 5.0 be viewed as an
intruder or as irreverent?  Will seminaries offer linguistics courses
rather than higher level Hebrew courses?  Is the new speed and ease with
which the Bible student in his twenties can access Biblical Hebrew(and
Greek) dangerous?  As the cub asked in Mark Twain's "Old Times on the
Mississippi," "Have we gained more or lost more?"  Whatever the answer I
dare say that we will all want the new software.

I realize some of my questions already sound two or three decades behind
the times for some who have already been dedicated to uniting the efforts
of Hebraist and linguist in Biblical studies, but I'd like to hear the
list's thoughts on the matter especially in view of the present state and
prosed development in computer Bible-study.


B. M. Rocine
Associate Pastor
Living Word Church
6101 Court St. Rd.
Syracuse, NY 13208


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