[b-hebrew] Karl's lexicon

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Sat Aug 25 00:23:39 EDT 2007


On 8/24/07, JAMES CHRISTIAN READ <JCR128 at student.anglia.ac.uk> wrote:
> JCR: I can see your point about handholding but ...
> put yourself back in the shoes of your beginner who just wants to read a simple text and understand it. Each time the reader confronts a word he does not know he has to:
> i) Recognise the root so he can look it up

The student has to do that eventually anyways. With regular verbs,
recognizing the root usually is learned within a month or two. All
lexemes I list alphabetically, as well as under roots where

I list irregular forms, the ones that give trouble.

> ii) Look it up
> iii) Use morphology plus the meaning/s in the lexicon to figure out the intended meaning
Again, this is something a student needs to learn anyways, and again
regular forms are learned quickly. It is the irregular forms that give
trouble, and I list those.

> This is a very slow and tiresome process and as a result only very small sections of text are generally read by beginners.
That's true of any learned, second language. The object is to make it easier.

> However, imagine being able to read the unpointed Hebrew text online and being able to click on any word in the text that you don't understand and instantly be taken to its entry in a lexicon. The reading would be sped up somewhat.
See below under what I want.

> KWR: After all, there are already analytical lexica to serve that purpose.
> JCR: Yeah! Before I got burgled I used to have an analytical lexicon which listed every form and directed you to the root. What a drag using that was! First you look up the form and then are told to look up the entry in another part of the book. Talk about user unfriendly!
So did I. To try to get around that user unfriendliness, I quickly
learned how to recognize which root to look up, and for the most part
ceased to look up the discreet forms. Quickly, the only forms I looked
up were the irregular ones.

I have to thank that experience because it taught me to recognize
roots from derived forms, it taught me to see the value of etymology
and it showed me many false etymologies where words that did not
belong were listed under roots.

> KWR: On the programming side, were I to make this just one large file separated by commas, how would I deal with all the definitions that have commas within the definitions (e.g. as part of complex sentences)?
> JCR: Yeah! In the case of your data it would probably make more sense to use a '|' as the separator. It doesn't really matter what you use as long as the separator is unique and has no other use in your lines of data.
Where should the separator be? At the ends of the lines? If so, then
the return is already a unique character.

> KWR: One idea that I had was to include every form, programmed in such a way that when one clicks on a word while reading Tanakh, that it calls up the words that could generate that form. But that is beyond my programming ability. I know what I would want, just don't know enough programming to accomplish it.
> JCR: It could be done. But the logic would be far simpler if you had entries for every form. If you had entries for every form no 'form to root' matching logic would be necessary and the logic of the would be greatly simplified.
The problem is that there are many forms that could come from two or
more sources (I hesitate to say 'root' as not all sources have
recognized roots according to Hebrew linguistics). You would have to
take these into account.

Making a quick electronic count of irregular forms and forms which
could come from two or more sources, I got a result of 777 entries in
my dictionary. The problem is that I know I am missing many such

> Otherwise, each root would need a table in the database populated with derived forms so that forms could be associated with roots and the user could be taken to the root entry and its definition.
Because I don't know data base programming, I don't understand how
this would work.

> KWR: While checking up a lexeme today, I found a bi-gram that you don't list, depending on alternate spellings, it occurs 5–8 times in Tanakh: (L )DWT   על אדות
> JCR: Are you sure?


> ... Have you tried browsing through the concordance. Note that the concordance is not ordering as it should do (a MySQL bug) and sometimes you may find the bi-gram in a place you didn't expect it be in the concordancer.
OK, it's in your concordance, but not your frequency table.

> James Christian Read - BSc Computer Science
> http://www.lamie.org/hebrew - thesis1: concept driven machine translation using the Aleppo codex
> http://www.lamie.org/lad-sim.doc - thesis2: language acquisition simulation
Karl W. Randolph.

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list