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Tip 3.8 Searching for Weak Hebrew Verbs

Biblical Hebrew contains verbs that are classified as either strong verbs or one of eleven varieties of weak verbs. In this Classroom Tip we will show how to search using the Command Line for Hebrew lemmas that are weak verbs.

Using Wildcards to Search for Weak Verbal Root Types

Command Line searches can be constructed to quickly search for weak Hebrew verbs using wildcards and range operators.  Due to the fact that the WTM Westminster Hebrew OT Morphology is searchable by its lemma or lexical form we can take advantage of the three-consonant lemma form for each Hebrew word and search for classes of weak verbs. In order to conduct the searches listed in this Classroom Tip, change the Command Line search version to the Hebrew morphology version WTM.

In each of our searches for weak Hebrew verbs, we will use a combination of wildcards and the known consonant or consonants for the Hebrew lemma. Since the question mark wildcard (?) always represents one character in a Command Line search, this wildcard will be used to replace a single character in the lemma.

Since we are searching for Hebrew verbs, we will include @v* as the morphological codes following the lemma. If you wish to search for the word in specific verb stems, aspect, person, gender, number, or state, you could apply the correct morphological codes using the Morphology Code Help on the Command Line.

The following examples indicate what to type on the Command Line to execute searches for weak verbs. Each search is conducted using the WTM morphologically-tagged Hebrew version.

In order to type on the Command Line the brackets [ and ] to contain the group of letters used in the search for II-Yod and II-Waw verbs without the final ה , you will need to press the Insert key on your keyboard. When you press this key, the Command Line enters selected English characters instead of Hebrew characters where there is a conflict. A blinking red box appears in the upper right-hand corner of the Command Line when the Insert key has been pressed.

Name Alternate Name Command Line Search
I-Nun Pe Nun .??נ@v*
I-Aleph Pe Aleph .??א@v*
III-Aleph Lamed Aleph .א??@v*
III-He Lamed He .ה??@v*
I-Yod Pe Yod .??י @v*
II-Yod Ayin Yod .?י?@v*
II-Yod verbs
without final ה  

.[ אבגדהוזחטיכלמנסעפצקרשׁשׂת ] י ?@v*
(the characters in brackets
are tfvrqczp[snmlkyjxzwdgba)

II-Waw Ayin Waw .?ו?@v*
II-Waw verbs
without final ה

.[ אבגדהוזחטיכלמנסעפצקרשׁשׂת ] ו ?@v*
(the characters in brackets are
 tfvrqczp[snmlkyjxzwdgba)

I-Guttural Pe Guttural .??[אהחרע]@v*
II-Guttural Ayin Guttural .?[אהחרע]?@v*
III-Guttural Lamed Guttural .[אהחרע]??@v*
Geminate Double Ayin .בב?@v*
(search on each pair of consonants
to obtain the entire list of Geminate
verbs)

I, II & III-Guttural Verbs

We have seen in Classroom Tip 1.15 that range operators such as the braces { and } and the brackets [ and ]  are used to group characters. If you enclose the various guttural letters inside brackets at the position of the guttural letter for a desired search you can quickly find all instances of that type of verb. By grouping the guttural characters you can conduct one search to find verbs that contain any of those characters.

In order to type on the Command Line the brackets [ and ] to contain the group of guttural characters, you will need to press the Insert key on your keyboard. When you press this key, the Command Line enters selected English characters instead of Hebrew characters where there is a conflict. A blinking red box appears in the upper right-hand corner of the Command Line when the Insert key has been pressed.

Geminate Verbs

Geminate verbs are more root specific in their search syntax. In this type of search you must enter a specific Hebrew letter as the identical second and third Hebrew radical when typing your search on the Command Line. See the example listed in the table above.

You can conduct an 'or' search on the Command Line using the forward slash (/) instead of the period and then enter each pair of consonants. In this way you can search for every Geminate verb using one search. For example, you would type

               /בב?@v* גג?@v*

and the remaining consonant combinations to find all of the Geminate verbs.

Compiling the Results of Your Searches

In our previous searches for weak Hebrew verbs we were able to find all the verses where each type of verb appeared.  Once we have conducted a search we can develop lists of the particular verbs that appear in each root type and to view the forms that they take in the Hebrew Bible.  The Word List Manager will allow us to compile such lists. Begin by conducting a search over one of the types of weak Hebrew verbs, then use the Word List Manager to create a list of the weak Hebrew verbs.

  • Open the Word List Manager by pressing the F8 key or by navigating to Tools | Analyzing the text | Word List Manager.
  • Within the Word List Manager click on the button “Load or Generate Word List”
  • Under "Version" choose "WTM Westminster Hebrew OT Morphology".
  • Under "Source" choose “Load words from a Bible version”.
  • Set "Verse Range" to Gen 1:1 - Mal 3:24
  • Under "Other options" uncheck all checkboxes.
  • Click "Create list".
  • Select File | Save (as IEL file for later use, or for GSE). Be sure that you do not include any spaces in the name that you use. It would also be good to begin the name of the file with the abbreviation of the search version you used, in this case WTM. For example, a good file name for a list of I-Nun verbs would be wtm_I-Nun.iel. If you include spaces in the file name, you will be unable to use the file as a search tool on the Command Line.

Using Your Word List

Now that you have created IEL lists of weak Hebrew verbs, you can use these lists in future searches. These lists can be used as search tools on the Command Line or in the Graphical Search Engine.

On the Command Line, set your search version to WTM. Place your cursor on the Command Line, then clicking your right mouse button to open the context menu. Select "Insert Word List File Name", then select the desired word list that you created previously. This word list now functions as a word on the Command Line. In order to restrict the list to only verbs, add the morphology code "@v*" after the filename. For further information and examples of including word list searches on the Command Line, see Classroom Tip 3.3.

To use the IEL lists in the Graphical Search Engine (GSE), open the GSE, then double-click on the word box. Set the search version at the top of the word box to WTM. At the bottom of the word box select the radio button for "Inclusion/exclusion list (IEL)". Click the button to "Load IEL", then select your IEL list. Create the rest of your GSE search, and then run the search.

By having lists of the weak Hebrew words created ahead of time, you can use these lists in future searches.

  • You can use the word lists in the same way that you would use individual lemmas in a search.
  • Because you did not specify the morph codes when you created your IEL list, you can specify the exact form of the lemmas that you want to search by adding the @ sign, followed by the appropriate morphological codes.
  • You can use the word lists in phrase searches.

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