This is the third in a series on querying Greek texts with XQuery. Before you read this, you should consider reading the earlier posts:

In this post, we will start doing morphology queries on the Lowfat syntax trees. The next post will start a series on querying syntax, leading up to queries related to Rikjsbaron’s chapter on the Greek Participle.

Queries on Morphology

Before we do our first query on morphology, let’s take a look at the word frequency query we used at the end of Querying Greek Texts in XML: Part 1:

    
for $w in //w
let $text := string($w)
group by $text
let $count := count($w)
where $count > 1000
order by $count descending
return <word count="{$count}">{ $text }</word>

It just so happens that the Lowfat trees also use the element name w to identify a word, even though they add in a lot more information:

    
<sentence>
<cite>Luk24:19:1-24:19:4</cite>
<wg nodeId="420240190010040" class="cl" role="s">
<w morphId="42024019001" class="conj" lemma="καί">καὶ</w>
<wg nodeId="420240190020030" class="cl">
<wg nodeId="420240190020020" class="cl" head="true">
<w morphId="42024019002"
class="verb"
role="v"
head="true"
lemma="λέγω"
person="third"
number="singular"
tense="aorist"
voice="active"
mood="indicative">εἶπεν</w>
<w morphId="42024019003"
class="pron"
role="io"
lemma="αὐτός"
case="dative"
gender="masculine"
number="plural">αὐτοῖς</w>
</wg>
<w morphId="42024019004"
class="pron"
lemma="ποῖος"
case="accusative"
gender="neuter"
number="plural">Ποῖα;</w>
</wg>
</wg>
</sentence>

Because of this, we can use the same query on the Lowfat trees, even though the structure is significantly different. (This is possible because the path expression //w doesn’t care about the details of the structure, it finds w elements at any level.) Here are the results of the above query:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<word count="8577">καὶ</word>
<word count="2803"></word>
<word count="2684">ἐν</word>
<word count="2609">δὲ</word>
<word count="2500">τοῦ</word>
<word count="1749">εἰς</word>
<word count="1657">τὸ</word>
<word count="1562">τὸν</word>
<word count="1514">τὴν</word>
<word count="1417">αὐτοῦ</word>
<word count="1299">τῆς</word>
<word count="1284">ὅτι</word>
<word count="1227">τῷ</word>
<word count="1208">τῶν</word>
<word count="1080">οἱ</word

Side Note: These counts are not identical to the counts for the base text, which may be an indication that the underlying texts are not identical. This is a little surprising, so we will be good citizens of the digital humanities community and raise an issue on the issues list so that it can be investigated.

Frequency by Lemma

As we mentioned in the first post, ὁ, τοῦ, τὸ, τὸν, τὴν, τῆς, τῷ, τῶν, and οἱ are actually different forms of Greek definite article, which means “the”. It takes different forms for gender (masculine, feminine, neuter), case (nominative, genitive, dative, accusative), and number (singular, plural). Suppose we want to treat all of these forms as one word, and do a frequency count based on the underlying word. In the syntax trees, the lemma attribute contains the dictionary form of each word. Let’s modify query to use the lemma rather than the declined form of each word:

    
for $w in //w
let $text := string($w/@lemma)
group by $text
let $count := count($w)
where $count > 1000
order by $count descending
return <word count="{$count}">{ $text }</word>

Here are the results of that query, which give the count for each lemma no matter how it is declined in the text:

    
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<word count="19805"></word>
<word count="8977">καί</word>
<word count="5061">αὐτός</word>
<word count="2896">σύ</word>
<word count="2767">δέ</word>
<word count="2737">ἐν</word>
<word count="2574">ἐγώ</word>
<word count="2457">εἰμί</word>
<word count="2335">λέγω</word>
<word count="1759">εἰς</word>
<word count="1605">οὐ</word>
<word count="1408">ὅς</word>
<word count="1387">οὗτος</word>
<word count="1308">θεός</word>
<word count="1295">ὅτι</word>
<word count="1245">πᾶς</word>
<word count="1039">γάρ</word>
<word count="1037">μή</word

Now let’s modify that to add the class of the word (noun, verb, pronoun, etc.), and generate a complete list. We will also wrap the query in an outer element to make it a well formed XML file:

    
<frequency>
{
for $w in //w
let $lemma := $w/@lemma
let $class := $w/@class
group by $lemma, $class
order by count($w) descending
return
<lemma class="{$class}" count="{count($w)}">
{$lemma}
</lemma>
}
</frequency>

Now the results look like this:

 
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<frequency>
<lemma class="det" count="19805"></lemma>
<lemma class="conj" count="8187">καί</lemma>
<lemma class="pron" count="4976">αὐτός</lemma>
<lemma class="pron" count="2896">σύ</lemma>
<lemma class="conj" count="2767">δέ</lemma>
<lemma class="prep" count="2737">ἐν</lemma>
<lemma class="pron" count="2574">ἐγώ</lemma>
<lemma class="verb" count="2457">εἰμί</lemma>
<lemma class="verb" count="2335">λέγω</lemma>
<lemma class="prep" count="1759">εἰς</lemma>
<lemma class="adv" count="1537">οὐ</lemma>
<lemma class="pron" count="1407">ὅς</lemma>
<lemma class="pron" count="1387">οὗτος</lemma>
<lemma class="noun" count="1308">θεός</lemma>
<lemma class="adj" count="1245">πᾶς</lemma>
<lemma class="conj" count="1216">ὅτι</lemma>
<lemma class="conj" count="1039">γάρ</lemma>
<lemma class="adv" count="946">μή</lemma>
!!! SNIP !!!

Since this could be useful for other queries, let’s save it. The complete file can be found here: SBLGNT Word Frequency (generated from Lowfat trees)

Most frequent verb forms

The order in which Greek verb forms is taught usually bears little resemblance to the frequency with which these forms occur. Let’s write a query that finds the most frequent verb forms.

 
for $w in //w
where $w/@class='verb'
let $text := string($w)
group by $text
let $count := count($w)
order by $count descending
return
<word count="{$count}">
{ $text }
</word>

The results of this query look like this:

 
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<word count="577">εἶπεν</word>
<word count="570">ἐστιν</word>
<word count="330">λέγει</word>
<word count="301">ἦν</word>
<word count="200">λέγω</word>
<word count="178">λέγων</word>
<word count="169">ἐγένετο</word>
<word count="150">λέγοντες</word>
<word count="143">ἔστιν</word>
!!! SNIP !!!

Now let’s enhance this query in three ways:

  • Add the lemma, tense, voice, and mood for each verb form.
  • Add a rank attribute that is 1 for the most frequent form, 2 for the second most frequent, etc., setting it in the count clause (count $rank).
  • Wrap the individual elements in a element so that it is well-formed XML.

Here is the query with these modifications:

 
<frequency>
{
for $w in //w
where $w/@class='verb'
let $text := string($w)
let $lemma := $w/@lemma
let $tense := $w/@tense
let $voice := $w/@voice
let $mood := $w/@mood
group by $text, $lemma, $tense, $voice, $mood
let $count := count($w)
order by $count descending
count $rank
return
<word rank="{$rank}"
count="{$count}"
lemma="{$lemma}"
tense="{$tense}"
voice="{$voice}"
mood="{$mood}">
{ $text }
</word>
}
</frequency>

Now the results look like this:

 
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<frequency>
<word rank="1"
count="573"
lemma="λέγω"
tense="aorist"
voice="active"
mood="indicative">εἶπεν</word>
<word rank="2"
count="570"
lemma="εἰμί"
tense="present"
voice="active"
mood="indicative">ἐστιν</word>
<word rank="3"
count="330"
lemma="λέγω"
tense="present"
voice="active"
mood="indicative">λέγει</word>
<word rank="4"
count="301"
lemma="εἰμί"
tense="imperfect"
voice="active"
mood="indicative">ἦν</word>
<word rank="5"
count="198"
lemma="λέγω"
tense="present"
voice="active"
mood="indicative">λέγω</word>
<word rank="6"
count="178"
lemma="λέγω"
tense="present"
voice="active"
mood="participle">λέγων</word>
<word rank="7"
count="169"
lemma="γίνομαι"
tense="aorist"
voice="middle"
mood="indicative">ἐγένετο</word>
<word rank="8"
count="150"
lemma="λέγω"
tense="present"
voice="active"
mood="participle">λέγοντες</word>
<word rank="9"
count="143"
lemma="εἰμί"
tense="present"
voice="active"
mood="indicative">ἔστιν</word>
<word rank="10"
count="117"
lemma="εἰμί"
tense="future"
voice="middle"
mood="indicative">ἔσται</word>
!!! SNIP !!!

Perhaps many people would be surprised that two of the ten most common Greek verb forms are participles, and some might be surprised that two of them are middle forms. This means that with traditional Greek instruction, students have to wait quite a while before they recognize some of the most common verb forms.

Exploring the Morphology Markup

The format for the Lowfat trees is documented here. Suppose that documentation did not exist, and we had to write it from scratch. We could start by using a few queries to summarize how this data is used. Even for datasets that are documented, this kind of query is often helpful for gaining an understanding of what data is available to be queried.

First, let’s remember what words look like in the Lowfat trees:

 
<wg nodeId="420240190020020" class="cl" head="true">
<w morphId="42024019002"
class="verb"
role="v"
head="true"
lemma="λέγω"
person="third"
number="singular"
tense="aorist"
voice="active"
mood="indicative">εἶπεν</w>
<w morphId="42024019003"
class="pron"
role="io"
lemma="αὐτός"
case="dative"
gender="masculine"
number="plural">αὐτοῖς</w>
</wg>
<w morphId="42024019004"
class="pron"
lemma="ποῖος"
case="accusative"
gender="neuter"
number="plural">Ποῖα;</w>
</wg>

The set of attributes found on a word depends on the class of the word. So what attributes can be found on a word? We can find that with the following query:

for $w-attr in //w/@*
let $name := name($w-attr)
group by $name
return
<attribute name="{$name}">
</attribute>
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<attribute name="number"/>
<attribute name="discontinuous"/>
<attribute name="mood"/>
<attribute name="class"/>
<attribute name="tense"/>
<attribute name="voice"/>
<attribute name="person"/>
<attribute name="lemma"/>
<attribute name="head"/>
<attribute name="case"/>
<attribute name="morphId"/>
<attribute name="gender"/>
<attribute name="role"/>

Let’s see what the potential values are for each attribute. We will use the distinct-values() function, which does what the name implies: it extracts the set of distinct values from a sequence.

for $w-attr in //w/@*
let $name := name($w-attr)
where $name != 'lemma'
and $name != 'morphId'
group by $name
return
<attribute name="{$name}">
{
distinct-values($w-attr)
}
</attribute>

Here is the result of the above query:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<attribute name="head">true</attribute>
<attribute name="number">singular plural</attribute>
<attribute name="case">nominative genitive accusative dative vocative</attribute>
<attribute name="discontinuous">true</attribute>
<attribute name="mood">indicative participle infinitive subjunctive imperative optative</attribute>
<attribute name="role">s v vc p adv o io o2</attribute>
<attribute name="gender">feminine masculine neuter</attribute>
<attribute name="class">noun verb det conj pron prep adj adv ptcl num intj</attribute>
<attribute name="tense">aorist present imperfect future perfect pluperfect</attribute>
<attribute name="voice">active passive middle</attribute>
<attribute name="person">third second first</attribute

Now let’s group these by the class of the word, since each class has a different set of possible attributes. First, let’s create an outer query that groups words by class:

for $w in //w
let $class := $w/@class
group by $class
return
<class name="{$class}">
</class>

This returns the set of classes:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<class name="adv"/>
<class name="adj"/>
<class name="pron"/>
<class name="noun"/>
<class name="conj"/>
<class name="verb"/>
<class name="num"/>
<class name="ptcl"/>
<class name="det"/>
<class name="intj"/>
<class name="prep"/

Within each class, we want to see the attributes used for that class, which is what our previous query did. Let’s copy that earlier query into the element constructor for class, with one small modification: the expression for $w-attr in //w/@* looks at the attributes for the entire treebank, so we will change it to for $w-attr in $w/@* so that it looks only at the words in the group associated with each class:

for $w in //w
let $class := $w/@class
group by $class
return
<class name="{$class}">
{
for $w-attr in $w/@*
for $name in name($w-attr)
where $name != 'lemma'
and $name != 'morphId'
group by $name
return
<attribute name="{$name}">
{
distinct-values($w-attr)
}
</attribute>
}
</class>

Here is the result of that query:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<class name="adv">
<attribute name="head">true</attribute>
<attribute name="discontinuous">true</attribute>
<attribute name="role">p adv v o</attribute>
<attribute name="class">adv</attribute>
</class>
<class name="adj">
<attribute name="head">true</attribute>
<attribute name="number">plural singular</attribute>
<attribute name="case">nominative genitive accusative dative vocative</attribute>
<attribute name="discontinuous">true</attribute>
<attribute name="role">p o2 adv s o io</attribute>
<attribute name="gender">feminine neuter masculine</attribute>
<attribute name="class">adj</attribute>
</class>
<class name="pron">
<attribute name="head">true</attribute>
<attribute name="number">singular plural</attribute>
<attribute name="case">genitive accusative dative nominative</attribute>
<attribute name="discontinuous">true</attribute>
<attribute name="role">s o io adv p o2</attribute>
<attribute name="gender">masculine feminine neuter</attribute>
<attribute name="class">pron</attribute>
</class>
<class name="noun">
<attribute name="head">true</attribute>
<attribute name="number">singular plural</attribute>
<attribute name="case">nominative genitive accusative dative vocative</attribute>
<attribute name="discontinuous">true</attribute>
<attribute name="role">s p o o2 adv io</attribute>
<attribute name="gender">feminine masculine neuter</attribute>
<attribute name="class">noun</attribute>
</class>
<class name="conj">
<attribute name="head">true</attribute>
<attribute name="discontinuous">true</attribute>
<attribute name="role">adv p</attribute>
<attribute name="class">conj</attribute>
</class>
<class name="verb">
<attribute name="head">true</attribute>
<attribute name="number">singular plural</attribute>
<attribute name="case">nominative genitive accusative dative vocative</attribute>
<attribute name="discontinuous">true</attribute>
<attribute name="mood">indicative participle infinitive subjunctive imperative optative</attribute>
<attribute name="gender">masculine feminine neuter</attribute>
<attribute name="role">v vc adv o p s o2</attribute>
<attribute name="class">verb</attribute>
<attribute name="tense">aorist present imperfect future perfect pluperfect</attribute>
<attribute name="voice">active passive middle</attribute>
<attribute name="person">third second first</attribute>
</class>
<class name="num">
<attribute name="head">true</attribute>
<attribute name="discontinuous">true</attribute>
<attribute name="role">adv o p s</attribute>
<attribute name="class">num</attribute>
</class>
<class name="ptcl">
<attribute name="head">true</attribute>
<attribute name="discontinuous">true</attribute>
<attribute name="role">s p adv v</attribute>
<attribute name="class">ptcl</attribute>
</class>
<class name="det">
<attribute name="head">true</attribute>
<attribute name="number">singular plural</attribute>
<attribute name="case">accusative genitive nominative dative vocative</attribute>
<attribute name="discontinuous">true</attribute>
<attribute name="role">s</attribute>
<attribute name="gender">masculine feminine neuter</attribute>
<attribute name="class">det</attribute>
</class>
<class name="intj">
<attribute name="head">true</attribute>
<attribute name="role">s</attribute>
<attribute name="class">intj</attribute>
</class>
<class name="prep">
<attribute name="discontinuous">true</attribute>
<attribute name="class">prep</attribute>
</class>

But the attributes and possible values for a Greek verb are depend on whether the verb is finite, an infinitive, or a participle. Let’s break that down with another query derived from the previous query:

for $w in //w
where $w/@class = 'verb'
let $mood := $w/@mood
group by $mood
return
<class name="verb" mood="{$mood}">
{
for $w-attr in $w/@*
for $name in name($w-attr)
where $name != 'lemma'
and $name != 'morphId'
group by $name
return
<attribute name="{$name}">
{
distinct-values($w-attr)
}
</attribute>
}
</class>

Here is the result of that query:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<class name="verb" mood="infinitive">
<attribute name="head">true</attribute>
<attribute name="discontinuous">true</attribute>
<attribute name="mood">infinitive</attribute>
<attribute name="role">v o adv vc s o2</attribute>
<attribute name="class">verb</attribute>
<attribute name="tense">aorist present perfect future</attribute>
<attribute name="voice">active passive middle</attribute>
</class>
<class name="verb" mood="indicative">
<attribute name="head">true</attribute>
<attribute name="number">singular plural</attribute>
<attribute name="discontinuous">true</attribute>
<attribute name="mood">indicative</attribute>
<attribute name="role">v vc</attribute>
<attribute name="class">verb</attribute>
<attribute name="tense">aorist imperfect present future perfect pluperfect</attribute>
<attribute name="voice">active passive middle</attribute>
<attribute name="person">third second first</attribute>
</class>
<class name="verb" mood="subjunctive">
<attribute name="head">true</attribute>
<attribute name="number">singular plural</attribute>
<attribute name="discontinuous">true</attribute>
<attribute name="mood">subjunctive</attribute>
<attribute name="role">v vc</attribute>
<attribute name="class">verb</attribute>
<attribute name="tense">aorist present perfect</attribute>
<attribute name="voice">passive active middle</attribute>
<attribute name="person">second third first</attribute>
</class>
<class name="verb" mood="optative">
<attribute name="head">true</attribute>
<attribute name="number">singular plural</attribute>
<attribute name="discontinuous">true</attribute>
<attribute name="mood">optative</attribute>
<attribute name="role">v vc</attribute>
<attribute name="class">verb</attribute>
<attribute name="tense">aorist present</attribute>
<attribute name="voice">active middle passive</attribute>
<attribute name="person">third first second</attribute>
</class>
<class name="verb" mood="imperative">
<attribute name="head">true</attribute>
<attribute name="number">plural singular</attribute>
<attribute name="discontinuous">true</attribute>
<attribute name="mood">imperative</attribute>
<attribute name="role">v vc p s</attribute>
<attribute name="class">verb</attribute>
<attribute name="tense">aorist present perfect</attribute>
<attribute name="voice">active middle passive</attribute>
<attribute name="person">second third</attribute>
</class>
<class name="verb" mood="participle">
<attribute name="head">true</attribute>
<attribute name="number">singular plural</attribute>
<attribute name="case">nominative genitive accusative dative vocative</attribute>
<attribute name="discontinuous">true</attribute>
<attribute name="mood">participle</attribute>
<attribute name="gender">masculine feminine neuter</attribute>
<attribute name="role">vc v adv p o o2 s</attribute>
<attribute name="class">verb</attribute>
<attribute name="tense">present aorist perfect future</attribute>
<attribute name="voice">passive active middle</attribute>
</class>

Looking at these results can tell us quite a bit about Greek verbs and how they are used in the Greek New Testament.

Tayloring output for different verb forms

The previous section shows that the attributes needed to characterize a verb depend on whether it is an infinitive, participle, or finite verb. Let’s use that knowledge to improve the output. Within the element constructor for class, let’s add attributes specific to particular verb forms.

<frequency>
{
for $w in //w
where $w/@class='verb'
let $text := string($w)
let $lemma := $w/@lemma
let $tense := $w/@tense
let $voice := $w/@voice
let $mood := $w/@mood
let $person := $w/@person
let $number := $w/@number
let $gender := $w/@gender
let $case := $w/@case
group by $text, $lemma, $tense, $voice, $mood,
$person, $number, $gender, $case
let $count := count($w)
order by $count descending
count $rank
return
<word rank="{$rank}"
count="{$count}"
lemma="{$lemma}"
tense="{$tense}"
voice="{$voice}"
mood="{$mood}">
{
switch ($mood)
case "infinitive" return ()
case "participle" return (
attribute case {$case},
attribute number {$number},
attribute gender {$gender} )
default return (
attribute person {$person},
attribute number {$number})
}
{ $text }
</word>
}
</frequency>

Now each verb has all the attributes required to fully describe the form:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<frequency>
<word rank="1"
count="573"
lemma="λέγω"
tense="aorist"
voice="active"
mood="indicative"
person="third"
number="singular">εἶπεν</word>
<word rank="2"
count="570"
lemma="εἰμί"
tense="present"
voice="active"
mood="indicative"
person="third"
number="singular">ἐστιν</word>
<word rank="3"
count="330"
lemma="λέγω"
tense="present"
voice="active"
mood="indicative"
person="third"
number="singular">λέγει</word>
<word rank="4"
count="301"
lemma="εἰμί"
tense="imperfect"
voice="active"
mood="indicative"
person="third"
number="singular">ἦν</word>
<word rank="5"
count="198"
lemma="λέγω"
tense="present"
voice="active"
mood="indicative"
person="first"
number="singular">λέγω</word>
<word rank="6"
count="177"
lemma="λέγω"
tense="present"
voice="active"
mood="participle"
case="nominative"
number="singular"
gender="masculine">λέγων</word>
<word rank="7"
count="169"
lemma="γίνομαι"
tense="aorist"
voice="middle"
mood="indicative"
person="third"
number="singular">ἐγένετο</word>
<word rank="8"
count="148"
lemma="λέγω"
tense="present"
voice="active"
mood="participle"
case="nominative"
number="plural"
gender="masculine">λέγοντες</word>
<word rank="9"
count="143"
lemma="εἰμί"
tense="present"
voice="active"
mood="indicative"
person="third"
number="singular">ἔστιν</word>
<word rank="10"
count="117"
lemma="εἰμί"
tense="future"
voice="middle"
mood="indicative"
person="third"
number="singular">ἔσται</word>
<word rank="11"
count="114"
lemma="εἰμί"
tense="present"
voice="active"
mood="infinitive">εἶναι</word>

Since this data might be useful to someone, let’s store the complete result here: SBLGNT verb form frequency.

But wait, there’s more!

So far, we have been querying only morphology, but even in these queries, some aspects of syntax are visible. The discontinuous, role, and head attributes describe aspects of syntax, not morphology.

The next post will start a series on querying syntax, leading up to queries related to Rikjsbaron’s chapter on the Greek Participle.