Wednesday 31 December 2014

Top posts for 2014

The Biblical Studies carnival for March scores the highest with more than 1000 views, but it is lower than the one from 2013 now approaching 3000 and lower still than some posts from 2010 on Ecclesiastes now up over 4000. They were fun to write and fun to translate in the style of Dr. Seuss but I wonder if they will survive in that form.

A post on the direct object marker scored unexpectedly high - it was a toss-away post but I did learn something later from Peter Bekins and I updated it.

I was glad to see that my post on Sue Gillingham's review of my book got > 100 hits - but it did not contribute to sales alas.

People flocked to the series Religion without God - though I can surely say that reading the ancient books might be of more use - if 'twere done 'tis best 'twere done slowly.

The long-winded former prophet 1 Samuel was popular, something about priests and bread - more than a little bit funny if read slowly.

I am glad to see the post 'in the beginning' score well. It is an intro to the music and perhaps a little understandable.

I dislike going to Patheos blogs but I refuse to use an ad blocker, so I don't go there often. The complaint post was popular - too bad - it too is a throwaway.

Many of my posts pointing to other blogs scored well, but they are almost without content. Go Figure.

A post on page width and recitation generated some interest - bravo for the physical constraints of life.

The song should always do well. And it did. As did a repost from years ago on Wrestling with God and Men.

Medical news was popular but enough's enough. Looking ahead a few hours at this spot on the globe, Happy New Year to my readers.

Thank you, readers of dust

Thank you readers for propelling Dust into the top 10 Biblioblogs. Dust is number 7 according to Peter Kirby's winter list. So let me tell you what I am doing at present.

I have drafted a routine that analyses the Hebrew consonantal text and tries to tell me the grammar. It has been two months of refining ideas and it will be another 6 months of refinement as I do some translation to see if it is helpful - I think it will be eventually. The code is in Oracle PL/SQL for those who might know what this means - about 1500 lines of code at the moment. The input is the word and the stem of the word. I have a system that gives me a stem even when there is no stem for a word - such as in a preposition+pronoun where both are enclitics. I also use some input from domain and subdomain. Some things about a language you just need to know and some you can figure out from the word. I am still increasing information where I need it and reducing it where I don't need it. It is quite a study in linguistics and I will report what I learn.

Initially I have divided the words into 4 groups based on prefixes and suffixes, while separating out grammatical words and names (peoples, places, persons). The routine then looks at the individual prefixes and suffixes to determine possible grammatical forms. Many words are unambiguous, but many will require a more clever contextual analysis. I don't know if I can do this yet. Automating contextual choices in language processes is not my strong suit (if indeed I have such a thing). For now if I can't tell from the word, I just note that there are choices.

I am still working on making the automated features of my structural charts available on the web - perhaps in 6 months to a year I will have something done. These are relatively objective. I hope also to make the music available. At the moment you can see structural analysis in my book and on this blog, and the music here, but I would like to get to the point where you could chose any section of the Hebrew scripture and see structures and music without intervention as interpreted by the programs. I would even like to be able to support additional sets of rules for the music, but this is a longer term job and requires time and programming both to create the data in the right form and to externalize the rules so that differing cantillation schemes could be supported.

Over the next year I hope to review my translations of Job, Jonah, the Song, Ruth, Lamentations, Qohelet (Ecclesiastes), and the Psalms and to make them conform to the translation controls I have now imposed. Here's an image of the screen I have designed to do the main job. If you look closely you will see that my concordance and search buttons helped me to find and correct an error (visible on the page) that was caused by a mistaken stem. When it was discovered by the program, I was able to correct it and carry on with the translation. Roots also were derived by a PL/SQL routine I wrote several years ago - one that was a kind of bootstrap and only gets about 80% right. Over the next year as well I hope to extend translation of the first 50,000 words (about 1/7th of the Bible) that I have in my data: bits and pieces of almost all the books. I will use the experience to keep on translating while I have breath in me. This is such an impressive and mind-boggling body of text.

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Christmas 2014

We continue our series on the MacDonald Family, the 2014 saga. Much is understated as readers of this blog will know - but the truth lies in the interstices.

All the Christmas files have had to be moved - should now be accessible here.

Monday 15 December 2014

Comparing Psalms 8 and 144

Here is a map of word usage in psalms 8 and 144. I found the unique usage of שמיך because it failed my algorithm for finding the root in the word. It's a bit tricky coding those 40 or 50 odd rules that form words in this language. But it's coming along...

Word / Gloss12345678910123456VsStem
מזמור a psalm
לדוד of David
* מה how
אשׁר whose
תונה is chanted
* השׁמים the heavens
מפי from the mouths of
* שׁמיך your heavens
אצבעתיך your fingers
אשׁר that
* מה what is
אנושׁ a mortal
ובן and a child of
אדם humanity
ידיך your hands
תחת under
צנה flock
ואלפים and herd
* שׁמים the heavens
עבר traversing
* מה how
לדוד of David
ידי my hands
אצבעותי my fingers
תחתי under me
מה what
אדם is this humanity
בן a child
אנושׁ mortal
אדם humanity
עובר passing away
שׁמיך your heavens
ידיך your hands
מיד from the hand of
בני the children of
אשׁר whose
פיהם mouths
אזמרה I will sing a psalm
הנותן giving
דוד David
מיד from the hand of
בני the children of
אשׁר whose
פיהם mouths
אשׁר that
בנינו our sons may be
צאוננו our sheep
מאליפות by thousands
אשׁרי happy
אשׁרי happy