Suggested addition for Trenchard - Vocabulary

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Stephen Hughes
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Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Suggested addition for Trenchard - Vocabulary

Post by Stephen Hughes » January 31st, 2016, 12:40 pm

There is a lot of talk about frequencies in vocabulary learning. Trenchard arranges his work into cognates from pages 5 - 126. Each section of cognates contains a key word. What is lacking from that is a total number for the key word, giving the total number of occurrences for all of the cognates tallied up under the key word.

Having a list like that, and a list of cognate key words arranged in terms of their frequency would allow another way to categorise the most common words.

Would learning the key words for the cognate groups allow you to understand all the words in the group? No. It wouldn't necessarily do that. What it would do is allow a first step for the greatest number of words. It is like the large hammer making the first chunks off the marble, not the finest one doing the finishing touches.

Consider κλέπτω "I steal" which is a key word on page 57. The word κλέπτω itself has a frequency of 13, and together with κλέπτης "thief" and two others, the cognate group has a frequency of 32. That is similar in frequency to the cognate group of ἥλιος "sun" on page 45, which has the one large scoring word (ἥλιος), together with two low scoring ones. The total of the cognate group is 37. That is to say that the frequency of the cognate groups are similar, but not of the individual words.

The significance of such an addition to Trenchard is even more evident when there are three or more largish scorers in the cognate groups. An example of that is σθενόω "I strengthen, make strong" on page 99, itself only occurs once. Three familiar words ἀσθενέω (33 times), ἀσθένεια (24 times) and ἀσθενής (26 times) mean that the cognate group's total frequency is actually 85.

Considering those numbers will give a new perspective on frequencies.
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Suggested addition for Trenchard - Vocabulary

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 1st, 2016, 3:01 pm

I think the last update to Trenchard was in 1998.

I would love to see something like Trenchard or Louw & Nida with a free license, and it would be really easy to enhance it with frequency data. A couple of people have worked with Greek WordNets. Creating something like that is a significant project, especially if there's a methodology behind it.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stephen Hughes
Posts: 3332
Joined: February 26th, 2013, 7:12 am

Re: Suggested addition for Trenchard - Vocabulary

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 2nd, 2016, 7:47 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:I think the last update to Trenchard was in 1998.
Presumably his attention was fully shifted to his "A Concise Dictionary of New Testament Greek" (2003).
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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