[b-greek] Re: Diagramming

From: Rodney J. Decker (rdecker@bbc.edu)
Date: Wed Nov 08 2000 - 13:19:30 EST

I received the following question privately from a list member, but thought
that perhaps it would be of more general interest. There has been some
minor discussion in past years re. diagramming Greek, so if any of you know
of other options on Windows, please share that info.

At 10:25 AM 11/8/00 -0600, you wrote:
>My question: How do you do this diagramming? I myself teach New Testament
>exegesis, including Greek, and wish to be able to use the computer more
>fully. I use Microsoft Word, have BibleWorks, and can read documents in
>.pdf format.

I've done it several ways over the years. Initially I drew them all by hand
in a graphics program--a very tedious project! I now use a "semi-automated"
program designed explicitly for diagramming: Accordance. Unfortunately (for
you!), it's a Mac-only program. Ac. is best known as the top of the line
tool for grammatical research, but it includes a diagramming module as well
with tool palettes that allow the user to drag out any of the mechanical
pieces; it also inserts the text of any selected passage in "word-sized"
chunks that can be also be dragged into place.

An interesting option that I read about recently--one that is
cross-platform (I work on both Mac and Windows myself, by the way)--is
ConceptDraw: <http://www.conceptdraw.com/>. It's a graphics program, but
one designed to do diagrams--not necess. sentence diagrams, but with the
library features (see below) and smart connectors, it could potentially be
developed into a handy tool for diagramming Greek. If someone did that, the
library files could be shared with other (b-greek!) users; that would be a
tremendous service. The most tedious part would still be breaking the text
into word-sized pieces--something that would have to be done manually, I
suspect. (I'd love to be wrong on that score!) An automated way to do that
would make this a *very* attractive option.

To see an actual example of sentence diagramming done with ConceptDraw
(though English, not Greek), see
<http://www.tidbits.com/resources/553/sentences.html>. There is a review
(by a formar language teacher)of the Mac version at this URL:
<http://www.tidbits.com/tb-issues/TidBITS-553.html#lnk3>. His review says,
in part:

"You can also create your own libraries; so naturally I had to give this a
try, using a pet project of mine, sentence diagrams. (Readers who are old
enough may remember sentence diagrams from high school; as an ex-language
teacher, I still use them.) The results were spectacular. After a few days
of design and experimentation, I ended up with a small library that makes
sentence diagrams dead simple to construct. Individual words are "smart"
objects whose line length automatically adjusts to the length of the text,
and with connection points that stay evenly spaced. Horizontal words are
linked by connector objects expressing subject-predicate,
object-complement, and so forth. Slanting modifier words are "glued" to
horizontal words at connection points through something called a "control
point," which is too complicated to explain here. My most brilliant
achievement was the right-angle that connects one modifier to another (as
in "very humane"); it's a smart connector object that keeps its right-angle
and its rotation when its connection points are moved.
"To see what I'm talking about, check out the Web page below, which shows
two of my sentence diagrams. But you won't learn much from this, because
what's important is not the diagram but the process by which it was
created. You'll just have to trust me when I say that once I had the
library developed, the diagrams were really quick and easy to make."

My one other suggestion, esp. if you use the newest version of BibleWorks,
is to bug the developers to add a diagramming module in that program. They
are very responsive to their users and if they got enough demand, might
well consider such a feature. (BibleWorks, BTW, is probably the best
Windows program for doing technical grammatical/syntactical research on
Windows; it is approaching Accordance in capabilities.)

Rodney J. Decker, Th.D. Baptist Bible Seminary
Assoc. Prof./NT PO Box 800, Clarks Summit, PA 18411
rdecker@bbc.edu http://faculty.bbc.edu/rdecker/
XNS Universal Address: =RodDecker
The *Resources for NT Study* site is accessible at:

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