Tuesday, August 08, 2006

In a comment on my recent thoughts on semantic search,  Matt asks a reasonable question: "Wouldn't Louw-Nida help?" Since i've recently gotten a copy of Logos 3 Scholar's Library: Silver (i'll have a lot more to say about that later, but here's the preview: it's a fantastic resource), i tried it out. For this particular question, the answer appears to be no.

Humility is under 88/G, Moral and Ethical Qualities and Related Behavior/Humility (note this is a conceptual label for the passage: the word humility doesn't actually occur). Related words here would include:

  • lord (as in "lord it over"): 37/D, Control, Rule/Rule, Govern.
  • exercise authority: same domain and subdomain
  • servant/serve: 35/B, Help, Care For/Serve
  • slave: either the same subdomain as "lord [it over]", the more figurative sense, or more literally as 87/E, Status/Slave, Free

This isn't too surprising: Louw-Nida is a lexical resource, but the fundamental issue here (and the point of my post) is that there are lots of significant semantic concepts above the level of words. That's exactly what makes notions like "topic" slippery in practice.

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