Rick has already posted some of his favorite features in Logos 6. So, I thought I’d take some time to post on my favorite feature in Logos 6 while also mimicking his post title. Incidentally, I’m biased because I worked on the Hebrew data for this project. Paul Danove (whose work really inspired this feature) provided initial Greek data, and Mike Aubrey continued that work.
Case-frames provide a new way of exploring meaning within Logos 6. It may not be apparent on first glance how they do this. Here I will work from an English example to an original language example to demonstrate how this works.
Consider an English verb like “return.” This verb can have several different meanings as in the following sentences:
- He returned home.
- He returned the donkey to its pen.
In the first case, we might paraphrase “return” as “go back”: “He went back home.” In the second, we might somewhat poorly paraphrase as “bring back” (perhaps this isn’t the only possible interpretation, but this is only an example): “He brought the donkey back to its pen.”
The difference in these two meanings of “return” is reflected in the number of “arguments” that the verb takes in each example. I don’t want to get bogged down what an argument is, but it is linguistic unit (word, phrase, clause) that is required to determine the meaning of a verb (or some other kind of predicate). In the first example above, the verb has two arguments: someone (an Agent) who is going back somewhere and the place (Goal) to which the person is returning. The second example has three arguments: the person (an Agent) returning something, the object (a Theme) that is being returned, and the place (a Goal) to which the object is being returned. As hinted at above, these arguments are labeled with roles like “Agent,” “Theme,” and “Goal” in a case-frame analysis. A fuller discussion of each one of these roles can be found in the glossary of semantic roles in Logos 6.
An analysis of the arguments in the two examples above would look something like this:
- [Agent He] returned [Goal home].
- [Agent He] returned [Theme the donkey] [Goal to its pen].
The meaning of the verb “return” in the first example is reflected in the pattern Agent – Goal and the second meaning is reflected in the pattern Agent– Theme– Goal. Thus, the meaning of “return” is related to the construction in which it is involved.
Of course, every language has important differences. But, these underlying patterns also occur in a language like Hebrew (though in Hebrew the differences between the two meanings discussed above are also somewhat reflected morphologically – qal vs. hiphil – for those who know their Hebrew).
The Biblical Hebrew word most often rendered “return” by English translations is שׁוב (šwb). To see how we can explore the meanings of this verb by looking at its patterns like we did for the English examples the first thing we want to do is run a Bible Word Study. So open up the Bible Word Study guide:
Since this isn’t really a tutorial on how to work with Hebrew in Logos I’ll give you the easy version of how to search for our Hebrew word. In the top left search box we can enter “h:shwb” then select the appropriate Hebrew word from the dropdown:
Once the guide has finished gathering all of the necessary information make sure the “case-frames” section is expanded by clicking the arrow next to “case-frames”:
And now we can look for the patterns that we’ve discussed so far, which I’ve highlighted already. We can open up the search results for each one of these patterns by clicking on the appropriate section of the case-frame wheel. For the Agent – Goal pattern we see the following:
We notice right off that case-frames can either be abstract (“the deeds of a man’s hands will return to him”) or concrete, and we see concrete examples of the Agent– Goal pattern, such as Gen 8:9 “… [Agent she] returned [Goal to him] … “ and Gen 15:16 “… [Agent they] will return [Goal here] …” Again, these examples approximate the English example of “He returned home” that we looked at above.
When we look closer at the Agent– Theme– Goal pattern we see the following:
One interesting matter to note here is that the translation generally doesn’t use the word “return,” so if we were just looking at an English translation we may have no idea that these usages were related to the same verb as the Agent – Goal pattern. Again, we have some abstract and some concrete examples. Concrete examples occur in places like Gen 29:3 “[Agent (they)] put the stone back in (i.e., return the stone to) its place on the mouth of the well” and Gen 28:15 “[Agent (I)] will bring you back (i.e., return you) to this land.” Again, these meanings of שׁוב (šwb) approximate the meaning we discussed in the second example above: “He returned the donkey to its pen.”
To summarize, we can see here how different meanings of verbs can involve different patterns of semantic roles. We particularly looked at the English example of “return” and how to look at similar examples in a language like Hebrew using the case-frames analysis in Logos 6. This was only an introduction using a common English example, but there is a vast amount of semantic information to explore here. And I’m pretty excited about that. So, go buy Logos 6! Then, explore the new case-frames feature and drop a comment below with a favorite example. And if you have any question about this feature or any other, please feel free to ask. If I know the answer, I’ll help the best way I can. And if I don’t know they answer, I’ll try to point you in the right direction.