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Concordance (publishing)

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Definition and Purpose of Concordances
– A concordance is an alphabetical list of words used in a book or body of work.
– It lists every instance of each word with its immediate context.
– Concordances have historically been compiled for important works like the Vedas, Bible, and Shakespeare’s works.
– Creating a concordance was time-consuming and expensive before computers.
– Concordances are more than indexes and include additional material like commentary and definitions.

Use of Concordances in Linguistics
– Concordances are frequently used in linguistics to study texts.
– They are used to compare different usages of the same word.
– Concordances are helpful in analyzing keywords and word frequencies.
– They aid in finding and analyzing phrases and idioms.
– Concordances are used to find translations of subsentential elements in bitexts and translation memories.

Inversion and the Use of Concordances in Dead Sea Scrolls
– The reconstruction of the text of some Dead Sea Scrolls involved a concordance.
– Access to the scrolls was restricted, but Martin Abegg used a computer to invert a concordance of missing documents.
– This allowed for an approximate reconstruction of the original text of 17 documents.
– The release of the original text of the scrolls followed this breakthrough.

Related Concepts and Tools
– A topical concordance is a list of subjects covered in a book, like Naves Topical Bible.
– Other related concepts include cross-references, Key Word in Context, and indexing.
Text mining is also related to concordances.
– Concordancing techniques are used in national text corpora like the American National Corpus.
– Stand-alone applications known as concordancers or corpus managers utilize concordancing techniques.

Additional Resources and Tools
– Wikisource has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article on concordance.
– Online concordances are available for Shakespeare’s works and Hryhorii Skovoroda’s complete works.
– The Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts offers concordances for its collection of public domain texts.
– Hyper-Concordance is a program that scans and displays lines based on user commands.
– Other tools include Concord, ConcorDance, Chinese Text Project Concordance Tool, KH Coder, and the electronic concordance of Armenian literature.

A concordance is an alphabetical list of the principal words used in a book or body of work, listing every instance of each word with its immediate context. Historically, concordances have been compiled only for works of special importance, such as the Vedas, Bible, Qur'an or the works of Shakespeare, James Joyce or classical Latin and Greek authors, because of the time, difficulty, and expense involved in creating a concordance in the pre-computer era.

Mordecai Nathan's Hebrew-Latin Concordance of the Bible

A concordance is more than an index, with additional material such as commentary, definitions and topical cross-indexing which makes producing one a labor-intensive process even when assisted by computers.

In the precomputing era, search technology was unavailable, and a concordance offered readers of long works such as the Bible something comparable to search results for every word that they would have been likely to search for. Today, the ability to combine the result of queries concerning multiple terms (such as searching for words near other words) has reduced interest in concordance publishing. In addition, mathematical techniques such as latent semantic indexing have been proposed as a means of automatically identifying linguistic information based on word context.

A bilingual concordance is a concordance based on aligned parallel text.

A topical concordance is a list of subjects that a book covers (usually The Bible), with the immediate context of the coverage of those subjects. Unlike a traditional concordance, the indexed word does not have to appear in the verse. The best-known topical concordance is Nave's Topical Bible.

The first Bible concordance was compiled for the Vulgate Bible by Hugh of St Cher (d.1262), who employed 500 friars to assist him. In 1448, Rabbi Mordecai Nathan completed a concordance to the Hebrew Bible. It took him ten years. A concordance to the Greek New Testament was published in 1546 by Sixt Birck, and the Septuagint was done a by Conrad Kircher in 1602. The first concordance to the English Bible was published in 1550 by Mr Marbeck. According to Cruden, it did not employ the verse numbers devised by Robert Stephens in 1545, but "the pretty large concordance" of Mr Cotton did. Then followed Cruden's Concordance and Strong's Concordance.

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