Why do people say, “Call it pedophilia, not childlove” when the word “pedophilia” is Greek for “childlove”?

Just because two words have identical semantics, does not mean they have identical connotations.

Pedophilia in modern society has extremely negative connotations. It didn’t have negative connotations when it was coined in Ancient Greece, because it was coined under different cultural norms. Words carry with them the connotations that a culture puts on them.

Advocates seeking to avoid those negative connotations may try to do so by coining a new word, which doesn’t have those connotations. Calquing the word into English “childlove” is such a strategy; “childlove”, being a new coining, doesn’t particulary have any connotations, and “child” and “love” on their own sound nice. “Call it pedophilia, not childlove” expresses objection to the strategy, and wants to keep the negative connotations in place.

Literal meaning is only one part of the meaning of words.

What is the difference between Orthodox Christianity and other forms of Christianity?

Oriental Orthodoxy and Church of the East have Christological differences from other Christian churches. The Church of the East (Assyrian) rejects the Council of Ephesus  (Christ–God is the same being as Christ–Man), and Oriental Orthodoxy rejects the Council of Chalcedon (Christ–God is a distinct nature from Christ–Man).

This diagram in Non-Chalcedonianism  helps: Non-Chalcedonianism .

The doctrinal distinction between Eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism  is the Filioque : whether the Holy Spirit proceeds from (obeys, if you like) the Son as well as the Father.

The substantial distinction between all the branches, of course, is not theological but identity-based: ritual and political.

Are Greeks an ethnoreligious group?

Weeell… in the Ottoman Empire (and in the Byzantine Empire before it), identity was primarily credal, organised as Millets (Ottoman Empire). As far as everyone in the Ottoman Empire was concerned, there were:

  • Muslims
  • Franks (Catholic)
  • Romans (Orthodox)
  • Armenians
  • Jews

See Albanians or Bulgarians in that list? Me neither. In fact, Bulgarians were only able to assert a distinct national identity by establishing a distinct ecclesiastical identity, through the Bulgarian Exarchate.

Ethnicity as we understand it did not factor much in how people understood identity. The Catholics of the Greek islands were ethnic Greeks, as were the Muslims of Crete; that didn’t matter. In the Millet way of thinking, Markos Vamvakaris was as much a Frank as Édith Piaf; and no distinction was to be made between a Muslim from Iraklio and a Muslim from Damascus.

That delayed the establishment of national identities in the Balkans. People were aware of the Albanian language, and had words for Albanians, for example; but Albanians were either Franks, Romans, or Muslims first, and Albanians second. That’s why it was so important for the Albanian nationalists to assert “the religion of Albania is Albanianism”. And why Greeks historically used the odd construction “Turk-Albanians” (who are just Muslim Albanians).

So. There are a lot of longstanding ethnic minorities in Greece, who identified as Romans through the Byzantine and the Ottoman periods, and transitioned to a Greek national identity after Greek Independence. That includes Arvanites (Albanian-speaking) and Aromanians (Romance-speaking), who may not have spoken a word of Greek but fought the Turks, because their identity was Orthodox.

Things with Slavic-speakers got a lot more contentious, of course, and I’ll wisely decide to avoid getting into it. There was some contentiousness with Aromanians too. But I will mention the entertaining case of the Kızderbent Trakatroukides:

  • Settled in Northeastern Turkey from southern Bulgaria.
  • Unlike the other Bulgarian villages of  Northeastern Turkey, did not join the Bulgarian Exarchate but stayed with the Greek Orthodox church.
  • Therefore did not join the other Bulgarians in leaving Turkey for Bulgaria in 1919.
  • Therefore instead were persecuted as Greeks and fled to Greece in 1923.
  • And the majority of them were settled in the village of Polypetro…
  • … whose local population spoke Makedonski.

The sum of the anecdotes is: Greek identity may not be ethnoreligious now, but “Roman” identity was ethnoreligious for a long time. Greek identity is in many ways a successor to “Roman” identity, so who ended up called “Greek” was not unrelated to who was called “Roman”.

And of course those historically non-Grecophone populations get very touchy if you tell them they aren’t Greek.

EDIT: Dimitra edited her answer in light of mine. I am now reciprocating.

Let’s set some parameters. There were three names in play.

* Romans (Ρωμιοί), which meant the Rum millet, and included everyone Greek Orthodox. I’ll claim that’s the ethnoreligious identity.

* Hellenes (Έλληνες), which meant the Ancient Greeks, and which the intelligentsia towards the end of the Ottomans started promoting over the other two names. That’s the modern name for Greeks; and though that may not have been the original intent it includes Greek nationals of all creeds (including Jews and Armenians—and though many Greeks may wince to acknowledge it, Muslims as well). I’ll claim that that’s the civic identity. Inasmuch as is there such a thing in Greece.

* Graikoi (Γραικοί), which was used less than the other names, but which I have seen used for ethnic Greeks. (The Aromanian writer Giorgos Exarchos is a quite loyal Greek, but he makes a point of distinguishing Graikoi Hellenes from Vlach Hellenes.) The word of course is just Greek for “Greek”. I’ll claim that that’s the ethnic identity.

Dimitra’s conclusion is that Greeks in Ottoman times were not ethnoreligious, because “If Greek Then Orthodox” did not map to “If Orthodox Then Greek”.

Now the equation “If Roman Then Orthodox” did map to “If Orthodox Then Roman”. Roman was an ethnoreligious identity; and Bulgarians, Albanians and Aromanians were Roman.

It is true that the Graikoi were a privileged group within the Romans. They had control of the Patriarchate (which ran the Rum millet), and they were quite happy for Graikoi and Romans to be conflated, at the expense of the other ethnicities.

BUT the culture they were privileging wasn’t a culture of modern vernacular Greek: it was Hellenic culture (Ancient Greek). And here’s the catch: Graikoi were only somewhat more privileged in their access to Hellenic culture than Bulgarians and Albanians. Remember that people did not always consider Ancient Greek the same language as Modern Greek. Greeks themselves called Modern Greek Romaic until independence; and their Western contemporaries often did too. And if Graikoi had to learn how to write in good Hellenic, well, so could Albanians and Bulgarians. (And of course, they did.)

So the equation Hellenes = Graikoi was disrupted: non-Grecophones had access to Hellenic culture. The equation Romans = Graikoi was disrupted: non-Grecophones were Orthodox. And the equation Hellenes = Romans was disrupted: the true Hellenes were pagans, and people were well aware of the discontinuity between Ancient and Mediaeval civilisation.

But the equation Roman iff Orthodox, of course, was not disrupted: it was a definition.

(It is now that Romios means something different—alignment with Greek identity through low rather than high culture—Hellene being the high culture, of course. Vamvakaris was a Frank not a Roman, but Greeks now will happily claim him as a Romios. I’ve heard Greek Christians claim that any Greek Jew who loves Kazantzidis must be a Romios.)


Was the definition of Roman = Orthodox forced on Graikoi, Bulgarians, Albanians, Aromanians etc by the Ottomans? I suspect it wasn’t, and that it was inherited from Byzantium. If you were Orthodox, you followed the Emperor’s  creed; if you were Catholic or Muslim, you were a foreigner, and if you were Jewish, you were a second class citizen. I don’t think the Byzantines overly worried about what your ethnicity was, whether you were Bulgarian (like John Koukouzelis) or Georgian (like John Tzetzes) or Armenian (like half the emperors). As long as you were Orthodox and wrote in Ancientish Greek, you were a good subject of the Roman Empire.

Were the Graikoi or the Bulgarians worried about ethnicity in Ottoman times? Again, I don’t think so. Partly because the term Graikoi was so rarely used to begin with, partly because you don’t hear much mention of the minority ethnicities at all.

I *think* I’m in agreement with Dimitra overall: Greeks as Hellenes are a civic identity now (Greek Jew, Έλληνας Εβραίος, is not a contradiction in terms); Greeks as Romans were an ethnoreligious identity back in the day. And this having been a reasonably recent transition, it has been a little bumpy.

“Greek Muslim”. Έλληνας Μουσουλμάνος. I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that  Christian Greeks are still uncomfortable with the concept.

(Google gives me 177 hits for Έλληνας Μουσουλμάνος, vs 2170 hits for Έλληνας Εβραίος. There are 98,000 Muslims in Greece and 5,000  Jews in Greece.)

What variable name should I use after Z if I am specifying coordinates in four dimensions?

Justin Rising is correct for the convention in mathematics.

As to what the 27th letter of the Roman Alphabet is: Thorn (letter) has been argued for.

In Greece, where are popular countries for Greek professionals to migrate to escape the Greek economic problems?

There’s a trickle of Greeks coming into Australia, mostly based on preexisting family connections  (or returnees whose children have ended up going back). The cafés of Oakleigh, Victoria  (the current Greektown of Melbourne) are awash with waiters speaking contemporary Greek slang, rather than codeswitching from 1950s village patois.

But Australia is, as my grandmother once said, πολλά αλάργο,* and most Greeks have indeed fled to Western Europe.

* Cretan dialect for “very far”. αλάργο is Italian a largo.

Do I need a good understanding of mathematics in order to excel at linguistics?

IMHO: for most disciplines no.

Steve Rapaport has spoken on Applied Linguistics; but Applied Linguistics is a very different discipline to Theoretical/General. Phonetics is an experimental science, so you’ll need statistics there.

Reconstructing in historical linguistics requires a degree of rigour and thinking in terms of rules which is a bit like maths, but only a bit. Ditto phonology and syntax, and I guess morphology. The other branches not so much.

Formal semantics has much in common with mathematical logic. But you’ll get more out  of philosophy than mathematics if you go that way.

What is the most expressive language you can make with just 20-30 words?

As I’ve said elsewhere here, for 60 basic concepts go to Natural semantic metalanguage. You can try cutting out concepts there, but you’re really, *really* going to crimp yourself in expressiveness.

What do you look like when you speak Ancient Greek (Koine) in Greece today?

How soon my fellow respondents forget Katharevousa. Just as well they do, too.

Katharevousa (Puristic Greek), the project of purifying Greek of the last 2000 years of linguistic evolution, was a motley, incoherent, and rarely lovely thing. Some of its grammar was Attic, a lot more of it was Koine, and by accident it ended up most similar to Mediaeval Greek (purists were winding back the clock as much as  was feasible, and not much was feasible).

Nonetheless, a Frank such as OP, trying to speak Koine in Greece with Modern Greek pronunciation, would be taken for a valiant attempt to speak a somewhat over the top Katharevousa. And given how much  of a moving target Katharevousa was, they would probably get away with it too.

So 130 years ago, OP would be fêted and complimented for their excellent Greek by the elite—who would mutter to each other “Look you, the Frank speaks better Hellenic than us!” The common herd would bow and walk away, with their prejudice confirmed that the Franks speak the same gibberish as the high and mighty.

80 years ago, OP would be complimented for their  excellent Greek by the establishment. Not fêted though. The more atticising versions of Katharevousa had already died out, so even the establishment would have started thinking OP odd. Since noone used Katharevousa in literature after 1900 (Cavafy doesn’t count), the intelligentsia would look askance at OP, and probably play practical jokes on them. The communists would beat OP up in an alley, convinced they were a British spy.

30 years ago, OP would have been greeted with gales of laughter. Katharevousa died 40 years ago, and it died through ridicule, as much as it did through guilt by association with the Colonels’ regime. Any survivals of Katharevousa by 1980 were jocular.