Which area of modern Greece, proceeded in preparation for statehood (independance), that was cancelled, in later stages?

Crete was autonomous, though the Cretans always intended union with Greece as far as I can tell. Samos was autonomous as well, though I have no reason to think they intended statehood.

There was a very short lived Provisional Government of Western Thrace, set up in the aftermath of the Balkan Wars, to try and prevent a Bulgarian takeover.

Outside of modern Greece, there was talk of an independent Pontic republic, and of an autonomous Greek republic in Southern Russia.

If atom is Ancient Greek for uncuttable, what is Ancient Greek for divisible?

Democritus was going with the notion that, if you kept cutting a substance in half (as Dimitra Triantafyllidou explains the verb), an atom is where you got to when you couldn’t split it any more.

tmētos and a-tomos are both adjectives derived from different variants of temnō “cut, split”. There is no adjective *tomos “cuttable” corresponding to a-tomos “un-cuttable”; but there is no meaning difference that I can tell between the two.

The -able is only implicit in a-tomos: it’s quite literally “uncut”, as a permanent state of affairs, ergo “uncuttable”.

There is no necessary -able notion in tmētos: it actually is defined in LSJ as “cut, shaped by cutting”. LSJ defines some –tos adjectives as “X-ed” (dartos “flayed”, gyristos “rounded, curved”), some as “able to be X-ed” (dēlētos “able to be shown”, detos “that may be bound”), and some as both (dektos “accepted, acceptable”, and Manolis Fanourgakis’ word, diairetos “divided, divisible”).

But yeah, if you want an opposite to atomos in Greek, tmētos is the closest you can get; and in the right context, tmētos could have been interpreted as “cuttable” (i.e. divisible) rather than “cut”.

diaireō means “take apart, cleave in twain, divide”; so it could have been used instead of temnō for what Democritus had in mind (adiairetos, “undivided, indivisible”). But while diaireō in classical times could still refer to chopping things, it was more commonly used about dividing things for sharing, distributing. atomos is explicitly about chopping things.

How did you get your nickname?

They’re defunct nicknames, and I’m answering this for my fans. 🙂

When I was in Year 8 in high school: Acka Nicka. Because I hit puberty a little early, and acne (Australian slang: ackers) followed soon after.

When I went to a less Lord Of The Flies high school in Year 9: Nick Squared. Because my name and surname are pretty similar.

EDIT: Oh, forgot:

opoudjis is my online name; my PhD was on the distribution of the Modern Greek particle opou, and a Greek lexicographer (who was writing the entry on the word at the time) greeted me once with “Oh! You’re the other opou-guy!” (Είστε ο άλλος οπουτζής!)

More at: opoudjis

How do you translate the word ‘dreamer’ in Greek?

This couldn’t be another Google Translate question from…

…. yes! Anon! Strikes again!

ονειροπόλος. Which actually originally meant interpreter of dreams. The Triantafyllides dictionary Λεξικό της κοινής νεοελληνικής says the meaning switch is via French rêvasseur—which implies, at least, that this Homeric word was reimported into Modern Greek, incorrectly, to fill a gap identified by a French word. And that makes it an instance of those false friend borrowings Aziz Dida has been asking for (What are some “mistakenly borrowed” words in your language (“false friends)?)

No, Anon. No pronunciation key for you. I don’t think you’ve earned it.

Why does the Greek alphabet have the letters Xi (ξ) and Psi (ψ)?

So… what did I find when I was looking at the history of the Greek alphabets, in Jeffrey’s monograph?


The second problem is that not all the sibilants were present in all the dialects. Most Greek scripts initially avoided xi, and wrote /ks/ as ΧΣ; Jeffery (1990:32) suspects the Ionians held on to it because /ks/ in Ionic could be realised as [kʃ] (which is speculative), and under the influence of neighbouring non-Hellenic languages like Carian which did have /ʃ/. (Circumstantial evidence for this lies in the separate Ionic invention of sampi as yet another sibilant, after they’d skipped san.) Once the Milesian alphabet was adopted by Athens, xi was reintroduced to the rest of Greece as /ks/.

So: possibly, xi was an attempt to make use of a Phoenecian letter with a /ʃ/ pronunciation (actually samekh was the /ʃ/ pronunciation: the letters got mixed up). It stuck around in Ionic, maybe because they had a use for the sound; and then accidentally came back into the standardised Milesian alphabet, which was Ionian.

That does not explain psi, which was not necessarily Phoenecian to begin with. As https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ps… reminds me, it was /kʰ/ in Western Greek, and /ps/ in Eastern Greek. My suspicion: /kʰ/, which makes more sense for Greek, came first; and was reinterpreted in Eastern Greek as a counterpart to xi, since Eastern Greek already had a chi.

I don’t have a basis for that; but whatever happened, xi, as the definite Phoenecian letter, came first, and psi followed.

EDIT (cc Vladimir Menkov): Kicking myself, checking Wikipedia on an unrelated matter:

History of the Greek alphabet

The unusual use of special letters for the consonant clusters [kʰs] and [pʰs] can be explained by the fact that these were the only combinations allowed at the end of a syllable. With this convention, all Greek syllables could be written with at most one final consonant letter.

Damn. It’s so obvious…

Was Brexit’s 50% threshold too low?

A referendum that is of epochal consequence for a polity needs to be decisive, in order to settle the issue, instead of converting the referendum to a neverendum. Which is why referendums to change constitutions (for those countries that have them) don’t have a 50% threshold; and why federal polities require enhanced majorities of states as well as votes. And given how disruptive the consequences are, the dice do indeed need to be loaded against change, whoever is advocating it.

That’s not Athenian democracy, but neither is anything else in Britain or the West. That is a reasonable check and balance on a popular vote, in favour of stability.

What Cameron was thinking when he came up with this particular referendum is irrelevant to that. The nuttiness of the British political system, whereby you can have a referendum but not deem it binding, is also irrelevant to that.

Have any newspapers had contradictory editorials on the Brexit?

OP, asked because I’ve just seen one here in Australia, and you really don’t see that kind of thing often:

The Australian. Rupert’s more intellectual newspaper. (I’ll spare you the partisan epithets; let’s just say, it’s the newspaper I hand to my wife with disdain at breakfast.) Two front page editorials, also reflected on their paywalled website:

Greg Sheridan and Paul Kelly (journalist) are both pretty Tory; if anything, Kelly is more Tory. But having the front page of a Murdoch paper go all Crossfire (TV series) is… odd. I don’t remember seeing its like before.

Subsidiary question: what is going on in the Oz? Main question: is this happening anywhere else?

Why does the Greek language sound like Spanish?

Originally Answered:

Why do Spanish and Greek sound so similar?

OP is right, and Joseph Boyle gets it, while Yiannis Tsiolis and Eve Vavilis are in fact being misled by already knowing Greek. (Ditto Laura Hale for already knowing Spanish, porque tiene una mujer española).

The question can’t be answered by someone who already knows Greek;* they’ll be looking for words they recognise (as did Laura); which is not the point. The question is not about similar words, it is only about the languages sounding similar.

(*OK, I don’t know Spanish as well as Greek, though I did hear a lot of Univision while living in SoCal. But I’m a linguist! Yay me.)

To someone who knows neither language, Greek and Spanish will indeed sound similar, for the reasons Joseph gave: [θ] and [ð] (although that’s not what jumps out as a similarity to me), the same vowels, lack of long-short vowel contrast, open syllables including words mostly ending in vowels, n, or r.

It’s really the vowels and syllable structure that does it. The structure fits Esperanto quite well, which is why some Esperantists recommend Greek/Spanish as the model to follow; and others resent them, as encouraging a rat-tat-tat rapid fire pronunciation, because they lack long vowels.

The intonation is probably going to be completely different; you won’t mistake a Mexican for a Cretan. But if you pick not-too-sing-song accents in each language, and turn the volume down so you can’t make out the words too clearly, yeah, they do sound alike.

What song makes you so sad that you actually tear up?

Gustav Mahler: Der Tambourg’sell.

It’s an wrenching, heart-on-sleeve story of a soldier about to be executed. And the stanza that resounds with me most is not the final (“Farewell, marble rocks; farewell, mountains and hills”); it’s not even the second (“Oh, gallows, you tall house, you look so frightening”).

It’s the third:

Wenn Soldaten vorbeimarschier’n,
bei mir nit einquartier’n.
Wenn sie fragen, wer i g’wesen bin:
Tambour von der Leibkompanie!

When soldiers march past,
that are not billeted with me,
When they ask who I used to be:
Drummer of the first company!

“Who I used to be.” All my life’s regrets, rolled into one.