Pegah and Lyonel’s mutually assured destruction

Lyonel Perabo and Pegah Esmaili had an odd exchange in their respective answers Pegah Esmaili’s answer to What would you do if you were the only female in the world? and Lyonel Perabo’s answer to What would you do if you were the only male in the world? This mainly played out in the comment threads on each question.

Read them to contextualise this artist’s impression of their doom. A rather one-sided doom……

cc Pegah Esmaili, refer Pegah Esmaili’s answer to What would you do if you were the only female in the world?

Why does Grecani language not exist in Sicily (Magna Grecia)?

We know from Salvatore Cusa’s collection of church deeds from Sicily that Greek remained in use in official contexts until at least the 1300s—with the “correctness” of the Greek gradually degrading.

We know that the use of Greek in Calabria and Salento steadily declined, with much wider areas using Greek in the 16th century.

If the use of Greek was in gradual retreat over the past millennium throughout Southern Italy and Sicily, following the Norman conquest, then… well, then it happens to have retreated quicker in Sicily than in Southern Italy. The Calabrian enclave is certainly relatively inaccessible (that’s why it’s in the ‘Ndrangheta’s heartland).

What is the relationship between syntagmatic and paradigmatic?

They are the two relationships between linguistic elements that define how language works, according to structuralism. They are complementary.

The syntagmatic relationship is how linguistic elements can be sequenced. It’s syntax. And morphology. And phonotactics.

The paradigmatic relationship is which linguistic elements behave in the same way in syntagmatic relationships. It’s lexicon. And phonetics. And the… other bit of morphology.

The syntagmatic relationship gives you the structure of language; the paradigmatic relationship defines the function of individual bits of language.

Are there any true Spartans in Greece today?

There are two subgroups of Greeks in the general neighbourhood of Sparta, which were isolated from the Greek mainstream for a while, and who speak more archaic variants of Greek. You’ll hear people call them the descendants of Spartans. I don’t think it’s a meaningful thing to say; there’s been a lot of DNA traffic in the Peloponnese, and being a True Spartan is about the cultural norms that Bob Hannent alludes to—and which have not survived. Thank the Dioscurides.

One subgroup are the Tsakonians. Some derive their name from Laconians; some not. There is Doric in their language, but not as much as pop linguistics claims (Hubert Pernot was the most comprehensive student of Tsakonian, and a Doric skeptic). And Doric is not the most fascinating thing about the language anyway. And in terms of “national character”, they don’t seem to have been that different from their Greek-speaking neighbours.

The other subgroup are the Maniots. Their dialect is much closer to Standard Greek, but it still has distinctive archaisms. They have a reputation for ferocity, and were consumed by blood feuds; it took decades for the new Greek state to establish law and order in the area. Are they true Spartans? Well, they probably think so.

But yeah, having to provide an armed escort to people in case a sniper will get them during a blood feud (the xevgartis) may have been normal in Mani; but that does not make you King Leonidas.

In this map from Wikipedia, Tyros in the east is in Tsakonia, Oitylos and Gytheion in the south are in Mani, and Sparte is Sparta.

Why do British parliamentarians say “hear, hear”?

Sorry to do this, folks, but:

Hear, hear (Wikipedia):

Hear, hear is an expression used as a short, repeated form of hear him. It represents a listener’s agreement with the point being made by a speaker.

It was originally an imperative for directing attention to speakers, and has since been used, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, as “the regular form of cheering in the House of Commons“, with many purposes, depending on the intonation of its user.

Its use in Parliament is linked to the fact that applause is normally (though not always) forbidden in the chambers of the House of Commons andHouse of Lords.

The phrase hear him, hear him! was used in Parliament from late in the 17th century, and was reduced to hear! or hear, hear! by the late 18th century. The verb hear had earlier been used in the King James Bible as a command for others to listen.

Which means Aziz Dida is right.

How often do you go through other Quora users’ edits?

Ah, you’re a bunch of meanies.

Sometimes, to work out why on earth this individual has fallen afoul of Quora Moderation. Often, it leaves me none the wiser.

On occasion, I’m stalking someone I follow, to get more of their Quora goodness, especially if I haven’t heard from them in a while. (That’s the only way to see others’ comments together.) That’s much rarer though, I may have done it three or four times.

Does an equivalent of cursive exist in other alphabets?

Greek: there was a cursive modelled after Western cursive in the 19th/20th century. It fell out of use long before computers (I was never taught it in school); I have seen it in letters from the 50s.

The main differences to what you might expect: kappa looking like a <u>; pi as an omega with a loop (ϖ); tau as a tall slash; psi looking like a <y>.

This sample of the Lord’s Prayer, from Karl Faulmann Illustrirte Geschichte der Schrift, Wien 1880, is a little neater than I’m used to seeing, but it’s a fair representation:

That’s distinct from mediaeval manuscript writing in Greek, or the Italic of printing in the 16th through 18th centuries (which I keep referring to as “squiggle”).

Why do some Australians have accents similar to the English while others sound more like Crocodile Dundee?

I’m sure I’ve already answered this more fully elsewhere on Quora, but:

The distinction in Australian accents has historically been much more about class than region; the three distinctions identified 50 years ago were Cultivated Australian, General Australian, and Broad Australian.

Cultivated Australian was pretty much the same as British Received Pronunciation, except that its plural -es was formed as -əz instead of -ɪz.

Broad Australian is “Crocodile Dundee”. Or Steve Irwin.

General Australian is in the middle.

Cultivated Australian is much, much less prominent now than 50 years ago, when every doctor and lawyer on TV sounded like they’d just flown in from London. It’s fair to say it has been stigmatised.