Cartoons from my first BNBR

In What happened next? by Nick Nicholas on The Insurgency and My first BNBR warning by Nick Nicholas on The Insurgency, I reported an exchange between myself and Carlos Matias La Borde, and invited Quorans to speculate on what happened next. The prize for the most accurate response, and the funniest response, was a cartoon.

This is Philip Newton’s prize:

By time honoured convention in the Gallery of Awesomery, Philip is not allowed to smile. Because he lives in Germany.

Besides the two Top Writer quills on his mantelpiece (and another in his hand), there is a book apiece on Lojban, Klingon, Esperanto, and Greek. As should be obvious to all of you from the logos.

This is John Gragson’s prize:

Yes, I know full well that John is not a British barrister. But English barristers are so much cooler to draw!

No, I don’t know who the judge is, complete with gavel. I have a fair idea who the defendant is, though!

And this is an artist’s rendering of the actual incident:

Why did you learn German as a foreign language?

For my part, because all the smart kids in my school did two languages, instead of one language and Art. As you can see from Gallery of Awesomery, not doing Art has paid off.

In the eighties, the two main languages being taught in Australia were still French and German, which was a cultural inheritance from Britain. So I learnt French and German. The year after my year, French and Japanese were also offered together. I would have welcomed the challenge of Japanese in my twenties, but not, I think, in my teens.

That’s why I started. Why I continued with it was falling in love with German culture, working in a discipline that depended on German scholarship, and making excellent German-speaking friends. Which I have continued to do here.

What are the “Burger-ish” foods in your culture or country? I suspect every culture has their own burger/sandwich-like food: hearty, inexpensive, easy to prepare, consistent with meat in between flour/rice/corn-based bread thing.

God Bless New Zealand for maintaining the time-honoured traditions we’re less attached to in Australia! James Barr’s answer to What are the “Burger-ish” foods in your culture or country? I suspect every culture has their own burger/sandwich-like food: hearty, inexpensive, easy to prepare, consistent with meat in between flour/rice/corn-based bread thing. details the venerable Dead Horse.

James Barr doesn’t call it that: rhyming slang is another, time-honoured tradition from London which Australians have now largely abandoned. Rhyme for “pie and sauce”.

There are pies to be had still in Australia, but they don’t have the hegemony they once did. (And even back in the day, say the 60s, they shared space with Cornish pasties.)

What has taken their place? The burger, certainly. McDonalds and Burger King (here branded as Hungry Jacks) had the hegemony beforehand; but the old fashioned fish & chip shop burger was their background:

And the gourmet burger chains like Grill’d Healthy Burgers are doing very well now:

—to the extent that McDonalds is having to make their own to-order gourmet burgers, to stay competitive: CYT Homepage | McDonald’s Australia

The Steak Sandwich is the other venerable legacy of the fish & chip shop, although it’s not as big now as it used to be:

Of course, we now have burritos, and souvlakis (very very different from souvlakis in Greece), and pork rolls, and sushi.

To which extent was Greek a spoken language by the native population in the early Greek state in 1823?

Let’s take the Greek State as 1832, when it had fixed boundaries.

I’m also going to use the pre-2010 Prefectures of Greece to break down the area of the new State.

We know that Arvanitika was spoken widely in the new Greek state. We know that many who fought in the War of Independence were monolingual Albanian speakers, who could not understand the instructions of Greek commanders.

15 of the 2010 prefectures were part of the new State. Of these:

  • Arvanitika was the most widely spoken in Attica, Boeotia, Corinthia, and the Argolid, and the southern half of Euboea.
    • As far as I know, it was all of Boeotia, most of Attica (Greek was limited to Athens, Aegina and Megara), most of Corinthia, and the eastern half of the Argolid.
  • Arvanitika was a minority language in Messenia, Achaea, Arcadia, Laconia, and the Cyclades. Per Arvanitika – Wikipedia, not Elis.
  • That leaves, by my guess, just 5 prefectures out of 15 where Arvanitika was not spoken: Phthiotis, Phocis, Eurytania, Aetolia & Acarnania, Elis.

Arvanitika and Greek were the major languages of the new State. I’m not aware of any Ladino: Jews in southern Greece spoke Greek. Not aware of any Slavonic spoken there since the Middle Ages. There would have been some Romany and Turkish spoken. There is a pocket of Aromanian spoken in Acarnania, per Aromanian language – Wikipedia.

I don’t have population numbers handy, and I don’t know if anyone does. Going by geography, Arvanitika was not the majority language, but it could easily have been spoken by a quarter of the population.

How are Top Writers selected on Quora?

Well, there’s all the guesses on How can I become a Top Writer on Quora?, and the little hints dropped by Quora Inc, such as in Announcing Top Writers 2017 by Jonathan Brill on The Quora Blog:

As always, selection criteria include: the number, quality, and popularity of contributions, and moderation history.

So, the main criterion applied is being a good member of the community. Although yes, lots of head scratching about the relative weighting of these factors, and opacity that doesn’t do anyone any favours.

That isn’t the only criterion applied though. Two other criteria that have been applied are:

  • Being an employee of Quora, regardless of the number, quality, and popularity of contributions (compared to other users). There has been discussion about this in the past (see Why have so many Quora employees awarded themselves Top Writer status?) This has been done presumably for reasons of dogfooding.
  • Being a wellknown person outside of Quora, and not really much of a contributor to the community at all. For example, I give you the latest first-time Top Writer for 2017: Hillary Clinton.

I wonder if she’ll be wearing her Top Writer wind-cheater to any events…