Why have the words “overmorrow” and “ereyesterday” gone? Was it easier for speakers to use “the day after tomorrow” instead of “overmorrow”?

It’s very hard to know. Language change is a bunch of stuff that happens, and language does not always change in an optimal direction. Greek has certainly retained its equivalent words, proxtes and methavrio (and even one more day out: antiproxtes, antimethavrio), it’s not like the concept had become suddenly useless.

The following is necessarily speculative. And these would be necessary but not sufficient conditions for the change.

  • The formations were no longer semantically transparent, and sounded archaic. Ere and morrow were obsolete. Over meaning day after was likely a dead metaphor.
  • The formations were useful, but not essential. So they did not have to be replaced when they dropped out of usage. We had days of the week, and we had calendar dates.
  • More speculatively: as a highly literate society, the early modern English were more across what day of the week and date it was, than their mediaeval English counterparts, or their Greek contemporaries. If you are a peasant and don’t regularly go to church, why would you need to know what day of the week it is? I know I have no idea what day of the week it is, when I’m on holiday.

EDIT: Vote #1 Brian Collins: Brian Collins’ answer to Why have the words “overmorrow” and “ereyesterday” gone? Was it easier for speakers to use “the day after tomorrow” instead of “overmorrow”? OED tentatively agrees with him that overmorrow, ereyesterday were made up by Myles Coverdale. (See my comment there.)

Why does cnidarian have a silent “c”?

For the same reason knight and knee (German Knecht, Knie) have a silent k (and used to have a c: Old English cnēo, cniht). English stopped allowing initial kn– in its words in the Middle Ages. Words imported into English from other languages tend to abide by the pronunciation constraints (phonotactics) of native English words.

So the initial /kn/ pronunciation was simplified in cnidarian, just as we don’t pronounce p-sychology or k-xenophobia with their initial consonants.

Answered 2017-01-24 · Upvoted by

Heather Jedrus, speech-language pathologist

What misconceptions about sex did you have growing up?

Well, I’d read the children’s encyclopaedia Childcraft when I was 6. And I was pretty proud of my reading capabilities.

Childcraft had an age-appropriate elucidation of the reproductive system. And I duly read that.

Somehow, this came up on a visit with my uncle George (God rest him) and aunt Hariklia. (She goes by Iris to you beef-eating barbarians.) So they asked me to elaborate on what I had learned about the mechanics of the reproductive system.

I remember being rather miffed that they found the whole thing uproariously funny.

Misconception? Well, Childcraft spoke of spermatozoa, and it spoke of the… delivery mechanism, shall we say. But it does not speak in any great detail about the delivery vector.

So I assumed sperm was a powder.

Well, how was I supposed to know? Little spermatozoa. Directional applicator. I must have just assumed they were puffed out as particles. Like a mist or something. And I clearly did not have the command of fluid dynamics, at the age of 6, to have worked out the downsides to such a vector.

What is proper name of the sound when pushing air through nose?

As a lay term rather than a linguistic description (Vote #1 Clarissa Lohr: Clarissa Lohr’s answer to What is proper name of the sound when pushing air through nose?), I was racking my brains: I was sure English had a word, and couldn’t place it. Something to do with flared nostrils. And huffiness.

Our fellow question-answerers at Stack Exchange are a step ahead of me:

Is there a term for letting out an exasperated sigh through the nose?


a snort articulated as a syllabic m or n with a voiceless onset and ending in a nasal h or a glottal stop; often read as ˈhəm(p)f.

That’s a voiced sound, and is in fact what I’ve only ever seen spelled as mpf; humph is 17th–19th century. From Stack Exchange, it looks like it’s the closest English has; someone explicitly asked for the voiceless equivalent of humph there.

PS: The reason I’m here and not on Stack Exchange:

Welcome to EL&U. Please note that this is not a discussion forum, but a Q&A site which seeks to provide definitive answers. As such, your answer would be greatly strengthened with an explanation— why would you propose suspirates? What is its dictionary definition? What are some examples in literature or journalism? I strongly encourage you to take the site tour and review the help center for additional guidance. – choster Oct 20 ’16 at 3:10

Makes for better answers. Makes for much worse socialising…

Answered 2017-01-24 · Upvoted by

Heather Jedrus, speech-language pathologist

What changes would you make to the official BNBR policy?

Ooh, where to start.

  • Tone policing is not cool. I disagree with that strongly, and I find it to be a chilling effect. (All the more chilling, because tone is policed so mightily inconsistently.) It shouldn’t be hoovering up protests about policy, as just befell John Gragson. It shouldn’t be hoovering up friendly banter between people in comments (which is quite obviously friendly banter), just because it will somehow Bring The Tone Down. Like Rick Klugman saying a mere “I hate you!” to someone teasing him. FFS.
    • And if you’re going to do Tone Policing, do it to everybody, starting with Quora Superstars. If Rick Klugman isn’t allowed to swear, Dan Holliday shouldn’t be either. Otherwise, you just make Quora look like it’s playing favourites.
  • Allied with that: public figures, and regimes, should be fair game.
    • BNBR should be about interactions between peers on this site, not about whether you say that Trump or Hillary, or the Pope or Richard Dawkins, or Lenin or Hitler, are arseholes.
      • I’ve read Tatiana’s recent defence of this, and I still find it untenable, and a trap for the unwary.
    • It shouldn’t be targeting you for saying that there’s a direct line between Wahhabi panic over idolatry and demolishing Palmyra, or calling your ex-Prime Minister an idiot for saying Islam needed a Reformation, when in fact Wahhabism was its Reformation. (Yeah, that was one of mine. Successfully appealed, and I have no idea which of the two was its trigger. Especially when it wasn’t even noted as BNBR, but as Spam?!)
  • The main problem with BNBR, as Garrett Murphy said, is the implementation. The outrageous opacity. The perfunctory form letters from Devin the Quora Intern. The lack of any confirmation that your appeal has been unsuccessful. The refusal to say what the hell it was in your 6 paragraph answer that triggered the BNBR to begin with, and the only intermittent quotation of the comment that triggered it. The lack of feedback on how you’re tracking towards an edit-block, meaning you feel like there’s a sword hanging over you at all times. (Habib Fanny is waiting from day to day to be banned. Habib! The Hermes of Quora! Of all people!)
  • The use of BNBR to justify opacity in any discussion of moderation actions, I continue to believe, is counterproductive.

I have, after some dragging of my feet, come to conclude that BNBR is a good thing. It has helped me step back from the brink more than once, and it’s allowed me to keep respect for my peers on Quora who I may have disagreed with.

I have less respect for the implementation of this policy. But those that follow me know that already.

Of all the Greek audio bibles out there, which one comes the closest to authentic reconstructed pronunciation?


That site has a review of 22 audio files, of which at least a couple are in reconstructed Koine. They’re what you’re after, rather than Erasmian or Modern Greek.

That said, read the answers to:

The Koine of the 1st century AD was a system in flux—and most of the flux had already ended up where Modern Greek is now. I buried in comments to my answers there this:

John 1:10-14

Εν τω κόσμω æν και ο κόσμος δι’ αυτού εγένετο και ο κόσμος αυτόν ουκ έγνω. Εις τα ίδια ǽλθεν και y ίδιy αυτόν ου παρέλαβον. Όσy δε έλαβον αυτόν έδωκεν αυτýς εξουσίαν τέκνα θεού γενέσθαι τyς πιστεύουσιν εις το όνομα αυτού. y ουκ εξ αιμάτων ουδέ εκ θελǽματος σαρκός ουδέ εκ θελǽματος ανδρός αλλ’ εκ θεού εγεννǽθæσαν. Και ο λόγος σαρξ εγένετο και εσκǽνωσεν εν æμίν και εθεασάμεθα την δόξαν αυτού δόξαν ως μονογενούς παρά πατρός πλǽρæς χάριτος και αληθείας

Apart from the etas and upsilons, and the bilabial pronunciation of phi and beta, it pretty much already was Modern Greek. And conversely, if you’re going to teach to spelling, Erasmian (or for that matter reconstructed Ancient Greek) are a more sensible choice anyway, as a stable target lining up with the spelling. It is in fact what you’re asking for, OP (“both the aspirated consonants and the diphthongs right”), as opposed to what was likely spoken at the time.

If the purpose is teaching, rather than jumping in a time machine to hear Greek spoken the way Mark and Paul spoke it, I’d stick with Erasmian.

Is there any chance that Quora will turn into a paid website in the upcoming years?

Is there a chance? Of course there’s a chance.

Quora has received a finite amount of venture capital. That venture capital will eventually run out. And by eventually, I mean a few years.

What happens next? We will find out then. But there is a finite number of obvious options.

  • Quora gets more venture capital. But Quora is not the hot property it used to be for venture capitalists.
  • Quora becomes a not for profit like Wikipedia. That would be nice, but I don’t see it as likely.
  • Quora becomes sustainable through advertising. The ads so far are inobtrusive. A little too inobtrusive. But maybe that strategy will pay off.
  • Quora becomes a subscriber based site. Very unlikely to succeed.
  • Quora makes its money off the AI and the bots and the knowledge base, or Intranet Q&A sites, and the public Q&A site becomes a loss leader. That would be neat. It might be too late for it though.
  • Quora gets acquired by someone like Facebook or Google.
  • Quora goes bust, and its content goes the way of Geocities.

All these outcomes are possible. In my uninformed opinion, a subscriber site is the least likely outcome.

How does Armenian sound like to foreigners?

Disclosure: my wife’s cousin is married to someone who works at Hrant Dik’s newspaper, and was in the office when he was killed. A painfully distressed look washed over him when it came up in Üsküdar.

Western Armenian: you mean it isn’t Turkish? Yeah, that surprised me too. I could hear all the aspirates, but the intonation really was indistinguishable for me from Turkish.

Eastern Armenian: This actually sounds a lot more like what little Western Armenian I’ve heard from my wife’s circle. Which is odd. Clearer consonants, much more distinctive ch’s.

Other than that…

Oh God, this is going to be so predictable. Can you predict this?

Pegah Esmaili can predict I’ll say this. And so can Mehrdad Dəmirçi. Because I’ve said this already about their language.

It sounds Persian. It’s the back a’s, and the easy flow of the intonation.