If “gnothi seauton” is “know thyself”, what would “love thyself” be in ancient Greek?


ἀγάπα σεαυτόν agápa seautón. That’s the imperative. Konstantinos Konstantinides’ ἀγαπᾶν σεαυτόν agapân seautón is the infinitive “to love yourself”. The quote from St Matthew in Evangelos Lolos uses the future indicative agapēseis: “you shall love your neighbour like yourself.”

Chad Turner went with the middle voice imperative of philéō: φιλέου “be loved [by thyself]”. The verb is fine—Greek philosophers used philéō more than agapáō, and I think agapáō became more popular in Koine. But the cultural resonance of the New Testament use of agapáō is pretty strong; and while the middle voice as a reflexive is intelligible, the unambiguous reflexive seauton is a lot clearer. (If you want to use this verb in the imperative, it’s φίλει σεαυτόν phílei seautón.)

How far did the influence of Ancient Greek spread?

OK, let’s dispense with hora quickly. Not to belabour it, but yes, coincidence.

Probabilities add up pretty quickly in real life, in a way that clashes with our seeking of patterns: See Birthday problem – Wikipedia. If you put 23 randoms in the same room, there is a 50% probability that two of them will share the same birthday.

The probability is so high, because the coincidence is not that, say, Amy and Nick both have the same birthday on August 29. It’s that any two people out of the 23 will have the same birthday on any of the 365 days of the year. That’s a lot of possible coincidences.

Two random bisyllabic words in two languages, sounding kinda similar and meaning kinda the same thing? It’s guaranteed. Coincidences do happen.

The Bulgarian word for “come!” being elate, and identical to Greek ελάτε? That’s a lot more plausible as a loanword.

The most random spread of Greek, I’d say, is meli in Hawaiian: Nick Nicholas’ answer to What are some (longer) words that appear or are considered false cognates, but which could plausibly be actual cognates?

What’s the furthest spread of Ancient Greek in lexis? It’s a great question, and I don’t think I’ll do it justice.

  • Via Christianity, there’s a smattering of Greek words in most languages with a tradition of Christianity. Bishop and church barely look like episkopos and kyriake [oikia].
  • Via Latin and Modern scholarship, there’s more than a smattering of Greek words in probably more languages by now.

Neither of those are what you’re after though.

  • There are some Greek words in Hebrew, such as sanhedrin < synedrion, Epikoros < Epicurus.
  • Then there’s um… *googles*… *finds hit in Google Books*… *hey, I own that book!* A History of Ancient Greek (I own it in the Greek original).

This leviathan of a book has 110 pages on language contact between Greek and: Semitic, Thracian, Illyrian, Phrygian, Carian, Lycian, Lydian, Iranic, Etruscan, Latin, Hebrew, Coptic, Syriac, Celtic, Indic, Arabic. (The contact could be either way.)

They’re all neighbours of Greek, and the furthest reach is Indic. Let me pick the far reaches I find interesting:

  • Iranic: Middle Persian dēnar, Modern dīnar < δηνάριος. Middle Persian drahm, Modern dirham < δραχμή. Middle & Modern Persian almās < ἀδάμας ‘diamond’. Middle Persian asēm, Modern sīm < ἄσημος ‘silver’. Sogdian nwm < νόμος ‘law’. Khotan Saka lakāna < λακάνη ‘basin’. Pashto mēčan, Ormuri mučin < μηχανή ‘grindstone’.
  • Gaulish: possibly calques, e.g. goddess name Rocloisia ‘listener’ < ἐπήκοος, tooutios < πολίτης ‘citizen?’
  • Old Indic stratega < στρατηγός ‘general’, meriakha < μεριδιάρχης ‘battalion commander’, anakaya < ἀναγκαῖος ‘honorary title, initially relative of ruler’; these military terms lasted for just a couple of centuries, and never made it into Sanskrit. Sanskrit did borrow some trade terms: khalīna < χαλινός ‘bridle’, paristoma < περίστρωμα ‘bedcover’, kastīra < κασσίτερος ‘tin’, melā < μέλαν ‘ink’.
    • Sabeshan Iyer adds: kēndra < κέντρον ‘centre’, suranga < σύριγξ ‘tunnel/underground passage’
  • Arabic: any pre-Islamic loans are via Aramaic or Persian; e.g. dirham. In the Koran, the only loans direct from Greek are fulk < ἐφόλκιον ‘ship’ and possibly iblīs < διάβολος ‘devil’. Another 15 words are via Aramaic or Pahlavi; e.g. zawǧ < ζεῦγος ‘pair’, qamīṣ < καμίσιον ‘shirt’, burūǧ < πύργος ‘tower’.

How can I use emojis on Quora? When I try to use them, it translates them into numbers, letters, and symbols.

Go to Uri Granta’s answer to Why can’t I use some basic emotional marks and emoji on Quora?

Open Suggest Edits.

Discover that emojis, and Plane 1 characters, ARE INDEED SUPPORTED BY QUORA, via its unicode macro. [math]unicode{x1F60E} unicode{x1F631} [/math]

And if you do start using emojis, don’t be surprised if people start reporting you for bad formatting.

Did Quora hire new French- and Spanish-speaking moderators for their language expansions or were there already multilingual staff?

Quora did not have any staff on the ground in a Spanish-speaking country, as of the launch of Quora en Español:

Quora in Spanish, which for the moment will be managed entirely from its headquarters in Mountain View in order to create a homogeneous product. (Some thoughts on the launch of Quora in Spanish – Enrique Dans)

In their interviews at around the time of the launch, D’Angelo and VP of Engineering Xavier Amatriain emphasised the importance of machine learning in many aspects of Quora, including moderation:

A glance at the English version suggests they are on the right track: in addition to an impressive moderating system that allows good answers to surface in the early stages and gain a high level of visibility, the company uses machine learning to carry out tasks such as moderation, spam detection or choosing the recommended questions for each user. In fact, the reason why Xavier Amatriain was signed up was his experience in the development of the largely recognized algorithms for Netflix recommendations. (Some thoughts on the launch of Quora in Spanish – Enrique Dans)

As of 28 October 2016, users on Quora en Español had the impression that there are no native-speaking moderators: ¿Hay actualmente algún moderador en Quora que sea hablante nativo de español?. I discount Aurelio Germes’ answer, that the community is self-moderating so Quora staff receiving moderation requests should not be considered as moderators. Maria Sefidari’s guess in that answer is that while there are more or less a dozen moderators on Quora in English, there are only one or two for Quora en Español, given how recently it has come out of beta; but she anticipates that it will grow and will include native speakers.

There is only one staff member with the title “Writer Relations International at Quora”, as far as Google is concerned, and they are also mentioned in the press released about the launch of Quora en Español. While I do not know what the job description “Writer Relations” involves, moderation appears to be a subset of it.

EDIT: Sihem Soibinet-Fekih, French Writer Relations, is also based in Mountain View, but is a native speaker of French.