Which party would the average American Democrat vote for if they moved to your country? And why do you think that?

As all the other answers have said, there is just too broad a spectrum of views within the American Democrat party for us to speak of an average Democrat. Unless, of course, that is code for “moderate Democrat” or even “blue dog Democrat”.

Australia too has two big tent major parties.

  1. Labour has a left wing, but not much of a left-wing policy anymore, and the Labour Right has been dominant for a while. The Labour Right has a socially conservative constituency, which is part of the reason why Australia still has not legalised gay marriage.
  2. The Liberals have a moderate and a conservative wing. Formerly, the split was about economic policy. In the past decade, the split has mostly been about social conservatism, with the moderates more libertarian and the conservatives more authoritarian. That split is the current big story in Australian politics.
  3. The Nationals have been in lock-step Coalition with the Liberals for the past four generations, and their brand of agrarian populism does not appear to have had much impact on government policy when they have been in government.

As with much of the West, the two major parties’ fervour has hollowed out, and they have bled votes to populists:

  1. Left wing populists (formerly the Australian Democrats, nowadays the Greens, who have locked up the inner city intelligentsia),
  2. Right wing populists (of which One Nation is only the most notorious),
  3. And even Centrist populists (the original Australian Democrats, back when Labour was still a left wing party; nowadays the Nick Xenophon Team).

So the landscape is just as messy as America, and the two major parties are fractious coalitions just as in America. But third parties are slightly better established, and of course the social consensus is to the left of America, both socially and economically.

A social conservative Republican might make their home grudgingly in the Conservative wing of the Liberals, and the newly bellicose Conservative Liberals have certainly been borrowing rhetoric from America. But they would be bothered by the abundance of RINO equivalents, and may eventually flee to a more principled party. One Nation, possibly, if they’re anxious about culture and race; Family First or Rise Up Australia if they are Christianist.

A libertarian Republican might make their home grudgingly in the Moderate wing of the Liberals, and the newly supine Moderate Liberals have certainly been borrowing rhetoric from America. But they would be bothered by the abundance of big government statists even in the Moderate flank, and may eventually flee to a more principled party. The only real alternative is the Liberal Democrats—which by Australian standards is horridly right wing (Why Ridiculously Stupid White Man David Leyonhjelm Will Lose His 18c Racial Discrimination Case – New Matilda)—simply because Australians are really not used to libertarian rhetoric. (Yes, New Matilda is left wing.)

In terms of sentiment, a Sandersnista would gravitate to the Greens, who are the only somewhat mainstream voice against refugee demonisation and for gay marriage. (Labor has been riven on both, because of its big tent.) A Clintonista would gravitate to Labor, and Labor functionaries do apprenticeships in Democrat campaigns.

In terms of actual economic or social policy, a Sandersnista would probably find themselves somewhere in the Labor party (more to the left socially, more to the right economically). A Clintonista would find themselves freaking out at the overt power of Unions in the Labor party, and hopping between Labor Right and Moderate Liberals.

Just as outsiders can see American politics more clearly than those caught up in its culture wars, so too I trust that an American Clintonista can actually make out some sunlight between Labor Right and Moderate Liberals…

Where in Australia do most expats from South Africa live?

In my experience, Perth by far. Enough that the South African presence in Perth is very visible: it’s one of the largest ethnic subgroups there. (Perth has not had the same level of Mediterranean or Asian migration as Sydney or Melbourne.) South African restaurants are common there, and very uncommon in Melbourne (though I’ve still found a couple of places that had biltong.)

It helps that Perth is so much closer to South Africa, of course.

What is the real meaning of κόλασις αἰώνιος (kolasis aionios)?

This phrase is a false friend.

In Modern Greek, it sounds like “eternal hell”. In Modern Greek it would in fact be αιώνια κόλαση: the word order is slightly more fixed, adjectives before feminine nouns must have an -a and not an -o ending, and the third declension has been merged into the first.

In Ancient Greek, it is not eternal hell. It is eternal punishment, eternal chastisement. That particular word for punishment was used a lot in the New Testament and Christianity for what happens to sinners after death; so it was transferred across to the place where that punishment happens. Lampe’s dictionary mentions that meaning in a couple of passages in the 4th century AD, but they still look like meaning just “punishment” to me. The earliest examples Kriaras’ dictionary of Early Modern Greek has meaning “hell” are from 16th century Crete.

A semantic dictionary of late mediaeval Greek remains a desideratum; Trapp’s Lexikon is wonderful, but as Trapp himself admitted to me, it simply doesn’t do semantics. (In fact, it skips words that existed already, because it’s about new words; there is no entry in Trapp for kolasis.)

Answered 2017-05-18 · Upvoted by

Chad Turner, Classics PhD, specializing in Greek tragedy and Greek/Roman mythology

Is there any font for writing in cuneiform?

Every once in a while, I take offence at the possibility that any Unicode script might not be rendered on my Mac—even if I never use the script, will never see the script, and will have no idea what the script even is. And I go hunting for free fonts.

There are five cuneiform blocks in Unicode: Ugaritic (Unicode block), Old Persian (Unicode block), and three blocks for Sumero-Akkadian: Cuneiform (Unicode block) , Cuneiform Numbers and Punctuation, and Early Dynastic Cuneiform.

These are the fonts sitting on my computer, and the blocks they contain. Fonts containing Sumero-Akkadian are in boldface.

The Akkadian and Aegean fonts are by George Douros, and the world owes him gratitude for his Unicode Fonts for Ancient Scripts, including his typographically meticulous fonts for Greek.

How many children did your grandparents have?

My maternal grandparents (Crete) had five (1940–1953). John, Helen, Maria, Georgia, George.

My paternal grandparents (Cyprus) had nine (1926–1947), of which one was still-born (Angelica) and one died of smallpox as a toddler (Kostas). George,† Helen, Chris, Stavros, Dora,† Andrew, Savvas. As Savvas once said to me, “the machine kept going, until it stopped.” The first child migrated when the last was six months old; I think they all were in the same room only once after that, when Dora was dying of cancer in ’81.

How has your time on Quora changed your perception on Albanians?

As Albanians here know, I am intrigued by Albania, to the extent of filling a few Albanian Quorans’ feeds. That was triggered in the main by an interest in Balkan linguistics, plus Albanian being the local isolate branch of Indo-European.

I didn’t have a particularly negative impression of Albanians before I came to Quora. Unfortunately, what little contact I had with Albanians was in the context of the influx of Albanians as workers in Greece in the 90s: they were somewhat guarded, quite busy trying to make ends meet, and treated with contempt by Greeks. (The grudging respect came later, and it needed the next wave of migration to come through. Just as has happened with Greeks in Australia, in fact.) And of course Albania had just come out of the dead years of Hoxha, chaotically.

I knew from reading that there were intellectuals in Albania, that they were proud, and that I’d have a lot in common with them culturally. I just didn’t really get the opportunity to explore it that much until now.

I have had a very positive experience of Albanians in my two years of Quora, just as I have had of most Turks, and of most Iranians; I just regret I haven’t had the chance to interact with as many Bulgarians or Macedonians. I don’t think my perception has changed, but it has certainly filled out somewhat.

Does Quora have employees just to ask questions or answer them?

Quora for the most part relies on users to write questions (hence their frequent absurdity). On occasion, they have hired freelancers to write questions in areas they think are underrepresented. See Nick Nicholas’ answer to Has Quora ever hired people to ask questions on a particular topic?

Do you feel some people speak your native language better than you, that some people speak it worse than you, or that native speakers are equal?

Linguists and lay people answer this question differently, but that’s because they have different focuses on what language competence means.

A linguist thinks of language as a rule system—a grammar, and a lexicon. As far as a linguist is concerned, the grammar is the common property of the entire language community: if you are a native speaker of the language, then by definition you know all the rules of the language.

A linguist knows that the vocabulary of a language is open-ended, and no one can know all of it; but they also know that vocabulary varies by register, and that to be competent in the lexicon of the language is to use the appropriate words for the appropriate register. If people don’t look at you funny when you speak in a given social context, then you have all the vocabulary you need.

So to a linguist, because of the way they think about language, all native speakers command the language equally well.

The reason a lay person does not hold that view is that lay people introduce value judgements in how they think about linguistic registers (because they use language in a social context), and they prioritise some registers over others as worth commanding. In particular, lay people are concerned about how well people command the prestigious variants and dialects of a language.

Those variants and dialects are not native to all speakers of the language at large, and many speakers have to learn them explicitly, as “non-native” users. That’s why it is meaningful to say that some people know them better than others.

Lay people also appreciate good command of style. They appreciate adept rhetoric and subtle usage of words. These are skills which some people will exhibit more talent or training in than others.

Linguistics does have the tools with which to understand the display of that skill. But linguistics has been reluctant to prioritise this as an aspect of linguistic competence. Mostly, because the evaluation of these rhetorical skills is culture-bound, and subjective, and communicative competence is less so. (Although not as much less so as they prefer to think: culture certainly plays a role in communicative competence too.)

The evaluation of how skillful your rhetoric is is the kind of evaluation that linguists are more comfortable leaving to literature studies.