Why is ‘selfie’ use suffix -ie instead of -y?

Selfie is an Australian coinage: No, a Drunken Australian Man Did Not Coin the Word Selfie. (The article disputes only that the particular guy came up with it, not that it was coined in Australia.) The Australian suffix used to coin cutesy abbreviations of words (hypocoristics) is conventionally spelled as –ie, not –y—even when it looks weird (so firie for firefighter).

Why do we use so many Greek and Latin numerals, symbols and words in science and mathematics?

I refer you to the Quora question:

Why are most terminologies in Physics, biology, maths, Chemistry are derived from Latin/Greek languages?

  • The vocabulary of STEM comes from Latin and Greek for the reasons explained under that question: following the tradition of Greek as the pioneers in STEM, and Latin as the intellectual lingua franca.
  • Symbols come from Greek instead of Latin for the same reason of prestige (and because it’s convenient to have symbols in a different script from the text).
  • The numerals, on the other hand, don’t come from Greek or Latin: they’re Arabic/Indian.

Quora collapse bot, you are inane. Your recalcitrance drives me insane.

Updated 2016-01-07 · Upvoted by

Muthu Samy. P, M.Sc. Retired as Head of Department of Physics. Government of Tamilnadu, lndia.

Why do so many people use improper grammar on social media?

As a card-carrying linguist (even though they don’t pay me to be one), I am of course honour-bound to repudiate any claims of better or worse grammar. There is just more formal and less formal grammar, and you use the appropriate register and grammar in the appropriate circumstances. And “proper” grammar is quite improper in informal situations. Try speaking the Queen’s English on the factory floor. (Or in America.)

That said, what is going on is part of a more general devaluing of formality in Western society: it is seen (not unreasonably) as bound up with hierarchy and insincerity. Who wears a suit and tie to a classical concert any more? They did 30 years ago.

Formal grammar has its place, but social media is not it. Informal grammar, conversely, is seen as intimate, hip, and/or playful, which is an asset in social media. Which is why people on social media can go out of their way to ignore formal grammar rules.

They’re not ungrammatical, as far as linguistics is concerned: they’re not jumbling words in random order. They’re just following grammatical norms outside of formal written English. Abbreviations and creative spelling are where the more overt rule breaking lie.

Which language that uses the Latin alphabet has the most accents and diacritics in the world?

Counting distinct diacritics on the Wikipedia page Diacritic , and ignoring the distinction between diacritics that generate new letters and diacritics that don’t:

  • Vietnamese has nine: horn, circumflex, breve, bar (đ), acute, grave, tilde, underdot, and hoi (mini-question mark)
  • Livonian has six (macron, umlaut, ogonek, superdot, tilde, hacek), but wins points for multiply stacked diacritics, like Vietnamese: ā, ä, ǟ, ḑ, ē, ī, ļ, ņ, ō, ȯ, ȱ, õ, ȭ, ŗ, š, ț, ū, ž. Livonian however is either moribund, extinct, or under revival.
  • Lithuanian has four basic diacritics (caron, ogonek, macron, superdot); dictionaries also use acute, grave, tilde for pitch accent. So seven, though in practice only four.
  • No others in the list have more than six.

So for commonplace Roman alphabets, Vietnamese still wins. Other scripts do better: Hebrew have 13 Niqqud, though of course vowel pointing is not a regular part of Hebrew orthography.

Minority languages with orthographies devised by modern linguists may have more diacritics. Though I suspect they don’t.

If phonetic alphabets count, then the IPA has at least 43 diacritics (depending on how you count them), and other phonetic alphabets are probably even more profligate.

What would be the exact translation of the phrase “A man too late in a world too old.” in Latin and Greek?

Greek: ἀνὴρ ὀψιαίτατος ἐν κόσμῳ παλαιοτάτῳ.

I’ll second the request for more context.

What is Tutankhamun’s greek name?

King Tut is famous now, but his memory had been quite effectively erased by his successors.

Manetho wrote a Greek history of Egypt listing pharaohs, whose names only kinda sorta line up with the names we find in Egyptian documents. The pharaoh he lists corresponding to King Tut is Rathotis. See the paper Manetho’s Eighteenth Dynasty by Gary Greenberg for more. Marianne Luban in  The Identity of Manetho’s Rathotis proposes  that Rathotis comes from the Egyptian for “swollen foot” (Oedipus).

In Modern Greek, King Tut is transliterated as Τουταγχαμών.

What is ‘He who becomes a sheep is eaten by a wolf’ in Ancient Greek?

There have been some changes between Ancient and Modern Greek: τρώγω originally meant “chew” (it’s the same evolution as Latin manducare > French manger). By Attic, πρόβατον meant sheep and not just livestock; the Homeric word is ὄις. And ὁποῖος is “of what sort”, not quite the proverbial “whoever”.

I haven’t studied Classics at university either, but I’d suggest:

ὅστις πρόβατον γίγνεται, λύκος ἐσθίει αὐτόν.

In ancient Greece, in place of “Sire” or “Your Grace,” how were people of stature addressed? Is there a gender neutral term?

The relevant monograph is: Greek Forms of Address: From Herodotus to Lucian (Oxford Classical Monographs) (9780198150541): Eleanor Dickey. See review at Bryn Mawr Classical Review 97.11.09 

The male defaults were anax/basileu (king), despota (lord, master), and kyrie (ditto). If you were talking to a king in antiquity, I think you just called them “king”: the familiar circumlocutions of majesties and excellencies are later inventions. LSJ says kyrie is late, and despota is what slaves used. Doing a search on the TLG, up to 2nd century BC, and skipping the Septuagint (which uses kyrie a lot), I find 96 instances of despota, and 9 of kyrie.

Kyrie “Lord” is of course the usual title for Christ in Greek (hence Kyrie eleison, “Lord have mercy”), as well as the usual rendering of Lord in the Septuagint—though despota turns up in Greek hymnography as well. My recollection is that despota was usual for Byzantine emperors.

For feminines, the best default I can think of is despoina, feminine of despota. It is a common title for the Virgin Mary later on.The feminine of kyrios, kyria, also appears to be post-classical.

Abstractions like “majesty” and “excellency” are late, like I said, and certainly in Modern Greek they are not used to address anyone. (Η αυτού μεγαλειότης “his majesty”, but μεγαλειότατε “most majestic one!”.) Which means that, since Greek has always had grammatical gender, there have never been any gender neutral terms.

If hysterisis is “to lag” then what is “to lead” in greek?

The verb ‘to lead” is hegeōmai, but that’s not quite what you’re asking.

hysterisis is a noun, derived from the verb hysterizō “to come after, to come late” (e.g. to lag), which in turn comes from the adjective hysteros “latter, last”. Your question sounds like it’s asking “what’s the opposite of hysteresis?” The opposite noun would have to come from a verb derived from proteros “earlier” or prōtos “earliest, first”.

The verb exists: prōteuō “to be first, hold first place”. The corresponding noun, prōteusis, has been used at least once, in a monastery legal deed from 1012, although its meaning in context is “precedence, foremost position” (that is, holding first place).

I have an impression that some Aussies are overly ‘patriotic’ or over-loving their country. Is this true?

Other respondents have argued that Australians are not overly patriotic compared to Americans. They are dismissing patriotism as the preserve of bogans. However 20 years ago, bogans did not express patriotism any more overtly than the elite; and wrapping yourself in the flag, particularly during a race riot like the 2005 Cronulla riots, would have been unthinkable. (60 years ago of course patriotism was expressed in terms of the British Empire.)

The Xenophobe’s Guide to Aussies published 20 years ago summarised Australian patriotism as:

Australians already know they live in the best country on Earth and they don’t particularly feel the need to tell anyone about it.

What has changed in the interim is a combination of fear of globalization and reactionary politicking by John Howard. Howard is gone, but as the popularity of the monarchy and pilgrimages to Gallipoli attest (complete with youths wrapping themselves in the flag at dawn), the effects endure. Aussie patriotism is much louder than it used to be.