How did the “Swastika”, which is said to be the symbol of the Aryan race, get its place in Hinduism?

As always, good outline in Wikipedia: Swastika

To summarise:

  • Lots of ancient civilisations used the swastika as a symbol, because it’s an easy shape to draw.
  • Because lots of ancient Indo-European civilisations used it (including Indians, Greeks, Celts, and Armenians), German archaeologists assumed it was a symbol of the original Indo-European people.
    • OTOH the Chinese and the Navajo used it too, so that was not that good a guess.
  • Because Indo-European may have spread through conquest, Germans assumed the original Indo-European people must have been kick-ass warriors, that they would be proud to call their ancestors.
    • There might have been conquest, and there might have been cultural diffusion; who knows.
  • The only name that looks like it might possibly have been a name for the original Indo-European people is Arya, shared between Indians and Persians. Hence, Aryans.
  • Notwithstanding the general swarthiness of Indians and Persians, if the original Indo-European people were such kick-ass warriors. Germans concluded that they must have been blond, blue-eyed Germans.
    • I shit you not.
  • So if you want to extol the racial primacy of Germans, you will rally around the symbol that your glorious ancestors must have used—and by historical accident, that the Jews were one of the few peoples not to have made much use of.

So. Hinduism (and Buddhism, and Paganism, and the Navajo) came first. Then came guesswork about Indo-Europeans. Then came German racialist nationalism.

Does the expression “bite off more than you can chew” translate to other languages?

Sure. Modern Greek: Πήγε για μαλλί και βγήκε κουρεμένος: He went in to get wool, and came out shorn.

Do you need to have a car in Crete?

As a tourist? Most villages, you can get to with the KTEL Buses of Greece , but you would be stuck to their timetable, which would likely be just once or twice a day. If you’re not going anywhere obscure, buses and walking will do you. If you are, taxis are not expensive. 

What does the Greek proverb “nothing done with intelligence is done without speech” emphasize? And how to interpret it culturally?

I don’t have the answer, but this will help narrow it down:

This is not a proverb as such, but is a quotation from a speech by the orator Isocrates. Nicocles, section 9:

οὐδὲν τῶν φρονίμως πραττομένων εὑρήσομεν ἀλόγως γιγνόμενον

The emphasis out of context is not quite as obvious, because the same word logos is used to mean “the faculty of speech”, “a speech”, and “reason”. In fact the word alogōs normally means not “without speech”, but “irrationally”. But in context, Isocrates is extolling speech as the faculty that both distinguishes us from animals, and that lets us pursue social interaction (including oratory). And ultimately, he is saying that  people who speak for a living (like orators) are pursuing a noble profession:

Nicocles or the Cyprians, 6-9:

But, because there has been implanted in us the power to persuade each other and to make clear to each other whatever we desire, not only have we escaped the life of wild beasts, but we have come together and founded cities and made laws and invented arts; and, generally speaking, there is no institution devised by man which the power of speech has not helped us to establish

For this it is which has laid down laws concerning things just and unjust, and things base and honorable; and if it were not for these ordinances we should not be able to live with one another. It is by this also that we confute the bad and extol the good. Through this we educate the ignorant and appraise the wise; for the power to speak well is taken as the surest index of a sound understanding, and discourse which is true and lawful and just is the outward image of a good and faithful soul.

With this faculty we both contend against others on matters which are open to dispute and seek light for ourselves on things which are unknown; for the same arguments which we use in persuading others when we speak in public, we employ also when we deliberate in our own thoughts; and, while we call eloquent those who are able to speak before a crowd, we regard as sage those who most skilfully debate their problems in their own minds.

And, if there is need to speak in brief summary of this power, we shall find that none of the things which are done with intelligence take place without the help of speech, but that in all our actions as well as in all our thoughts speech is our guide, and is most employed by those who have the most wisdom. Therefore, those who dare to speak with disrespect of educators and teachers of philosophy deserve our opprobrium no less than those who profane the sanctuaries of the gods.

How can I learn to individuate ancient Greek verbs?

No substitute for rote, I’m afraid. But there are patterns and regularities, and you’ll need to make them your friend:

  • If anything looks like a preverb (prepositional prefix), strip it off. It’s usually a safe bet that it is in fact a preverb.
  • The endings do have patterns (the final vowels/consonants, the thematic vowels, the verb stem endings). The more comprehensive grammars present the patterns as part of their historical approach, but they aren’t just of historical interest: they help you learn the inflections. (And native speakers use these patterns subconsciously.)
  • The thematic vowels in particular are your friend, because they help you get to the present form: whether it’s -αω -εω -οω , or  just -ω.
  • If it’s athematic, well, that’s a matter of rote memorisation. Good thing there aren’t that many of them, and they tend to be common. Which is after all the story with irregular verbs in language.
  • Be on the lookout for second aorists and liquid verbs, they are an added complication
  • Think in terms of proto-Greek: it will help the patterns become more obvious. So don’t just learn the tables, but where the inflections came from. Uncontracted verbs, after all, are mostly proto-Greek, and certainly not Attic. The tendency  to drop intervocalic /s/, for example will make 2nd person passives look much more plausible.
  • Dialect is indeed harder. It took me three hours to work out what φαῖο means (The tale of φαῖο), and it didn’t help that the form, being dialectal and in a new edition, was not in the standard grammars.
  • Byzantine Greek is even worse, because there is a *lot* of fantasy morphology. Much like the Irish monks, Byzantine writers often just made tenses up.
  • In the olden days, there were dictionaries of verbs. Lexikon ueber die formen der griechischen verba, Traut, Georg  is one instance; and Greek verbs, irregular and defective, Veitch, William is another. Veitch is comprehensive; the advantage of Traut is that you can actually look up individual inflected verbs in the canonical corpus. (Just remember to strip off the preverbs.)
  • There are morphological analysers of Greek, which are hyperlinked in to some online texts. Including Perseus, and the TLG (both the subscription full version, and the free subset). The TLG’s morphological analyser is an ongoing project that I’m working on, and it provides the possible analyses of word forms in texts.

What is the scientific name of Greek origin for the pathology where the patient has a phobia of assorted socks and wears unassorted socks?

The world is full of joke phobias, and bad Greek renderings of joke phobias at that. There is a special place in hell for the mangling of Greek that is Coulrophobia.

If there’s a real phobia associated, it’d be symmetriphobia, fear of matching things in general (though I’m not clear from googling as to whether that is a real phobia).

I can make up a word for the phobia if you’d like. harmostos for “matching”. The Ancient Greeks didn’t wear modern socks, and the Modern word for sock is a borrowing from Italian; but LSJ tells me that podeion was a sock or legging. So harmostopodeiophobia.

Why do Greek people call their grandmothers “Yaya”?

Because that’s the Modern Greek word for grandmother. 🙂

The Triantafyllidis dictionary gives a shrug for the etymology: Λεξικό της κοινής νεοελληνικής

λ. νηπιακή: γιάγια και μετακ. τόνου για προσαρμ. στα άλλα ανισοσύλλαβα ουσ.

Baby talk: yáya and accent shift to adapt to other imparisyllabic nouns

Babiniotis’ dictionary gives the same shrug.

The motivation is wrong: yaya didn’t have to be imparisyllabic to begin with (and váya, the Mediaeval word for nurse, wasn’t). The obvious analogy is instead with other child-talk terms: mamá “mum”, babás “dad”, papús “granddad”, dadá “nanny”.

Baby talk has given us mama, papa/baba (hence babás “dad” helped by Turkish), and dada (hence dadá “nanny” again from Turkish). I’m not aware of yaya as an established baby-talk vocable, but I don’t see what else it could be.

Another, now obsolete word for grandmother btw is nené: νενέ – Wiktionary. That’s also from Turkish, and it also fits the baby-talk pattern.

What does the Greek word “malaka” mean?

To elaborate on the other answers, malakas does indeed mean “masturbator”, but note that it does not have the same connotation as either American jerk < jerk off or Commonwealth wanker. A jerk and a wanker are both obnoxious, presumably because masturbation is narcissistic. A malakas is a fool, a dupe. (Cartoons will often feature J Random Citizen asking themselves whether they are a malakas for voting for party X, or falling for political pledge Y.)

EDIT: by way of illustration (and because this answer, disappointingly, appears to be one of my most popular), here’s a recent instance that popped up on my Facebook feed:

Jerking off makes you blind. [SYRIZA logo.]

The joke is not that voting for SYRIZA makes you a jerk (US slang) or a wanker (Commonwealth slang)—but a fool (Greek slang), for believing that voting for SYRIZA would make any difference.

What does “Kata ton daimona eaytoy” mean and why does it have more than one meaning?

Thank you to Achilleas Vortselas for doing most of the work. The proximate source is possibly the album of Rotting Christ, as he explains.

But as the Wikipedia page about the album, Κατά τον δαίμονα εαυτού, says, the phrase occurs on Jim Morrison’s tombstone: Jim Morrison . (The OP knew this too, if I can judge from the topics included in the question.)

So while Rotting Christ might have been thinking of Thelema, the first appearance of the phrase likely doesn’t—and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone did think of Jimbo’s “inner d(a)emons” when using it for him.

But it’s always safe to check the ancients for any Ancient Greek that turns up in modern times; and I see that something quite close to the phrase occurs in Dio Chrysostom , Orations 23.7: ΛακουσΚούρτιος • Δίων Χρυσόστομος / LacusCurtius • Dio Chrysostom . Close enough in fact, that this has to be the source.

Οὐκοῦν καὶ δαίμονα, εἴπερ τινὰ ἀγαθὸν ἡγῇ, δῆλον ὡς δίκαιον ἡγῇ καὶ χρήσιμον καὶ φρόνιμον; — Πῶς γὰρ οὔ; —Δ. Ἦ γὰρ ὃν κακόν τινα νομίζεις, πονηρὸν οἴει τὸν αὐτὸν εἶναι καὶ ἄδικον καὶ ἀνόητον; — Ἀνάγκη πάντως. —Δ. Τί δαί; οὐ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἕκαστον κατὰ τὸν αὑτοῦ δαίμονα βιοῦν, ὁποῖος ἂν ᾖ ποτε, ἀλλὰ καθ’ ἕτερον; — Οὐδαμῶς καθ’ ἕτερον. —Δ. Οὐκοῦν τὸν τυχόντα ἀγαθοῦ δαίμονος ἡγῇ δικαίως ζῆν καὶ φρονίμως καὶ σωφρόνως; τοιοῦτον γὰρ ὁμολογεῖς εἶναι τὸν δαίμονα αὐτοῦ. — Πάνυ γε. —Δ. Τὸν δὲ μοχθηροῦ δαίμονος πονηρῶς καὶ ἀφρόνως καὶ ἀνοήτως καὶ ἀκολάστως; —Φαίνεται ταῦτα συμβαίνειν ἐκ τῶν εἰρημένων νῦν. —Δ. Ἆρα ὅστις ἄνθρωπος νοῦν ἔχων ἐστὶ καὶ δίκαιος καὶ σώφρων, οὗτος εὐδαίμων ἐστὶν ἀγαθῷ δαίμονι συνών· ὅστις δὲ ἀσελγὴς καὶ ἄφρων καὶ πανοῦργος, ἀνάγκη κακοδαίμονα φάσκειν ἐκεῖνον κακῷ δαίμονι συνεζευγμένον καὶ λατρεύοντα; — Ἀληθές. —

Dio. Then in the case of a guardian spirit also, if you really consider any to be good, is it not clear that you consider it just and useful and sensible?

Int. Why, of course.

Dio. Pray, when you think that any person is bad, do you believe that he is at the same time evil and unjust and senseless?

Int. Most assuredly so.

Dio. Well, then, do you not think that each man lives under the direction of his own guiding spirit, of whatever character it may be, and is not directed by a different one?

Int. Certainly not directed by that of a different one.

Dio. Then do you believe that the man to whom Fortune has given a good guardian spirit lives justly and prudently and temperately? For this is the character that you agree his spirit has.

Int. Certainly.

Dio. And that the man to whom Fortune has given the bad guardian spirit lives wickedly and senselessly and foolishly and intemperately?

Int. That appears to follow from what we have just said.

Dio. Then when a man is in possession of intelligence and is just and temper, is this man fortunate because he is attended by a good spirit; but when a man is dissolute and foolish and wicked, must we maintain that he is unfortunate because he is yoked to a bad spirit and serves it?

Int. True.

κατὰ τὸν αὑτοῦ δαίμονα is just a variant of κατὰ τὸν δαίμονα ἑαυτοῦ. (Modern Greek speakers, note the daseia on αὑτοῦ: this is not modern αυτός.)

So Achilleas’ intuition was correct: daemon does indeed refer not to your own inner will, but to an external guiding spirit—whether it’s a guardian angel or a guardian devil. And while I don’t know much about Thelema, I assume that Tolis’ Crowley-inspired interpretation of Jimbo’s tombstone is inaccurate.

Thanks, Achilleas, that was fun!