Why do many European languages use the same word for “morning” and “tomorrow”?

Brian Collins says “Probably because the protolanguage did not distinguish between those forms.”

Actually, Brian has sketched the answer in his response, but the foregoing isn’t quite it.

Indo-European languages often use notions of “morning”, “tomorrow”, and “early” interchangably. The Ancient Greek for “tomorrow”, aurion,  is cognate to the Lithuanian aušrà “dawn”; and the Ancient Greek for “morning”, prōi, is transparently related to the word for “before”, pro. So it’s tempting to say “‘coz Proto–Indo-European”.

But (a) that doesn’t tell you why Proto–Indo-European conflated the two notions. And (b) it doesn’t tell you why Polish turned the word for “early” into the word for “morning”, as Brian reports. The Poles didn’t speak Proto–Indo-European.

Neither did Mediaeval Greeks, when they ditched both aurion and  prōi, and instead started suing forms of taxia to mean both “tomorrow” and “morning”. Unsurprisingly, taxia comes from the ancient Greek word for “fast”, takhy… which in this context means “soon”, as in “early”: Remember: “morning”, “tomorrow”, and “early”.

If the same meaning shifts keep happening again and again, it’s not because  Proto–Indo-European: it’s because those shifts make sense.

So: why conflate morning and early? Because morning is the early part of the day, duh.

So, more interestingly: why conflate morning and tomorrow?

If you don’t do something by COB today, what do you tell your boss?

“I’ll do it in the morning.”

What does that mean?

That you’ll do it tomorrow.

It’s even more true if you’re a peasant, like most speakers of most languages have been. When do you think of tomorrow? Not first thing in the morning; but in the evening, when you’re planning what you’re going to do the next day. What do you think of tomorrow as, in the evening when you’re planning your work? Not as tomorrow evening—that’s when you’re meant to have finished the stuff you’re going to do the next day. But as tomorrow morning, when the next day’s work starts.

So a lot of people would say a lot of times “I’ll do it in the morning.”  In that common context, morning is ambiguous with tomorrow. So morning ends up standing in for tomorrow, as a more vivid or concrete way of referring to it.

And not because people have forgotten how to say “tomorrow”. Words rarely change to fill a gap: they change to make communication more vivid.

What are the differences between cypriot accent and greece accent?

I’m not going to do this question justice.

Phonological differences in the dialect that carry across to the accent:

  • Lots of /n/s that have dropped off in standard Greek, and longer [n]s than in standard Greek. So it sounds nasal: not French, nasal vowel nasal, but lots of nnnns nasal.
  • Different stop contrasts. Standard Greek contrasts voiceless [t] and prenasalised [ⁿd], which increasingly ends up as [d]. Cypriot contrasts [tʰ] (initial geminate t), geminate [tː], and prenasalised [ⁿd]. That means that in the dialect, there are unfamiliar geminates and aspirates; and when speaking standard Greek, the stops sound wrong.

More singsong than Standard Greek (which isn’t hard, Standard Greek is pretty rat-tat-tat). Because of the geminates and the long [n]s, somewhat slower and more deliberate sounding (again, in contrast to  Standard Greek rat-tat-tat).

Should the Greek people give Alexis Tsipras another chance as their prime minister?

I no longer follow Greek politics for the same reason I stopped following US politics: too depressing.

I refer you however to the Greek version of “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me”, as I have illustrated here:

Nick Nicholas’ answer to What does the Greek word “malaka” mean?

I also look forward to hearing about Tsipras what I heard about Andreas Papandreou during recent visits: “A demagogue! A deceiver!” And that it doesn’t take twenty years and an economic collapse for people to see through this instance of populism.

EDIT: the question photo, btw, is why the Greek people shouldn’t give Tsipras a second chance. It’s from the Thessalonica International Fair, and it was where Tsipras the candidate, in September 2014, announced all the things he was going to do—the notorious “Thessaloniki Programme“.

We campaign in poetry, we govern in prose. But it’s handy as a politician not to get too surrealist in your poetry.

How does Turkish sound to non-Turkish speakers?

Originally Answered:

What does Turkish sound like to foreigners?

Like French with a /ɯ/ in it.

I was about to say “and without the annoying mumbling”; but, having been to Istanbul:

Like French with a /ɯ/ in it.

I do actually like the sound of it. (Although as a Greek I’m not allowed to say that.) And vowel harmony is cute.