Pegah and Lyonel’s mutually assured destruction

Lyonel Perabo and Pegah Esmaili had an odd exchange in their respective answers Pegah Esmaili’s answer to What would you do if you were the only female in the world? and Lyonel Perabo’s answer to What would you do if you were the only male in the world? This mainly played out in the comment threads on each question.

Read them to contextualise this artist’s impression of their doom. A rather one-sided doom……

cc Pegah Esmaili, refer Pegah Esmaili’s answer to What would you do if you were the only female in the world?

Why does Grecani language not exist in Sicily (Magna Grecia)?

We know from Salvatore Cusa’s collection of church deeds from Sicily that Greek remained in use in official contexts until at least the 1300s—with the “correctness” of the Greek gradually degrading.

We know that the use of Greek in Calabria and Salento steadily declined, with much wider areas using Greek in the 16th century.

If the use of Greek was in gradual retreat over the past millennium throughout Southern Italy and Sicily, following the Norman conquest, then… well, then it happens to have retreated quicker in Sicily than in Southern Italy. The Calabrian enclave is certainly relatively inaccessible (that’s why it’s in the ‘Ndrangheta’s heartland).

What is the relationship between syntagmatic and paradigmatic?

They are the two relationships between linguistic elements that define how language works, according to structuralism. They are complementary.

The syntagmatic relationship is how linguistic elements can be sequenced. It’s syntax. And morphology. And phonotactics.

The paradigmatic relationship is which linguistic elements behave in the same way in syntagmatic relationships. It’s lexicon. And phonetics. And the… other bit of morphology.

The syntagmatic relationship gives you the structure of language; the paradigmatic relationship defines the function of individual bits of language.

Are there any true Spartans in Greece today?

There are two subgroups of Greeks in the general neighbourhood of Sparta, which were isolated from the Greek mainstream for a while, and who speak more archaic variants of Greek. You’ll hear people call them the descendants of Spartans. I don’t think it’s a meaningful thing to say; there’s been a lot of DNA traffic in the Peloponnese, and being a True Spartan is about the cultural norms that Bob Hannent alludes to—and which have not survived. Thank the Dioscurides.

One subgroup are the Tsakonians. Some derive their name from Laconians; some not. There is Doric in their language, but not as much as pop linguistics claims (Hubert Pernot was the most comprehensive student of Tsakonian, and a Doric skeptic). And Doric is not the most fascinating thing about the language anyway. And in terms of “national character”, they don’t seem to have been that different from their Greek-speaking neighbours.

The other subgroup are the Maniots. Their dialect is much closer to Standard Greek, but it still has distinctive archaisms. They have a reputation for ferocity, and were consumed by blood feuds; it took decades for the new Greek state to establish law and order in the area. Are they true Spartans? Well, they probably think so.

But yeah, having to provide an armed escort to people in case a sniper will get them during a blood feud (the xevgartis) may have been normal in Mani; but that does not make you King Leonidas.

In this map from Wikipedia, Tyros in the east is in Tsakonia, Oitylos and Gytheion in the south are in Mani, and Sparte is Sparta.