What religion are Greek people?

Religion in Greece

Which leads to the uncomfortable question, who counts as Greek people.

Well, if we leave out migrants from the past couple of generations, and talk about religions of long standing in Greece (using counts from the Wikipedia article linked, which also skip immigrants).

  • The overwhelming majority is Greek Orthodox. 88% of 11 million as of 2011.
  • The presence of Islam in Greece was substantial, and a large proportion of Greek Muslims were ethnic Greeks (particularly Crete). After the 1923 population exchanges, the only substantial Muslim population has been in Thrace, and is ethnically Turkish, Bulgarian (Pomak), or Roma. 100k.
  • Jews have lived in Greece since Hellenistic times, and their numbers were substantially bolstered by the Sephardic exodus. Wiped out in the Holocaust, and those left did Aliyah. 7500.
  • A Western Rite Catholic presence on the Greek islands (hence the Rebetika anthem Fragosyriani “Frankish [Catholic] girl from Syros”, written by Markos Vamvakaris, himself a Frankish boy from Syros). 50k.
  • A minuscule Uniate (Byzantine Rite) Catholic presence: Greek Byzantine Catholic Church. 5k.
  • An Armenian Orthodox presence bolstered by Armenians fleeing from the genocide. 20k.
  • Some evangelism from Protestants since the 19th century. 30k.
  • Some Hellenic Neo-Pagans. The peak body Supreme Council of Ethnic Hellenes has 2k members.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses: 28k.

What is the correct name of the language spoken officially in Iran in English? Is it Persian or Farsi?

Of course, we don’t have an Academy in English to adjudicate on these matters, but we do have precedent and practice. Persian remains much more common, but there is some usage of Farsi. Wikipedia (Persian language) says:

The Academy of Persian Language and Literature has declared that the name “Persian” is more appropriate, as it has the longer tradition in western languages and better expresses the role of the language as a mark of cultural and national continuity. Some Persian language scholars such as Ehsan Yarshater, editor of Encyclopædia Iranica, and University of Arizona professor Kamran Talattof, have also rejected the usage of “Farsi” in their articles.

What Persian scholars like, I have to say, is not particularly decisive about how English will work, although English favours endonyms much more these days than other languages do. Or rather, a bunch of English-speakers do; I don’t, harrumph.

Both are used, use Persian as the default unless you have reason not to.

Is “don’t” used incorrectly in the English language?

Brian Collins is right, but let me try a different approach.

I do not nationalise the memes of production > I don’t nationalise…

Do not nationalise the memes of production > Don’t nationalise…

When that’s happened, it has now made don’t a word. The clitics that Brian refers to are bits of meaning, that semantically are different words, but phonetically are part of a word. Which applies to n’t.

So. Do you nationalise the memes off production?

You want to say this in a shorter way. But you now have a new word, don’t. And language really, really values consistency.

So you use that new word instead of respecting the underlying pattern. I’m sure it was weird 700 years ago. But the important thing here is, don’t isn’t a search and replace substitute for do not in all contexts. It is a new word, with its own grammar.

How well can you get by visiting Turkey without speaking Turkish?

Well, I guess it was just us then.

Spent three or four days over our honeymoon in Istanbul, pretty much Sultanahmet, with a couple of excursions to Üsküdar. Sultanahmet, certainly, is Grand Tourist Central.

I was astonished how few English speakers we found. Which proved particularly devastating when we got a taxi to Üsküdar, and when we got lost in Üsküdar, trying to find my wife’s cousin’s house.

Granted, I’m comparing Istanbul to Greece, where everyone has to know English if they know what’s good for them. In fact, I found it heartening for Turkey that people don’t have to know English. But I only found command of English in staff in really obviously touristy places. Not among the ordinary Istambullus, and not in normal shops.