Why does no one put a period after the P in R.I.P.?

Clearly not noone; but there is a global movement in English away from using periods in abbreviations and acronyms—hence RIP rather than R.I.P.

The intermediate form R.I.P looks odd for a reason—why keep some periods in an acronym and not others? But the motivation for it is that abbreviations have been dropping their final period in general: Dr vs Dr., see Why do we have two rules for putting a period after abbreviations?. People who write R.I.P are extending the avoidance of final period in abbreviations, as a hypercorrection, to acronyms.

Which country among USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand feel most attached to the UK (or England more specifically) as former colonies?

I’d guess New Zealand or Canada. The US has affection from a safe distance, but not attachment. Australia has had a majority narrative of Britishness until the 60s, but it had an undercurrent of resentment of Britain and Republicanism for the better part of the preceding century, fed in part by its large Irish population, and in part by its robust nationalism.

The cultural and economic break came in the 70s, triggered by the UK joining the Common Market, and Gough Whitman coming to power.

Like many Australians on the Left, I miss Paul Keating. The last of the visionaries. And one of the long tradition of Irish Australian Republicans. Here he is in 1992, combining two of his great loves: mocking Tories, and repudiating anglophilia.

I cannot imagine a New Zealand or an Anglo Canadian talking like this. I can imagine a Quebecois.

Or an American.

What is the Gospel of Thomas about and what caused it to be excluded from the Bible?

For all the possibility that it is an authentic independent source on the Historical Jesus (and I believe that it is), the Gospel of Thomas is clearly gnostic, and gnosticism was not the theology that the Christian biblical canon was going for.

The surprise is in fact that John made it in the canon; there was early suspicion of John as being too gnostic.

What is semantico-referential function?


It is possible for signs to have two kinds of meaning, referred to as indexical and referential. Indexical meaning is meaning that is context-dependent. For examples, consider the traditional deictic categories of person, place, and time. Some frequently-used English examples are pronouns, demonstratives, and tense markings. Referential meaning, also called ‘semantico-referential function’, is when a word functions to describe events or states of affairs in the world independent of the context of the utterance. An example of this could be

“A cat is on a mat.”

because the meaning that it conveys is independent of who says it, when they say it, etc.

A referential indexical, also called a ‘shifter’, is a sign which contains both referential and indexical meaning. So for example, the word ‘I’, as in

“I went to the store.”

is a referential indexical. It has referential content, in that it refers to the singular first person, and indexical content, in that its meaning depends on who uttered the word.

So, to restate this. There are two kinds of meaning. Meaning that changes depending on context (e.g. who “I” is, when “now” is), and meaning that stays the same no matter the context. The latter is the semantico-referential function; referential, because it references things in the world; semantico-, because it works based on semantics (intrinsic meaning) rather than pragmatics (contextual meaning).

What art, movies, music etc have you been introduced to by other Quorans?

This is a post of thanks.

Dimitra Triantafyllidou: introduced me to ΤΟ ΑΛΑΤΙ ΤΗΣ ΓΗΣ, series from Greek State TV showcasing folk music from different regions of the Greek speaking world, hosted by an ethnomusicologist (and he doesn’t let you forget it). I am obsessing.


The Griko music episode. You can really tell that the Griko of Southern Italy are Italians and not Greeks: it’s an utterly different sensibility. You can also tell that the Italian band (in white) and the Greek band (in black) don’t really like each other.

Michael Masiello: introduced me to Ran (film). Amazing, even more devastating than he said it was. I will also thank him for George Herbert, once I get around to reading this:

Nick: a birthday present for himself, motivated by the Magister’s recommendation.

Pegah Esmaili: introduced me to dances of Iran. I’m having a lot of fun with Pegah, finding out what common culture we have via the Ottomans. (I’m starting to do the same with Mohammed Khateeb Kamran in India.) A lot of it involves me finding Azeri dances familiar, and Pegah finding Greek dances utterly unfamiliar, even if they are from the Black Sea. There seems to be some sort of a force field in the Taurus Mountains.

Naz eləmə rəqsi: The “Do Not Flirt” Dance. Featuring some flirting.

What are the meanings of lyrics to the Greek song “To Prosfigaki”?

Το προσφυγάκι – Μέλκον Μάρκος – Στίχοι, Video – kithara.to

Translating from the site:

Year of composition: 1950

Singing and Oud by Marko Melkon.

The recording was made in the USA around 1950. The song melody follows the Hicazkâr Makam scale, which corresponds to the byzantine Plagal Second Mode. Besides the oud, there is a violin and a clay percussion instrument.

Markos Melkon was a Constantinopolitan of Armenian descent. Although he sang professionally since the ’20s, he was only recorded after World War II.

The Little Dervish/The Little Refugee

I’m a little dervish, ah I’m telling you
driven out of İzmir
and I keep crying and getting drunk
and smoking hash as well, at the Café Aman [music café]

Ah yavrım aman [Ah my young one, alas]
Ah yadim aman [Ah my remembrance, alas]

When I play a taksim [improvisation] I feel yearning [μερακιώνω]*
I remember my homeland and I pine away
Sometimes poverty, sometimes riches
I play the oud with skill [μεράκι]*, at the Café Aman

Ah yavrım aman [Ah my young one, alas]
Ah yadim aman [Ah my remembrance, alas]

*Nick Nicholas’ answer to What do the Turkish loanwords merak and meraklı mean in your language?

What are some unexpected or unknown benefits from learning Esperanto?

If you immerse yourself in early Esperanto literature (before World War II), you end up learning a lot about Mitteleuropa high culture—and indirectly, a fair bit of German. There’s a lot of Heine, and a lot of emulating of Heine. Esperanto poetry is also a whole lot more formalist than English-language poetry (another Mitteleuropa thing), so you learn early that a Shakespearean sonnet is not a proper sonnet.

Does Old English have enough vocabulary for writing a diary?

Yes, but you will need some word coining for modern references to actually come across as Old English. (If you’re going to be dropping in unassimilated modern words all the time, you might as well be writing modern English. You won’t have the look and feel of Old English.)

Strongly recommend you look at the great work being done in the Old English Wikipedia, and contribute there to get practice.

Do languages evolve from conversations, scripts or a combination of scripts and spoken words?

If by scripts you mean “written texts” (and if you do, it’s a misleading way of saying it), languages evolve mostly through the spoken word. However, peculiarities of written registers can influence how people speak—for example, the reemergence of /t/ in often, or the influence of Classical Arabic on the spoken Arabic variants.

Written language can exercise a conservative effect on how the language evolves overall. That is exemplified most clearly in Icelandic, but there’s a good argument to be made that it applies to American English and British English remaining more or less mutually intelligible.