To the victor, the vase

Re my last post, To the victor, the spoils,

Steve Theodore rightly pointed out:

but this is a white figure vase – it should be a black background! Or black on orange 🙂

To which I feebly retorted:

Ah! You caught me! Black on orange was going to be too much of a technical challenge for me…

And then, Steve Theodore did this:

To which I can only say…


What was the Turkish language reform?

Hm. Lara Novakov is right that there was reform of both script and vocabulary, but the emphasis isn’t right, and Philip Newton fine-tunes it in his comments to her answer:

And I think that vocabulary reform had a far greater effect than the script reform.

Parents could suddenly not understand their children anymore, because what used to be called “herbology” was now “wortlore”, and instead of “consists”, they said “bestands”, and so on.

Poul Anderson’s Uncleftish Beholding gives you a kind of flavour for how alien this can appear, even if most of the raw material is from “your” language. (In the case of Turkish, I believe there was also some borrowing form other Turk languages.)

For the vocabulary component, see Turkish language:

After the foundation of the Republic of Turkey and the script reform, the Turkish Language Association (TDK) was established in 1932 under the patronage of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, with the aim of conducting research on Turkish. One of the tasks of the newly established association was to initiate a language reform to replace loanwords of Arabic and Persian origin with Turkish equivalents. By banning the usage of imported words in the press, the association succeeded in removing several hundred foreign words from the language. While most of the words introduced to the language by the TDK were newly derived from Turkic roots, it also opted for reviving Old Turkish words which had not been used for centuries.

Owing to this sudden change in the language, older and younger people in Turkey started to differ in their vocabularies. While the generations born before the 1940s tend to use the older terms of Arabic or Persian origin, the younger generations favor new expressions. It is considered particularly ironic that Atatürk himself, in his lengthy speech to the new Parliament in 1927, used a style of Ottoman which sounded so alien to later listeners that it had to be “translated” three times into modern Turkish: first in 1963, again in 1986, and most recently in 1995.

OP in his question comment asks:

Was it a “Catastrophic Success” as Geoffrey Lewis says?

The Turkish Language Reform : A Catastrophic Success, published in 1999. Geoffrey Lewis, as the major Western grammarian of Turkish would know. If you’re having to translate a speech made in 1927, then I’d say yes, you’ve succeeded all too well.

I defer to actual Turks (such as Oğuzhan .) to tell us how unintelligible Ottoman Turkish has become, ignoring the change of script. But that kind of thing is not characteristic of most language reform.

What do you know about Tsamouria (Chameria)? What is your opinion on ‘the Cham issue’?

What do I know about Çamëria/Τσαμουριά? Less than Dimitris Almyrantis, but still, I assume, more than most Greeks: I looked into the ethnic mix of the Balkans for my thesis in dialectology, since I needed to know where Greek was natively spoken.

I’ll add a couple of curios:

  • The Tsamiko is one of the major dances of the Greek mainland; it merely means “the Çam dance”. Wikipedia points out the Çams didn’t actually dance it.
  • There is a split in the ethnic Albanians of Greece, between the Arvanites (Arbëror) in southern Greece, who moved there in the 14th–16th century, and the Shqipëtars living across the border from Albania. The Arvanites speak an archaic version of Albanian that is clearly distinct from modern Tosk. The Shqipëtars in Greece speak variants of modern Tosk.
    • Collections of songs or stories in Arvanitika done by Greeks (Arvanites) include Shqipëtar material, which is how I found out about them. (The main collection I used was Michail-Dede’s.) That, presumably, reflects Arvanites not eager to differentiate Shqipëtars as “more Albanian” than Arvanites. But grammatically, the two versions of Albanian are clearly different.
    • Μιχαήλ-Δέδε, Μ. 1978–81. Αρβανίτικα Τραγούδια. 2 vols. Αθήνα: Καστανιώτης.
  • The Shqipëtars in Greece includes the Çams, who were Muslim. It also includes Christian Albanian-speakers, who have remained in place; for example, Lechovo (Florina prefecture), or Kimisi, in the municipality of Irakleia, Serres (migrated from Gjirokastër to European Turkey in Ottoman times, moved to Serres through the population exchanges with Turkey).
    • People moved within the empire. That’s how Bulgarians ended up in Kızderbent in Bithynia (and now Polypetro in Chalkidiki).
  • The ethnic Albanians, Shqipëtars and Arvanite, are of course distinct from the Albanian migrants of the past few decades, that Dimitris alludes to.
  • The anecdote I’ve heard from accounts of ethnic Albanians in Greece (written by Arvanites) is that the Çams remaining in Thesprotia/Çamëria are down to a dozen; and it was impossible to elicit material in Albanian from them. Albanians here have said it’s more than that.
  • Cretans in the 19th century, as Kazantzakis recorded, used the word Liapides Λιάπηδες to refer to the kilt-wearing soldiers of the mainland, the Evzones (tsoliades). I only realised a couple of months ago where the term derived from: it’s the Lab, the Albanian inhabitants of Labëria—right across the border from Çamëria. Most Lab are Bektashi Muslim, but the Greek Orthodox Albanians are Lab; and in those days, all Greek Orthodox mainlanders would have looked the same to Cretans.

So, that’s what I know. More about the Çams’ neighbours, it turns out, than the Çams themselves.

What do I think of the Çam issue?

All ethnic cleansing is repulsive. All ethnic cleansing leaves its country poorer, even if it arguably also leaves it more stable. It’s ancient history, it won’t be undone, and I don’t see any prospect of reparations. It would be good if more Greeks were even aware of it. For all I know, the thaw with Turkey points to a Greece in which more Greeks are aware of it; Dimitris knows, after all.

Then again, Dimitris is in many ways unrepresentative.

What auxiliary language or constructed language (conlang) would you like to learn and why?

I can’t count Esperanto, since I have already been fluent in it. Nor Klingon, ditto. Nor Lojban, ditto.

So let me go through the others, and say why or why not I’d like to learn it, if I was 20 again, back when I had the free time. Ranking from less to more.

  • Láadan. Pfft. Hectoring mental straitjackets: not my thing.
  • Toki Pona. Meh. Cutesy mental straitjackets: not my thing.
  • Basic English: Nah. Disingenuous in its execution: too much English idiom in its phrasal verbs to count as truly minimal. I have a bit more time for its modern descendent, xkcd: Up Goer Five.
  • Ido: No. Very close to Esperanto, and where it’s different, I didn’t like it: it was neither fish nor fowl in the schematic/naturalistic debate.
  • Loglan: No. One logical language is more than enough.
  • Novial: No. Rather more naturalistic than Ido, but never attracted me. Probably too much Germanic.
  • Tolkien languages: … Nah. Lots of philological cuteness, but ultimately not enough vocabulary there, and too many gaps to be useable.
  • Talossan: Almost yes. In fact, I was approached by King Ben way back to join the community. Given the ensuing shitfight in the micronation, I’m glad I didn’t.
  • Dothraki: Almost yes. I tried in fact, but the vocabulary just wasn’t there, either. And the fact it got killed off in Season 2 enraged me against continuing it. (I want NO SPOILERS about Season 6. I watch Game of Thrones on DVD.)
  • Volapük: Weak yes, for the cuteness factor of all those moods, especially in its baroque original form, as opposed to the stripped down post-1931 version.
  • Occidental: Yes. It was the best of the naturalistic languages, as the closest approximation to the pseudo–Franco-Italian they were ultimately going for. I enjoyed reading through the back issues of Cosmoglotta—although it got nasty towards the end, when they were gloating that Esperanto had been banned by the Nazis, and then got banned themselves.
  • Interlingua: Yes. Like Joachim Pense said, all the good bits of Latin. Probably more Peano’s Latino Sine Flexione than Gode’s more Vulgar Latinate version which won out; but I’m delighted on the rare occasion that I use software with an Interlingua interface (Mantis Bug Tracker).
  • Interglosa: Yes yes yes. It’s less neat than I remember it from when I first came across it; but its attempt to reduce all verbs to a dozen or so verb valencies plus adverbs make it a thing of beauty. And I rejoice that Xavi Abadia has unearthed the unpublished Interglosa dictionary, and put it online.
    • Not to be confused with its epigone Glosa, which takes out much of the good stuff.

What are the libertarian parties in Australia?

Supplemental to the other answers:

David Leyonhjelm of the Liberal Democratic Party (Australia) is the most prominent voice of overt libertarianism in Australia, the way Americans would recognise it. He gets to be that by virtue of getting a Senate seat (through people confusing his party name with the Liberals, as he has cheerfully admitted).

Libertarianism is not mainstream in Australia, which rather likes Big Government. In fact, my realisation that I’m sympathetic to prioritising more individual liberties puts me out of sync with the Australian mainstream. (And in sync with groups I’d rather not be in sync with.)

Of the other parties David Caune mentions, I’d have thought (though I haven’t particularly researched it) that social conservative religiously driven parties are palaeocon, and not visibly libertarian. That includes Democratic Labour Party, Rise Up Australia, Family First, and the Shooters and Fishers Party. The populists of One Nation and the erstwhile Palmer United Party don’t count either. The Sex Party are socially liberal (including pro-euthanasia). I don’t know how libertarian they actually are, even though they are the default recipients of my protest vote.

But beyond that, as David Caune has pointed out, the Institute of Public Affairs think-tank has yielded significant influence in the Liberal party, and its rhetoric is libertarian. A recent book on the whole Abbott debacle, Battleground, was a moment when the scales fell from my eyes: explaining the ideological split within the Liberal Party, Peter van Onselen pointed out that the best way to describe the Liberal moderates was a word that never had occurred to me: libertarian.

All of a sudden, a lot about George Brandis (attorney-general) and Christopher Pyne (education minister, defence minister) made sense.

Do the men of Crete still practice their archery for which they were so famous?

Like Vasilios Danias said, archery would have died out in Crete when rifles came to town; the point of archery, after all, was hunting. And Cretans sure love their rifles now, as Dimitra Triantafyllidou illustrates.

But there’s ample evidence of archery used in hunting during Venetian rule, when guns were but new (and presumably not very sportsmanlike), and Crete was still full of deer. In the Erotokritos, the culminating poem of the period, Charidimos the Cretan shoots his new wife with an arrow accidentally while hunting. Panoria, in the pastoral drama named after her, is a huntress who speaks of her bow and arrow. So archery was still a thing in the 17th century.

The celebratory gunfire thing is already reminisced about in the Cretan War of Marino Zane Bounialis (Pugnali), which recounts the Ottoman conquest; so it makes sense that archery died out in Crete at around that time, when rifles became universal.

Do Greeks who came from Turkey in 1960 have a different accent?

1960 in the question certainly alludes to Istanbul Greeks.

There has been minimal attention paid to the dialect of Constantinople/Istanbul, because it was an urban dialect, and historical linguists were interested in the countryside, as more archaic material: Constantinople itself had all unstressed vowels, like Southern Greece, and unlike the villagers of Thrace, who reduced unstressed vowels—as Northern Greece does.

I’ve just discovered that Valentina Fedchenko of St Petersburg State University has written a paper on the language of Constantinopolitan Greeks in Athens, in 2007: Les Grecs de Constantinople à Athènes: perception d’une langue étrangère. (For any Greek linguists reading: yes, she’s one of Maxim Kisilier’s students. Looks like Fedchenko is now working on Yiddish.)

The shibboleths of Constantinopolitan, which I already knew about, and which (as far as I know) it shares with Thracian dialect are:

  • Use of που rather than πως as a complementiser.
  • Use of διω rather than δω as the subjunctive aorist for ‘see’.
  • Use of accusative rather than genitive indirect objects (common with Macedonian and Thessalian Greek)

I’ll summarising what I’m seeing in Fedchenko’s paper:

  • Lots of codeswitching into Turkish, even to the extent of putting Turkish inflections on Greek words
  • Lots of French words—and dismay that Athenians are too unsophisticated to use those French words. (They should have been around a century ago.) Examples, to freak Greek readers out: mentalité, civilisé, dîner, cure-dent, quartier, vendeuse, politesse, garçon, demande.
  • Resistance to assimilating linguistically, with some use of dialect to avoid being understood, but also much pride in their variant as more correct than the Athenian standard.
  • Particular relish for dialectal archaisms (such as απίδι rather than αχλάδι for ‘pear’), which to them elevate the status of their variant.
  • Continuing cultivation of katharevousa.
  • There have been some recent dictionaries of the variant; I’m annoyed that I hadn’t heard of them.