Where can I find deep Quora stats?

You won’t, Quora is vigilant about not making its stats available. Even fairly superficial stats.

The closest you will get is quora numbers, by the esteemed Laura Hale. It’s based on some hand collected data: not deep or complete, it can’t be, but representative and well-analysed. She does have stats on some of your questions.

What is your opinion on the inclusion of emojis in Unicode?

Ah, Philip my old friend. I know why you’re asking, and you know where this is going.

What does Nick Nicholas’ Quora Bio on emoji say?

Emoji: Blot on the purity of Unicode

What does Nick Nicholas think about the inclusion of emojis in Unicode?



Why does Nick Nicholas think that? Is he some sort of antiquated un-hip spoilsport?

Yes, but there’s so much more to it than that.

Unicode is meant to be an universal encoding of scripts of human languages, to be comprehensive and rigorous. It is meant to resist logos, and vanity symbols, and short term fads: it is intended to persist for the ages. It is meant to deal with finite, well-understood, stable repertoires of script signs. Inclusion of any new additions to the repertoires are meant to be pondered and debated by linguists and typographers. And it is meant to deal with communicative needs borne of real texts. Real, plain texts, not vagaries of formatting or iconography.

It’s been po-faced in the past. The German National Standards body ensured Klingon never made it into Unicode, for instance, for fear of bringing the standard into disrepute.

And then the emojis came.

It’s not just that they’re frivolous. (And yes, I also wasn’t happy about Dylan getting the Nobel for Literature.) It’s that they’re not stable, they’re not for the ages, they’re not finite, and they’re not text. Yes, they’re part of text messages. So are memes.

Emojis were included in legacy Japanese character sets, because that’s how the Japanese telcos encoded the blasted things. It was a kludge. It was not meant to be enshrined for the ages: using characters to do icons was a short term fix, and certainly not a sustainable one. Emojis are not the kinds of thing that are meant to be a well-defined, stable sign system, with additions debated by linguists and typographers: that truly defeats the purpose of emojis. Not to mention, emojis really do go against the spirit of Unicode.

But the Japanese telcos went with them, and then Apple went with them, and there we are.

The Unicode Technical Committee defends the inclusion, as they must. They say that they do not count as logos, or vanity symbols, or short term fads, and they are appropriately managed through a standards process that normally engages linguists and typographers. Not everyone in the Unicode community was convinced, but it’s done.

Damn me if I’m going to be happy about it, but.

What is your favorite phrase or line from a poem not in English?

Jane Marr! Why no A2A from you!

I’ve long been looking for an excuse to speak here of my favourite poem of all time.

It’s an odd choice. It’s an extremely formalist choice. It needs some setup.

Esperanto poetry is very formalist, for cultural reasons you can easily guess. At least, it was up through the 70s, which is what I read up to. Lots of rondels. Lots of sonnets. All sonnets Petrarchan. All rhymes meticulous.

Victor Sadler, an officer at the Universal Esperanto Association, published a slender volume in 1967, Memkritiko “Self Criticism”. (See discussion in Esperanto.) The shtick of the volume is that he found the poems in the Association archives, and he annotates them sarcastically. Very po-mo, but this would have been at the very outset of po-mo.

My favourite poem is a Petrarchan sonnet in his collection. Its subject matter is about dissolution.

Its form is about dissolution.

It’s a Petrarchan sonnet, but its verses are way too short. Trimeter and Dimeter, going down to a single foot at the end. The rhymes are off-rhymes, which is not normal in Esperanto. And in the sestet, the off-rhymes end up merging.

It’s like a sand castle, slowly washing away. Especially in the last three verses.

Mi, dezirante ĉerkon
ekshipokrito laca,
ĉi ŝakan ŝercon),

pluportis mian serĉon
ĝis la palaco
de ĉi korpo kuraca,
en kies riĉon

mi kitelumas
pli pace miajn ostojn
ol feton lulas

la utero; kaj ekson
mian ĝi teksas
en naskon.

I, wishing for a coffin
(to quit,
a tired ex-hypocrite,
this joke of chess),

continued my search
until the palace
of this healing body,
in whose riches

I besmock
my bones more peacefully
than the womb lulls

the fetus; and it weaves
my expiration
into birth.

What are the most probable changes in grammar and vocabulary of English in the 21th century?

OK, here’s one.

’ve after modals has already been reanalysed to of; not just as a written form, but in spoken English: would of, could of, should of.

Prediction: this gets expanded further by analogy, to link other modals and auxiliaries, now that the of is no longer analysed as a verb. can of, had of.

Stranger things have happened.

No, not Stranger things of happened. There are grammatical constraints at work here.

Is the English “cuz” (because) becoming a clitic?

Not yet in my speech, but you’re pointing out something interesting.

If you pronounce them as a single word, cuzall, cuzawesome, yeah, that’s a proclitic, and that’s grammaticalisation. I don’t.

I do pronounce ’cause as a single syllable often, many do. That’s a reduction, but I think it’s still independently stressed for me, and it’s certainly with a full vowel: coz /kɔz/ (Australian English), not cuz /kəz/. If you’re doing it as a schwa, that’s consistent with more extensive reduction of the word.

If you don’t mind: what’s your English dialect?

How often did scribes have to copy an ancient text before the invention of printing in order for that text to survive throughout the centuries?

At an absolute minimum in Europe, four times. Each time there was a technological advance in book production, the superseded tech books were copied and discarded. Tech advances included:

  • The introduction of papyrus
  • The introduction of the codex
  • The introduction of parchment
  • The introduction of lowercase

Do creole languages have one “base language” or two “parent languages”?

It’s a very good question.

Normally, creoles and pidgins are put in the too hard basket of linguistic family trees for precisely that reason. It’s very hard to argue for a single parent language, as pidgins, and the creoles that arise from them, really are mixed languages, with grammar from the one, vocabulary from the other, and structures from the lowest common denominator. So people are reluctant to say Tok Pisin is either Austronesian or Germanic; they typically put it in a category of its own.

A further complication is that there is almost always a single acrolect (“White”) parent, with the possible exception of Bislama; but any number of basilect (“Black”) parents. Pidgins typically arose in plantations, where slaves or workers spoke a lot of different languages and were torn from their social context. So adopting a pidgin was a matter of necessity.

Linguists tend to dodge the question, and creoles are so distinct from both basilects and acrolects, not to mention so much more similar to each other, that the question is not really that useful. But Multiple Parents is certainly closer to the truth than Single Parent.

Can anyone provide Latin or Greek versions of my Turkish name Mirac Tukenmez?

Original: Can anyone provide Latin or Greek versions of my Turkish name Mirac Tükenmez?

Hello, not-so-Anonymous!

So. Mirac, Arabic Mi’raj, is Ascension, as in the Ascension of Muhammad into Heaven. This corresponds to the Christian Ascension of Christ into Heaven—as in, one could reasonably use the same name.

The Greek for Ascension in that sense is Analēpsis. Literally, Taking Up. It’s not something Christ did on his own; he was Taken Up by God the Father. Without the trinitarian complications, that would be even more clearly the case for Muhammad.

There is no Ancient Greek name or Saint’s name I can find that derives from Analēpsis. If there were such a name, it would be Analēptos Ἀνάληπτος, “the Taken Up One”.

Tükenmez “Inextinguishable”? Ἄσβεστος Asbestos, of course. Yes, that’s what asbestos means.

Analeptus Asbestus?

I’ll add one variant. I was googling in case anyone has ever used the word Ἀνάληπτος as a name. I found that one guy took the word Ανεπανάληπτος “Unprecedented!”, and turned it into a moniker: Ανέπ Ανάληπητος, Anep Analeptos.

It’s not as good an option, and it’s a Greek in-joke. But there you go.

EDIT: It just occurred to me: people aren’t realising that the pronunciation of Mirac in Turkish is pretty close to Mirage in English. But Mirac in Turkish is a male name. Mirage in English is female, and sounds most like a stripper’s name…