What do languages that use other scripts call each letter of the Latin alphabet?

Greek uses French names for Latin letters, because French was the prestige Latin alphabet language: “Vitamini Ah, Vitamini Beh, Vitamini Seh” (to use fauxnetics).

Or least, they did. You will of course hear a lot more English names of Latin letters now in Athens, I expect.

Is it true that Eisenhower didn’t like Nixon?

Please don’t make me reread Ambrose; it’s a big book.

But yes.

  • Repeated snubs by Ike, about Nixon making VP at all, about being renominated as VP, about actually supporting Nixon’s presidential run. Culminating in the famous “shit or get off the pot” outburst by Nixon.
  • Repeated jabs that Nixon had no executive experience, so he needed to be demoted to a cabinet position.
  • Passive-aggressive delegation of handling Nixon to his Chief of Staff.
  • Lack of any intimacy with Nixon, and inviting him to hang out with him only under sufferance.

Ike was not a party man, and Nixon was to him an imposition.

Is anyone eligible to distribute ancient and classical texts commercially?

What Gwydion Madawc Williams said: Vote #1 Gwydion Madawc Williams’ answer to Is anyone eligible to distribute ancient and classical texts commercially?

With one edge case as an exception.

An editor does work in reconstructing the original form of an ancient text preserved in manuscripts. That work is intellectual labour, and it can end up being substantial intellectual labour. But it has not usually been deemed a sufficient contribution for the editor to claim copyright over the ancient text they’ve reconstructed.

(They could claim copyright over the Critical apparatus of the text; and it’s no coincidence that the TLG has never entered the app crit in their digitised texts.)

But if a text is extremely fragmentary, and the editor has expended considerable ingenuity in filling in the blanks—and that does happen in some work attested in scraps of papyrus—then most of the words in the text might be not on the papyrus at all, and might be the editor’s IP instead. In that case the editor may well have more of a claim of intellectual ownership.


How has the word “pou” (που) been used in Greek, historically, throughout the various dialects?

God bless Khateeb, he’s actually asking me what I found in my PhD. Without me bribing him. And I’ve forgotten to reupload my thesis; Khateeb, remind me to do it if I haven’t done it in the next week.

There will be some jargon here, but I’ll try to keep it high level.

που (< ὅπου “where”) is a relative conjunction (I saw the guy that came here). It can also be used in Standard Greek to introduce some clausal complements, but not all (I am happy that you came, but not I hope that you came. I hear you walking, but not I heard that you walked. You walked in—I already knew that, but not I know that you walked in.) And especially in older vernacular Greek, it was a catch-all conjunction in general: it could be used to mean “when”, “because”, “although”, etc.

If any classicists are reading this: its range of functions is pretty similar to those of the Ancient participle.

The unifying principle seems to be that whatever clause it introduces is taken as given, in some sense. (Some very slippery, hard to express sense.) It is true and real in the world, or it is presupposed, or it is phrased as if it is presupposed.

  • Τhere’s a wonderful exception in “the hell I did!”-type statements, where the speaker is making fun of the claim being presupposed by someone else: βρε άει στο διάολο που πήγα. Nicholas, N. 2005. pu-based Greek Rude Negators. Journal of Greek Linguistics 6. 103-150; http://www.opoudjis.net/Work/xez…

What’s the diversity in dialect? High level:

  • Lots and lots of dialects have generalised the complement use to all real complements: they can use it to say “I heard that you walked” or “I know that you walked”. Constantinople dialect is the best known one; see http://www.opoudjis.net/Work/com…. There’s no obvious connection between the dialects, and I think it’s just independent drift: it’s the kind of construction that would generalise anyway.
  • For the conjunction use, the dialects generally align, but the mainland dialects align much more closely than the island dialects do. Some island dialects do strange things with που as a conjunction, especially moving it away from given clauses, to more hypothetical clauses (e.g. “whenever”).

My irresponsible hypothesis on the latter: mainland dialects are more homogeneous grammatically, because of unimpeded communication between regions and bilingualism: analogy was more pervasive in levelling out eccentric developments, and promoting internal consistency (που always referring to given situations, etc). The islands are more eccentric linguistically in general (including more archaic): they are more isolated, and have not had any bilingualism. So they had less pressure to level out eccentricities.

How does Albanian sound to you as a foreigner?

Now that was surprising.

I thought I heard clear accent differences in the broadcast, jumping around.

The intonation was familiar to me from northern Greece. And Arvanitika certainly sounds to me like dialectal Greek + schwas. I’ve heard Albanian on the radio in Australia once or twice, and it sounded familiar too.

But this didn’t. The <ll> and <sh> were much clearer, the vowels more mushy sounding, I even thought I heard some Russian-style palatals. The Albanian I’ve heard before sounded zingy, a bit like Greek; this didn’t. (And I have no idea if I’m just fantasising this.)

If I had to pick a language it reminded me of, I’d pick Polish.

EDIT for User-13249930999434776143. The reporter on the second video sounded much more like I expected Albanian to be. Clear schwas, crisp, and clear palatal / alveolar contrasts.

The hosts sounded crisp as well, but because they spoke very fast, they still sounded very sibilant. Not Polish at all, but perhaps Bulgarian.

How do you feel about your most popular Quora answer?

This is intertwined with:

Nick Nicholas’ answer to What is your most overrated Quora answer?

When I wrote Nick Nicholas’ answer to How many states can you identify on the Map of India? (which I did not do great in), Shashank Nayak smirked to me:

Prepare to hit the Indian upvote lottery!.

Nah, that’s just silly, I answered:

… The Indian *downvote* lottery, surely…

Of course, that answer did not hit the Indian upvote lottery. That would indeed be silly.

Nick Nicholas’ answer to Which Indian states are well known in other countries? did instead. Which was a repackaging of the same answer, minus one or two states I knew through unconventional avenues (Nagaland).

In the past two weeks: 112k views, 670 upvotes, and some horrific number of digest forwards.

How do I feel about it? Well, how I felt about my previous most popular answers (which were about Quora Moderation decisions) (why yes, one of those questions has indeed since been deleted) was:

I am proud of those answers. But I don’t think I’m 5 times more proud of those answers, than I am of the questions where I try to work out a historical linguistic puzzle from first principles…

This one? I’m certainly not 50 times more proud. I’m not even as proud of it as I am of those moderation question answers. It was just a trifle.


Could someone produce a rank for Cyprus based on size among European islands?

Let’s take List of islands by area – Wikipedia, and edit in the European islands. Plus or Minus.

  1. Great Britain. 209k [math]km^2[/math]
  2. Iceland 101k [math]km^2[/math]
  3. Ireland 84k [math]km^2[/math]
  4. Severny Island (Novaya Zemlya) 47k [math]km^2[/math]
  5. Spitsbergen 39k [math]km^2[/math]
  6. Yuzhny Island (Novaya Zemlya) 33k [math]km^2[/math]
  7. Sicily 26k [math]km^2[/math]
  8. Sardinia 24k [math]km^2[/math]
  9. Nordaustlandet 14k [math]km^2[/math]
  10. Cyprus 9k [math]km^2[/math]