Have you lost track of the people you have followed and the reason you followed them in the first place?

I’ve tried to limit the people I follow to Dunbar’s number of 150, and failed. I’m at 368; I’m very circumspect nowadays about adding more people. But yes, I have lost track, and I doubt anyone with more than 150 hasn’t.

I have kept track of my regulars; they feature on Opɯdʒɯlɯklɑr In Exile in the “I love youse all” series, and they are added to as I go. 60 so far in the series, and there will be more. In fact, I probably have kept track of… oh, I dunno… 150 of the 368? 🙂

Why I followed them? I’m a lot worse at that. I only remember a couple of Why-I-followeds, as opposed to Why-I-keep-followings. I remember well that I followed Dimitra Triantafyllidou, because we started by yelling at each other about the provenance of Greek-speakers in Western Turkey. I know that I followed Sam Murray, because they messaged me first, with a joyfulness that came quite out of nowhere. I vaguely recollect that I noticed Michael Masiello posting about obscure music (Alkan), and I dug his style. Chrys Jordan snared me with his post on the Cryptocracy: Chrys Jordan’s answer to What if Quora were a country?.

But many of them, I just saw around, often as friends of friends, often in topics I focus on, and I liked what they had to say. I’ve been rewarded for it. I’m hazy as to how it started, but I’m glad it’s continued.

Do you consciously live your life as “Being-towards-death” (or any comparable idea)? How does it affect your daily life, if at all?

Ah, Desmond. I am a philosophy dolt, and I take no pride in that. But I have dreaded death since I associated Alice Cooper with the Boogeyman when I was 6, and I’ve had different responses to it. Fear, denial, self-aggrandisement. (That was my twenties: “I’ll write the definitive grammar of mediaeval Greek”, “I’ll get all my papers laminated and sent to Spitzbergen.”)

In my forties, I have reverted to a verse I wrote in my teens, in Esperanto, about what the apocalypse might look like, and which features here: Nick Nicholas’ answer to If Earth were to explode in 10 hours, what would you do?

Ni iris — laborejen. Malkontraŭ la malbeno.
We went — to the office. Un-against the un-blessing.

I won’t fight Death. And I won’t allow Death the victory of overawing me, or paralysing me, or making me have one last riotous spree, or doing any goddamned thing differently. I will go about my business.

Or as that Greek folk song put it (a little less morosely):

Alas I’m forty by Nick Nicholas on Opɯdʒɯlɯklɑr In Exile

και από τσι χάρες τση ζωής τσι πλια όμορφες θα πάρω,
να αφήσω αποδιαλέουρα στον κερατά το Χάρο.

I’ll sample all the best life has to give.
The leftovers—that bastard Death can have.

Do some people still have old Latin names and surnames?

Translating your surname into Latin was in fashion in the 16th through 18th centuries for many Germans and Swedes; Linnaeus (von Linné), for example, or Neander (as in Neanderthal; Neumann).

EDIT: Philip Newton points out Neander is Greek. True dat. OK, try Faber (surname), Latin for “Smith”. Or Schmidt.

Sometimes, it has stuck around. I’m assuming Oscar Pistorius is also an instance of Afrikaaners doing this.

See Why are some old German surnames Latin?

I can think of other examples of Latin surnames in Germany, such as Michael Praetorius. There was even a good footballer in the 80’s named Holger Hieronymus.

Do Greeks write in cursive? Is there a cursive way to write Greek?

Nick Nicholas’ answer to Does an equivalent of cursive exist in other alphabets?

Greek: there was a cursive modelled after Western cursive in the 19th/20th century. It fell out of use long before computers (I was never taught it in school); I have seen it in letters from the 50s.

The main differences to what you might expect: kappa looking like a <u>; pi as an omega with a loop (ϖ); tau as a tall slash; psi looking like a <y>.

Could Esperanto seriously become the lingua franca?

A2A by Rahul. Ah, Rahul. This hurts. Nick Nicholas’ answer to What is it like to be a kabeinto? What was it like to leave Esperantujo?

But, you asked.

The lingua franca? Of course not, not any more. There might have been a brief window with the League of Nations, maybe even the UN, but that’s long gone.

It’s a lingua franca, but as the Rauma school (Raumism) have taken to calling it, it’s really more a self-selected diaspora language by now.

Let me turn this on its head though. When the Delegation for the Adoption of an International Auxiliary Language met in 1907 to decide which the right auxiliary language would be, Zamenhof was prepared to go along with what they decided. He was on the record more than once saying that he was not an Esperanto chauvinist: he was in it for an international language to enable peace in the world, and he didn’t mind whose language it was.

But the rank and file didn’t go along with that—especially once de Beaufront’s double cross was found out. And really, the only way Esperanto would be adopted as the lingua franca now, is if some group like the Delegation was able to impose it on a One World Government, and they’d certainly want to make that conditional on a bucket of reforms and tweaks.

Esperantists are now Esperanto chauvinists, because we’re involved in the language not so much for Zamenhof’s dream of a world language, but for the reality of the culture that has grown around the language. I wouldn’t give up the Esperanto as I know it, in exchange for an Esperanto Mark #2 being the lingua franca. I’m curious how many would.

By which languages was your native language influenced the most?

Modern Greek?

In terms of vocabulary, Italian (including Venetian), but not by much; toss-up between Italian and Turkish. Then Latin, then French, then English.

In terms of grammar, any significant influence was through the Balkan Sprachbund. A lot of the Sprachbund features originated in Greek (and we can tell through the history of Greek and Old Church Slavonic); but not all of it. It’s very hard to disentangle Albanian and Macedonian–Bulgarian as influences, so I won’t.

Are the characters in “reality” TV shows usually all real people, or are actors frequently used?

They are indeed real people, who interview for the privilege, rather than professional actors. The whole point, after all, is that “real people” are cheaper.

That doesn’t necessarily mean they are media innocents, of course, and I’m quite happy when I find they are not. There are people who have done repeat appearances in various reality shows. There are also bizarre outbursts of outrage in Australia, when participants on The Bachelor or Married At First Sight or The Block turn out to have been strippers or to have acted in ads. I’m actually relieved the latest Bachelorette in Australia was a former news anchor.