Why is standard Albanian language based on the Tosk dialect and not the Gheg dialect?

My answer is not ultimately different to User-13249930999434776143’s. (Vote #1: User-13249930999434776143’s answer to Why is standard Albanian language based on the Tosk dialect and not the Gheg dialect?) But it is a bit less nuanced.

Albanian is divided into Tosk dialect in the south, and Geg dialect in the north.

The standard language of Albania before WWII was Southern Geg, based on the dialect of Elbasan. Elbasan Geg was close to the Tosk/Geg border, so it was a dialect that could serve as a middle point between Tosk and Geg. And while Elbasan was not the capital of the country, it was culturally prestigious. In other words, the choice of Elbasan Geg was a good choice of standard dialect, as these things go.

The postwar standard was not Southern Geg. It was Southern Tosk. So it was not a middle point of Tosk and Geg; it was at the extreme of dialects spoken within Albania. And it wasn’t spoken anywhere massively prestigious: it was spoken in places near the southern border of the country, like Vlorë and Korçë and Gjirokastër.

Postwar Albania was ruled by Enver Hoxha and his fellow partisans.

Enver Hoxha was born in?

That’s right. Gjirokastër.

It really is as simple as that.

By the time the communist regime fell, Southern Tosk had been entrenched in Albania as the standard language for a generation, and there was no move to restore the prewar standard. The most telling development for me was seeing Kosovo, which is Northern Geg, adopt Standard Albanian—based a dialect as far from the local dialect as you can get without ending up in the Arvanite diaspora. And Aziz Dida’s answer to my question Is there interest in keeping Geg as the standard language of Kosovo? shows, that has proven somewhat challenging for Kosovars.

EDIT: Death by standardization, a Gheg drama by User-13249930999434776143 on albanophilia. Drop everything, and read it.

Why do questions and all their content suddenly disappear?

Questions can be deleted by moderation. If they are, the links to individual answers will work only for the original answerer, and they will not be accessible by anyone else.

Orphaned answers: No Notification by Nick Nicholas on Bug? or Feature?

Which language has the most beautiful name?

Oh, what is one’s standard for aesthetics when it comes to beauty? Tolkien’s? Tolkien’s make me want to slap him. “Ooh! Welsh! Ooh! Finnish! Ooh! Cellar door! Ooh! Arabic is so nassssty, my precious!! I’ll make the orcs speak it.” Pfft.

I work on a more meta level.

When I was lecturing, my coverall term for “exotic language” was Boingo Boingo. “So if a form like X shows up in Boingo Boingo, that does not necessarily imply…” Clearly somehow the band name Oingo Boingo had worked its way into my subconscious.

So wouldn’t it be cool if some exotic language actually was called Boingo Boingo?

None is to my knowledge. But Kaugel language – Wikipedia is spoken by 77,000 people in Papua New Guinea. (Which, for Papua New Guinea, is huge.)

Now, I did not find out about Kaugel from Wikipedia. I found out about it, while working as a research assistant on a PNG phonological survey, from Ethnologue. Ethnologue is a splitter not a lumper, so it lists the dialects of Kaugel as separate languages.

Those dialects are Aua and Gawil.

Gawil is listed as a language in Ethnologue under its alternate name:

I rejoiced when I saw that listing. I had found my Boingo Boingo at long last.

What are the most prevalent Arvanite surnames in Greece?

I mean, I know of some Arvanite surnames, but rather than rack my brains, I’m going to go to this blog posts ΕΛΛΗΝΟ-ΑΡΒΑΝΙΤΙΚΑ ΕΠΩΝΥΜΑ and ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΑ ΕΠΩΝΥΜΑ ΑΡΒΑΝΙΤΙΚΗΣ ΠΡΟΕΛΕΥΣΗΣ, both drawn from the book Arvanites by Kostas Biris, and cite the surnames I’ve heard of. Not as scientific a method as you’d like, and probably not actually the most frequent ones; but it’s what you’re going to get from me.

  • Ginis (Gjinj “John”)
  • Gumas (James)
  • Kalesis < kalesh “sheep or dog with black and white marks”
  • Kanakis
  • Katsanis < kacan “greedy”
  • Kontos
  • Kriekoukis < kryekuq “redhead”
  • Vilaras “cloth seller”
  • Mexas
  • Buras < burrë “man, brave”
  • Priftis “priest”
  • Sklepas “lame”
  • Latsis < llaci “apprentice builder”
  • Liotsis < loçi “friend; fool”
  • Lykourezos < lëkurenxirë “dark-skinned”
  • Manesis < manesë “slow”
  • Bithikotsis < bythë “bottom, arse” + Kotsis “Constantine”
  • Dragas < dragë “avalanche”

Is it good to study modern Greek while learning Koine Greek?

I wouldn’t go so far as saying it would impede it, but you need to be careful. There will be false friends: words changed meaning from Koine to Modern. The drastic simplification of the grammar in Modern Greek will make you annoyed about having to learn more paradigms in Koine. I think, in many ways—particularly learning grammar and syntax, Modern Greek will be a distraction.

I can think of two high-level benefits, though:

  • If you’re coming to Koine already knowing Classical Greek, Modern Greek is a very useful antidote: it reminds you that Koine wasn’t a corruption of the ancient language, but an evolution whose endpoint you can see in the Modern. (Robertson’s exceedingly chatty grammar of New Testament Greek appeals to Modern Greek a lot.)
  • And: Modern Greek is a living language. So was Koine, and so was Ancient Greek, but because they’re not living now, Modern Greek can help remind you that Koine, too, was a language spoken by real human beings, who walked the earth on two legs.

I heard that old languages didn’t have future tense, and that it developed only in younger languages. Is this true? Why would that happen?

We know that the ancient Greek future tense suffix –s– is derived from an Indo-European desiderative suffix –sy-. In other words the suffix that already in Homeric Greek meant “I will” is derived from a suffix that I originally meant “I want to”, and that in fact independently survived in Ancient Greek with that meaning (khe-sei-ō “I want to take a crap”).

By the way, you know what the future tense I will derived from in English, right? That’s it. It used to mean I want to.

Similarly, the Latin future suffix –b– can be explained through the Proto-Indo-European verb for to be, becoming a suffix and attaching to a verb. I am to go.

Sound familiar?

But the fact that the ancient Greek or Latin future suffix is an innovation does not mean that Indo-European did not have a means for expressing the future. It may have been a different suffix. It may have been a different auxiliary verb. It may have been a circumlocution, like using the adverb soon or tomorrow.

Latin had a future tense. It has disappeared without a trace in Romance languages, which instead use a suffix based on have. Language churns, and we believe language churned in the same way 5000 years ago. The fact that the Romance future suffix is an innovation does not mean Latin did not have a future suffix of its own.

How would you translate Rilke’s line “du musst dein Leben ändern” into an appropriate Ancient Greek dialect?

Ah, Desmond. I wade in where fools fear to tread, but better a fool than noone.

The point of the line “You have to change your life” is that the sculpture is so strikingly beautiful, it forces someone to change their life.

Well, let’s assemble our building blocks.

δεῖ σε τὸν βίον “it is necessary that you… life”

δὴ “then, at that point” or οὖν “so, therefore”: Classical Greek would want to know what this sentence has to do with the foregoing text.

ἀλλάξειν “change (perfective)”, or ἀλλάσσειν “keep changing”. But you know, ändern “to otherise” makes me think of another verb:

ἀλλοιώσειν “to other (perfective) = to alter, to change”, or ἀλλοιοῦν “to keep altering”. The verb ἀλλοιόω can have a negative connotation, particularly in Modern Greek—to adulterate, to alter from what it is supposed to be. But it doesn’t have to, and I like that it’s not just changing, but making it something different.

So I’ll put together this Attic: δεῖ σὲ δὴ τὸν βίον ἀλλοιοῦν. “Then you have to be altering your life.”

What’s the right dialect? I’d think Doric rather than Aeolic, it’s not really personal sentiment but monumental sentiment.

And I think in Doric that ends up as: δεῖ τὲ δὴ τὸν βίον ἀλλοιῶν.

But I wade in where fools fear to tread, and I’d like to hear from others who aren’t guessing. Including what you’d come up with, Desmond!

EDIT: After discussion with Neeraj Mathur and Desmond in comments:

δεῖ δὴ τὲ τὰν ψυχὰν ἀλλοιῶν.

δή was misplaced, and ψυχή in Homeric Greek did not yet mean “soul”; even if it had, it’s appropriate here.

How extensive is the Quora lexicon?

Well, someone in 2014 came up with Quommunism and Quomrade:

You’ll see from my answer to the question two years later, that I was none too impressed with the coinage.

There’s the answers to What is the collective noun for Quorans (Quora Users)? Uncontroversially, Edward Conway won this with a Quorum of Quorans.

Quoring is used in at least some questions here; e.g Should I stop Quoring because no one upvotes my answers here? Why or why not?

Quorist is a rarer alternative to Quoran; e.g. For Quorists having more than one child: Why do you think that so many people decide against the deep joy of children or even stay childless?

EDIT: Also, Quoraverse: e.g. How many life forms reside in the Quoraverse?

For actual Quora lexicon, there is a good list of acronyms at Lorenzo Peroni’s answer to What acronyms or abbreviations are used frequently on Quora? What do they mean?

There’s also the long standing extension of ban to refer to edit-blocking, as a quirk of Quora vocabulary.

Atheists: What will you say to God if he destroys you in hell for not believing he exists?

Answering this is just enabling pettiness, and sowing dissension between myself and my friends who are believers.

I’m answering it because I’ve found a passage I’ve been wanting to quote here for a long time. In answering it, I do not mean disrespect to my friends who are believers; and if they might take it, I beg them not to read further. But it’s a passage whose resentment has stayed with me.

I’ve cited Greek Mythology by the Greek humorist Nikos Tsiforos several times here. I’m citing this, the start to one of his chapters on Hermes. It’s anti-clerical, not anti-God, but it’s the same argument.

He speaks of the changes of the seasons, and sunrise and moonset, as mechanical processes that people wish to imbue meaning to, but they keep on regardless—

And all of this happens with a purpose hidden among the mysteries of the stars. And we come into the world as toothless and wrinkly babies, and we leave it as toothless and wrinkly old people. In the seventy or eighty years of our crappy existence we think ourselves the centre of the universe, we speak of transcendence and ideals, we shit and piss, some of us leave a squirt mark on history, most of us pass by unnoticed and struck down.

And the priests with their censers alongside us hound us with cauldrons full of hot pitch and torments, world without end. Why the hell? Because we’ve committed the crime of coming into this world, to live for seven or eight decades, eating our bread by our sweat and bitterness by the bushel? Well fuck off!