Why shouldn’t Greece’s regions have autonomy?

The fact that Greece modelled itself after France, as a strongly centralising state, is not a reason why there shouldn’t be autonomy. Autonomy can work financially, after all; the autonomy of the Val d’Aosta after WWII, forced on Italy by de Gaulle proposing to invade, was part of the reason the Valley did so well in the 60s: it could pursue and manage its own initiatives. And contra Ioannis Kokkinidis’ answer, I’m sceptical that centralisation was a spontaneous demand from the people resenting feudalism, as opposed to an imposition from on high.

As Joe B’s answer points out, there is in fact some decentralisation and political autonomy now that wasn’t there before. Being much larger, the regions are more capable of getting things done than the prefectures used to be when I was a kid.

The real reason of course is Greek anxiety about secessionism, which you can see reflections of in Niko Vasileas’ answer. There has not been any serious talk about secessionism; in fact, outside of a fringe in Crete, there hasn’t been *any* talk that I know of of secessionism. But notice Greeks’ reactions to such hypotheticals: not laughter, but anger.

(Imma just leave this here: Is 2012 The Year Cretans Decide If They Want Out (from Greece)? And no, there was no expiration of a treaty joining Crete to Greece.)

Why do English-speaking people not prefer to say natrium, silisium, kalium, and use other Latin names of elements instead?

EDIT: QUESTION HAS BEEN MANGLED BY QCR: It is about Natrium, Kalium, Silicium vs Sodium, Potassium, Silicon.

Faulty premiss.

Sodium – Wikipedia, Potassium – Wikipedia.

Sodium and Potassium are not more or less Latin than Natrium and Kalium. (If anything, that K in Kalium is not particularly Latinate.) They are just alternate names proposed for the same element, just as Tungsten and Wolfram were.

Humphry Davy in Britain came up with Sodium and Potassium, while Ludwig Wilhelm Gilbert in Germany, a couple of years later, proposed Natronium (later Natrium) and Kalium.

None of the words are Latin in origin. In particular, Sodium comes from the Arabic suda “headache” (soda helps alleviate headaches), while Natr(on)ium derives from Natron, which is ultimately Ancient Egyptian. Potassium comes from English potash (ultimately Dutch), while Kalium comes from alkali < Arabic al-qalyah “plant ashes”.

The national breakdown of Sodium/Natrium and Potassium/Kalium divides Western and Central/Eastern Europe: countries culturally closer to Germany went with Gilbert’s German proposal (Dutch, Russian, Greek, and all countries in between), countries culturally closer to Britain used Davy’s original English proposal (French, Italian, Spanish).

EDIT: The question has been edited to ask about Silicium vs Silicon as well.

Silicon – Wikipedia

This time, Humphry Davy is behind the German name: he called it silicium, because he thought it was a metal. Nine years later, Thomas Thomson (chemist) called it silicon, because he thought it was a non-metal, like carbon and boron. It is in fact a Metalloid, which is in between.

This time, English is on its own: French, German, Italian, Spanish all call it silicium. Russian (and hence the Slavic languages) coined its own form kremnij from Ancient Greek krēmnos ‘cliff’. The other languages that use silicon are those under strong English influence: languages of the British Islands, and countries formerly under British or American colonialism: Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Africa:

  • Afrikaans (but not Dutch!)
  • Welsh
  • Gaelic
  • Kikuyu (Kenya)
  • Hawaiian
  • Malay & Indonesian
  • Sundanese
  • Tagalog
  • Waray
  • Swahili
  • Somali
  • Yoruba

What do you think you are most known for here on Quora?

I’d love to think I’m best known for my erudition on linguistics, and Greek linguistics in particular.

Or for posting things in areas that I don’t necessarily know a lot about, but at least rustling up a decent argument for what I do post.

Realistically, I’m likely best known for being the most consistent current internal critic of Quora, now that Scott Welch seems to have yielded that mantle to me.

What are your standards for muting someone on Quora?

I mute people who violate my own standards of appropriate Quora behaviour. They are not Quora’s. I don’t mute people for being not nice (nice?!) or not respectful (respectful? I’m Australian!)

I have muted people for being:

  • Conspiracy theory peddlers
  • Antagonistic
    • My fellow Language fans can all conjure up to mind the spelling reform advocate who combines both. No, I am not personally responsible for the lack of spelling reform in English.
    • Antagonism seems to be a cut above BNBR; there’s several Quill-bearers who’ve remained unpunished despite them, but they won’t be getting my eyeballs. OTOH, there are several natural candidates for the Quill who aren’t getting it, and the most obvious cause is their antagonistic demeanour. Including one very erudite writer, currently serving a six month edit block.
  • Incoherent
    • There’s one particular poster I have in mind who seems to have some sort of disorder impairing her coherence. I’m sure she’s lovely, and I’m sure I don’t have the professional training to make sense of her.
  • Blocking Comments
    • It’s your right to refuse me my feedback. It’s my right to refuse you my eyeballs.
  • My particular bugbear, and much too prevalent in the upper echelons: Arrogant
    • And if you do both… hoo boy. To perdition with you.

There are other classes of noxiousness, such as Polyannas and Salespeople and Bigots, but my topic feed curation seems to have kept them the hell away from me.

Was it common for 1st century writing to use present tense when talking about something in the past?

Whenever someone says “1st century”, I immediately assume “you’re talking about the New Testament, aren’t you”.

The Historical present is a widespread narrative convention. It is used to some extent in English; it is more common in other modern European languages than it is in English; and it was certainly used in Latin and Ancient Greek, including in the New Testament:

Historical present – Wikipedia

In linguistics and rhetoric, the historical present or historic present … is the employment of the present tense when narrating past events. It is widely used in writing about history in Latin (where it is sometimes referred to by its Latin name, praesens historicum) and some modern European languages; in English it is used above all in historical chronicles (listing a series of events); it is also used in fiction, for “hot news” (as in headlines), and in everyday conversation (Huddleston & Pullum 2002: 129–131). In conversation, it is particularly common with “verbs of communication” such as tell, write, and say (and in colloquial uses, go) (Leech 2002: 7).

http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/fo… for Greek

Should I deactivate because of the Quora Moderation being particularly strict?

I thank Konstantinos for his answer, the more so because it is refreshingly free of the “if you can’t do BNBR then you are an asshole” refrain so commonly heard.

My answer comes from a different place, as you’d expect.

By deactivating, you are declaring that the negativity of dealing with Quora Moderation outweighs the positivity of the questions and answers experience, and of dealing with the Quora Community.

This is a reasonable stance. There are other comparable venues you can use instead, some even more strict (Stack Exchange), some less strict (Reddit, Yahoo Answers), some more specialised (blogs), and so forth.

Quora is a private concern. We do not live in a democracy in Quora; we also do not live under a regime of Natural Justice (Nick Nicholas’ answer to Should Quorans be allowed to present a statement of defense before being sentenced to a permanent ban?) The laws may be good and proper—or they may not. But they are not open to feedback from the people (although they are open to feedback from Christopher VanLang), and their enforcement is not open to scrutiny.

As Tatiana famously put it: Same old story by Tatiana Estévez on Moderation FAQs

Whether you agree with moderation or not, whether you think moderation is too harsh or not, it doesn’t matter, it applies to everyone.

We can query whether it does apply to everyone, precisely because of the lack of transparency. But there is no redress through the ballot box or an ombudsman; there’s just sporadic upholding of appeals, and speculation. And as one Writer put it in defending this state of affairs:

– moderation has the power

– everybody else does not (read it again, folks, in case that didn’t sink in). We are judge, jury and executioner. So please, pretty please with sugar on top, shut the fuck up. You don’t get a say and your words are not helping.

Most regimes where the same body are judge, jury and executioner, I suppose, don’t bother with the “please, pretty please with sugar on top”.

If one finds oneself in such a regime, what courses are open to one?

  • Accept that the benefits outweigh the harm, comply, and continue on here. Maybe even defend the regime, as the most reasonable arrangement for a private forum provider, to prevent descending into the morass of YouTube comments.
  • Reject that the benefits outweigh the harm, and leave the forum. As OP proposes.
  • Rebel, and get expelled from the forum.
  • The course I’ve chosen is Dissent.

Dissent does not mean antinomianism. It does not mean anarchy. It does not mean disobedience, civil or otherwise. It does not mean rejecting all or most or some of the principles of Quora, including BNBR. Dissent doesn’t even mean saying Moderation is too strict, overall.

But dissent does mean pointing out what you think is wrong, when you think, in considered and dispassionate judgement, that it’s wrong.

It does mean declining to shut the fuck up. Not because it will change anything, but because it is the right thing to do.

Answered 2017-07-11 · Upvoted by

Achilleas Vortselas, Quora Admin Emeritus

Is it true that Americans don’t learn Old Greek, Latin, or German?

Ugh to many of these answers.

The traditional European language curriculum was oriented to an elite, and had to do with instilling the cultural values of the West, which privileged Latin and Greek. Latin was still the lingua franca for European intellectuals up until the 18th century, but that does not explain Greek. I’ve written on that more extensively at Nick Nicholas’ answer to In the traditional British public school system, why is (or was) it believed that knowledge of “the classics” was necessary?

German was added in the 19th century because German at the time was what English is now: the language of science and technology and scholarship. In the Anglosphere, French was always more prominent than German.

The curriculum worldwide has turned away from prioritising culture and character development, to prioritising utilitarian skills and citizenship. That shift has been most prominent in the Anglosphere, and slowest in Germany—the last refuge of Bildung in the West. Accordingly, the choice of language in the Anglosphere is now most oriented to what will be most useful to students: Chinese in Australia rather than French, Spanish in America.

That’s not something to boast about or decry; it just is. Learning Spanish is still better than learning no language at all. And learning a putatively useless language is not stupid or the cause of the collapse of the British Empire (Good Lord!):

  • It was definitely not seen as useless by those who promoted it, and it had a clear ideological intent (see my linked answer).
  • Not everything in school has to be about utility.
  • It’s not like people retain from school the utilitarian skills that they don’t end up using.

If the place of Latin in the curriculum is shaky because it isn’t “useful”, I’d argue the place of trigonometry is even shakier. In fact, prioritising trigonometry over statistics is downright irresponsible to the citizenry…

How do you pronounce “five sixths”?

See also:

In casual speech, I say [sɪkθː], with Compensatory lengthening. Deborah Sale-Butler’s answer mentions “sisths” or “sixs”; I’ll bet you the [s] at the end of “sixs” is lengthened too. In fact, I’ll bet you that’s why she wrote “sixs” and not “six”.