Why is “cunt” considered very offensive in the US but not in Australia?

Why didn’t Modern Greek unify all the ancient Greek dialects? See my comment.

The answer is Niko Vasileas’ answer.

I’ll add that koineisation, the merger of dialects into a new norm, happens a lot. Australian English is a dialect koine, for example, and so is the contemporary dialect of London, and so is Early Modern English.

They do tend to have a dominant dialect as their basis, typically for reasons of prestige rather than geography; Early Modern English, for example, owes more to the dialects of the East Midlands than London itself, because the tradespeople from there were prestigious. They also don’t seek to represent all candidate dialects equally. In the case of the Ancient Greek Koine, Aeolic and Arcado-Cypriot would have been way too archaic and obscure to fit in to any dialect koine; and as it turns out, they didn’t.

Which ball do you scratch more – the left one or the right one?

Quora thinks this is a joke question. Itches are physiology: whatever OP had in mind, I think this is a real question, and it likely has some correlation with the nervous system that’s legitimate to explore. (Which would make this a survey question.)

Why I’ve been A2A’d, when all I know about physiology is that it’s a Greek word, is less clear to me.

The right.

What do you dislike about your Quora experience?

You A2A’d me this, Philip, before the community uproar about the removal of Question Details. I’ll try not to do recentism.

What I dislike is what I summarised here (in the aftermath of the community uproar): Quora Obtrudes by Nick Nicholas on The Insurgency. It’s a feeling that, whatever I try to do here, Quora puts up something to get in my way. Timeouts, confusing UX, overzealous reporting, draconian policy, edit wars with bots and of bots with each other, sneering from entitled writers. It’s like walking through sludge.

There’s one more thing I dislike, that I didn’t mention in that post.

Can you write a limerick about a Quoran? (DELETED QUESTION) by Nick Nicholas on Opɯdʒɯlɯklɑr In Exile

Seeing people you’ve grown attached to, time and again, banned or quit—until you grow entirely numb to it.

I don’t like needing to grow numb. I have enough of that in my life already.

If so many Greeks live in Anatolia (modern Turkey), then should we consider Greeks as Asians and not Europeans?

It’s an interesting question—more interesting than people are giving it credit for.

The question I’m going to write on is, how did the balance between Anatolian Greeks and Balkan Greeks change over time, and should that change in geography influence whether we call them European or Asian?

(You might say, it’s only interesting because I’m expanding the question way beyond what OP wrote. No matter.)

Classical Greeks were in both Anatolia and the Balkans. But the Anatolian settlements were regarded as colonies of city-states in the Balkans, so they had less cultural prestige. Moreover, from the perspective of Classical Athens (which is the perspective we all care about the most), Anatolian Greeks were much more overtly under the influence of the Persian Empire (if not ruled by them outright), than Balkan Greeks: another point against their prestige. So, Greeks in the Balkans regarded themselves as “real” Greeks; and “Asiatics” was not a complement.

OTOH, Classical Greeks didn’t call themselves Europeans. They regarded the non-Greeks of Asia as barbarians, and the Greeks of Asia as suspect. But they also regarded the non-Greeks of Europe as barbarians. They’d have no reason to identify with them more.

For Greeks in the Roman Empire, Greekdom was everywhere: Greek was the lingua franca of the Eastern half of the Empire, from Illyria to Arabia. Splitting Europe and Asia as chunks of identity just made no sense back then.

In the middle Byzantine Empire, Anatolia was the heartland, and Hellas, southern Greece, was a hardscrabble province with a bunch of non-Hellenes hanging around, that noone paid any attention too. That’s the time when Anatolian Greekdom had the most cultural prestige among Greek-speakers, and Balkans Greekdom the least. But then too Greeks were no more eager to identify themselves with the Catholic heretics of Western Europe than the Muslim infidels of the Middle East.

Notoriously, Loukas Notaras said in the 1440s, “I would rather see a Turkish turban in the midst of Constantinople than the Latin mitre.” He was talking about his rejection of church union (subjugation by the Vatican) as the price to pay for preventing the Ottoman conquest. It was a very popular opinion. It was also Greeks saying, if our only choices really are European and Asiatic (they regarded themselves as neither), we’ll pick Asiatic.

Constantinople remained the cultural centre of Greekdom until the establishment of the new Greek state. It’s only then that Greeks start to pay attention to the notion of Greeks being European—although there was a lot of pushback to the notion, which lasted for a century.

When do Greeks become proud to identify themselves as European? After the Enlightenment, when the West started looking more attractive than the East; Greek could plausibly say in the 19th century “I would rather be a scissor-arse than wear a turban.” (Scissor-arse, ψαλιδόκωλος, was how Greeks described the Tailcoat.) The precondition to them doing so was that they no longer had the luxury of regarding themselves as neither: they lost that in 1453. And while they were the Rum Millet under the Ottomans, the facts on the ground identified them with Asia, whether they were in Smyrna or Patras.

So the official discourse of the Greek state has been to choose Europe—the West—over Asia. It’s a choice that the remaining intelligentsia in Constantinople did not necessarily approve of: the Greek Orthodox church certainly remained suspicious of the West.

Whether Greeks are Europeans or Asians is a cultural rather than a geographical choice. Every time I walk into a Dewey Decimal System library, I’m reminded that Cyprus is geographically in Asia, not Europe. Greek Cypriots have always been less uptight about being a cross-roads of peoples than Greece Greeks; but you still won’t hear them say “of course we’re in Asia.”

I just wanted to emphasise that, at the time in history when the cultural weight of Greekdom really was in Asia Minor, the choice between Asia and Europe was either irrelevant (we are the Roman Empire, we are neither) or forced on them (we are the Rum Millet of the Ottoman Empire, we are certainly not a bunch of beef-eating Catholics). It wasn’t about which side of the Bosphorus most Greeks lived. And that when they chose Europe after all, it wasn’t a straightforward choice either.

All that debate played out in Balkan Greece, though, decades before the Christian Greek population was extirpated from Anatolia.

How did the Greek name Konstantinos (for short, Kostas) become Gus? It appears that “Dean” is much closer, especially to the Greek Ntinos.

The Greek diaspora often had to translate its unfamiliar names into names the locals found more familiar and/or pronouncable. Hence the long line of people called Athanasios who ended up as Arthur, or Dimitrios who ended up as Jim.

Constantine was a peculiar case. As a Latin name, it should have translated into English readily, but it didn’t. There is no Western cult around St Constantine = Constantine I, so no local was called Constantine, and Constantine is a long name by English standards.

Answering a question here (Nick Nicholas’ answer to Is Kokakarsas a Greek last name?), I discovered that Constance had been used as a rendering in the 1870s in Australia. Constance is not the same name (Constantius was Constantine I’s father); but at least Constance had some usage in English in the 19th century. It fell out of fashion by the 20th century.

In Australia, the rendering of Constantine has been Con, a very Australian-like truncation of the name, which has prospered despite the fact that it doesn’t particularly hide the bearer being Greek (unlike Arthur or Jim). It’s a truncation without being a nativisation. But that strategy still requires you to be prepared to mark your name as worth preserving; I don’t believe that strategy was available in the US in the 1910s.

The choice made in the US in the 1910s was Gus. Gus is little-heard now, but it was a popular truncation of names like Angus, Gustav, or August (which were more popular then than they are now). Greeks in America grabbed on to Gus, because it was the closest they could hear to the first syllable of Kostas: /kʰɑstəs/ (in American pronunciation) ~ /ɡʌs/ (in American pronunciation), and /ɑ, ʌ/ are actually phonetically close.

This makes no sense if you have either a Greek or a Commonwealth accent of course: /kostas, ɡas/, /kʰɔstəs, ɡɐs/.

Gust Avrakotos, the CIA brains behind Charlie Wilson’s War, appears to represent the next stage of assimilation. Gustav Lascaris “Gust” Avrakotos is an odd combination of names. His father was Greek (and spare us the jokes about the surname meaning “pants-less”: it is a genuine surname in use in Lemnos). If it wasn’t his mother’s choice, I’m assuming Gustav was an elaboration of Gus, making it a distant reflection rather than a cover for Constantine.

EDIT: OP points out that Dean was available, as an English name closer to Dinos, another Greek truncation of Konstantinos (pronounced Konstandinos). It is indeed used for Constantines, and I have a second cousin in Dayton, OH called Dean. (Unlike Gus, it also is used in Australia, though nowhere near as much as Con.)

But Greeks likely weren’t thinking “I’m a Kostas, what other truncations of Konstantinos might I use that will go easier in English.” They likely stopped at “I’m a Kostas.” My impression is that the vernacular counterparts to Greek proper names were highly regionalised at the time: it just wouldn’t have occurred to the immigrants back then to switch Kostas to Dinos.