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Month: July 2017

Ooh! He Said ‘Fuck’! He must be a revolutionary!

By: | Post date: 2017-07-31 | Comments: 1 Comment
Posted in categories: Literature, Mediaeval Greek

I’ve been pondering taboos for quite a while now; you’ll see a recent rumination from me at Nice skewering of Humour as Virtue Signalling. In the West latterly, we exult in people breaking taboos, as if being a rebel and a taboo-breaker is its own reward. You know, Well, people tell me love is for […]

Alkis Alkaios: Erotiko

By: | Post date: 2017-07-31 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Modern Greek, Music

I think I may end up setting up a separate blog, just for Greek song lyrics. The mysticism and allusiveness of Greek songs never ceases to enchant me. Evangelos Lolos’ answer to What are the most “moving” and “emotional” Greek songs of all time? A rich harvest, with several songs I did not know, even […]

What is the origin of Greek expression “I threw a black stone behind me” (Eριξα μαύρη πέτρα πίσω μου)?

By: | Post date: 2017-07-31 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek

You know how Quora questions are really just an excuse for us to write interesting stuff? This is how this answer came about. I was reminded of this question, and Konstantinos Konstantinides’ answer, when I used the phrase with him today. I went googling, because the account given in his link didn’t sound convincing: it […]

Is Greek pop culture less interested in the Middle Ages than Western pop culture?

By: | Post date: 2017-07-31 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Culture, Mediaeval Greek, Modern Greek

I’m OP. I’ve asked this, because I’ve seen an erudite claim that this is the case, from the 80s, and am wondering whether it was true then, and is true now. The claim comes from the recent edition of Stephanos Sachlikis’ poetry. (You know someone’s obscure when their Latin Wikipedia entry is 5 times longer […]

Why doesn’t Judeo-Spanish use the letter Ñ?

By: | Post date: 2017-07-30 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Other Languages, Writing Systems

Clyde Thogmartin is right in his answer that traditionally Judeo-Spanish is written in Hebrew (with the quite icky trigraph <ניי> for [ɲ]). But more to the point, even when it is written in Latin script, people writing it usually make a point of not using Spanish orthography: they are putting distance between their language and […]

Why are current Greek names long and complicated compared to those we see in ancient history and mythology?

By: | Post date: 2017-07-30 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek

See also Dimitra Triantafyllidou’s answer, which this is complementary to. First names in Greece are either (mostly revived) Ancient names, Judaeo-Christian names, or Saints’ names (which end up being either of the first two). There are a few later names (though they are less in vogue now), and some of them can be long, like […]

Has the pronunciation of Greek changed since the Byzantine Empire’s collapse?

By: | Post date: 2017-07-30 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek

Since 1453? Hm. It’s hard to pin this down, because Greek at the time was a whole bunch of dialects, whose pronunciation we don’t have a good handle on historically—but which was likely stable. (There aren’t any surprises in the Renaissance Latin alphabet transcriptions of Cretan for example.) For that matter, Standard Modern Greek did […]

Do any of the regional dialects spoken in Greece today preserve any elements from their Ancient Greek counterparts?

By: | Post date: 2017-07-30 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek

To start with: the default assumption in Greek historical linguistics is that the ancient dialects vanished under the Koine, and that the dialectal diversity of Modern Greek does not owe anything to the dialectal diversity of Ancient Greek. That means that the null hypothesis is that there was no survival of Ancient Greek dialect; and […]

Why does it seem that the prefixes of compound words end in O?

By: | Post date: 2017-07-29 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Ancient Greek, English, Linguistics

Ancient Greek used connecting vowels between two stems when forming compounds, unless the second stem started with a vowel (e.g. nost-os ‘homecoming’ + algos ‘pain’ > nost-algia). A vowel was also unnecessary if the first part of the compound was a numeral or preposition, which instead had their own optional vowels: tetr(a)– ‘four’, di(a)– ‘through’, […]

What’s the meaning of the Greek expression: “We called Him John, but we did not see him yet”?

By: | Post date: 2017-07-29 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Modern Greek

Contra Konstantinos Konstantinides, I’m assuming the expression intended is Ακόμα δεν τον είδαμε, Γιάννη τονε βγάλαμε “We have not seen him yet, (but) we have named him John.” It refers to jumping to conclusions, making premature moves—just as it would be premature to name a baby before it is actually born (in traditional society, with […]

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