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Month: February 2016

Would the Byzantines have spoken Ancient Greek or something closer to modern Greek?

By: | Post date: 2016-02-06 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Mediaeval Greek

Modern Greek. Being literate in Greek has always meant being literate in Ancient Greek; so all our evidence of the vernacular is tainted, right up until the Cretan Renaissance (and there it’s tainted in a different direction, of conventionalised dialect). In the period between the Arab conquest of Egypt (when the papyri run out) and […]

Can you create your own rules in conlangs?

By: | Post date: 2016-02-06 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Artificial Languages

What others said. Yes, but make sure there is an internal logic to your rule, and that you’re applying it consistently and meaningfully. Klingon has an internally consistent story with its zero copula constructions: the pronouns in copula constructions (“he — teacher”, ghojwI’ ghaH) have been reanalysed as verbs, and take verb aspect endings (“he […]

Why do people say, “Call it pedophilia, not childlove” when the word “pedophilia” is Greek for “childlove”?

By: | Post date: 2016-02-04 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: English, Linguistics

Just because two words have identical semantics, does not mean they have identical connotations. Pedophilia in modern society has extremely negative connotations. It didn’t have negative connotations when it was coined in Ancient Greece, because it was coined under different cultural norms. Words carry with them the connotations that a culture puts on them. Advocates […]

What is the difference between Orthodox Christianity and other forms of Christianity?

By: | Post date: 2016-02-04 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Culture, Mediaeval Greek

Oriental Orthodoxy and Church of the East have Christological differences from other Christian churches. The Church of the East (Assyrian) rejects the Council of Ephesus  (Christ–God is the same being as Christ–Man), and Oriental Orthodoxy rejects the Council of Chalcedon (Christ–God is a distinct nature from Christ–Man). This diagram in Non-Chalcedonianism  helps: Non-Chalcedonianism . The […]

Are Greeks an ethnoreligious group?

By: | Post date: 2016-02-04 | Comments: 1 Comment
Posted in categories: History, Modern Greek

Weeell… in the Ottoman Empire (and in the Byzantine Empire before it), identity was primarily credal, organised as Millets (Ottoman Empire). As far as everyone in the Ottoman Empire was concerned, there were: Muslims Franks (Catholic) Romans (Orthodox) Armenians Jews See Albanians or Bulgarians in that list? Me neither. In fact, Bulgarians were only able […]

Do I need a good understanding of mathematics in order to excel at linguistics?

By: | Post date: 2016-02-03 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: General Language, Linguistics

IMHO: for most disciplines no. Steve Rapaport has spoken on Applied Linguistics; but Applied Linguistics is a very different discipline to Theoretical/General. Phonetics is an experimental science, so you’ll need statistics there. Reconstructing in historical linguistics requires a degree of rigour and thinking in terms of rules which is a bit like maths, but only […]

What do you look like when you speak Ancient Greek (Koine) in Greece today?

By: | Post date: 2016-02-02 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Linguistics, Mediaeval Greek

How soon my fellow respondents forget Katharevousa. Just as well they do, too. Katharevousa (Puristic Greek), the project of purifying Greek of the last 2000 years of linguistic evolution, was a motley, incoherent, and rarely lovely thing. Some of its grammar was Attic, a lot more of it was Koine, and by accident it ended […]

Do many modern Greeks feel a sense of failure or perhaps inferiority when compared with their ancient Greek ancestors?

By: | Post date: 2016-02-02 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Culture, Modern Greek

The feeling has been there for a very long time. Theodore Metochites  in the 14th century lamented that the Ancients had said everything that needed to be said, so there was nothing left for his contemporaries to do. The Greek peasantry would make up stories about the pagan giants who built the inexplicable structures all […]

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