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Month: May 2016
Why do some languages assign a gender to each noun (e.g., table is feminine in French)?
Originally Answered: Why do Greek, Latin, French, German, Russian etc. have masculine and feminine gender for inanimate objects? The history of Indo-European gender, like the history of any language feature, is messy. The mainstream theory is that the feminine, in fact, was originally not animate at all, but came from the abstract and collective suffix […]
Are Middle Easterners considered to be White by Greeks?
Everyone here has spoken well on the topic. Greeks have a keen sense of Other, and skin colour can factor into that. As Dimitra Triantafyllidou says, we have a history of dismissing Gypsies (like much of Europe); and there’s a lot of anti-Pakistani feeling in downtown Athens. But then again, there was a lot of […]
What are the names of different countries in your language?
Sofia Mouratidis gave names in current Greek. For jollies, I’m going to give names in Byzantine Greek, which are often quite different: the modern names are mostly from Latin, while the older names were usually from Italian. France: Frandza (now Gallia) Germany: Alamania (now Germania) Austria: Aoustria or Osterigon (now Afstria—which is a spelling pronunciation […]
Why do the spellings of ancient Roman and Greek names differ in English than in other languages?
Partly, source morphology. Partly, mediation via Latin. Partly, particularity of English. Remember first that Classical names in English came in via Latin most of the time. Hence Plato rather than Platon, and Hercules for Heracles. Second, not all final -ns are the same. So there’s no contradiction about Latin keeping the final -n in Xenophon […]
What is the weirdest song in your language?
Zavara Katra Nemia, Greek, 1968. The songwriter Yannis Markopoulos was routinely subject to censorship during the Greek Junta, as a left winger. So he wrote a song with nonsense lyrics and lots of 5/8 and 11/8 metre, which got past the censors. And everyone assumed it was against the dictatorship anyway. Zavara katra nemia Zavara […]
What is the meaning of the Greek word ‘atomos’?
Indivisible; literally, uncut. From the verb temnō, to cut; cf. tomē, a cut. Answered 2016-05-14 [Originally posted on http://quora.com/What-is-the-meaning-of-the-Greek-word-atomos/answer/Nick-Nicholas-5]
What is the importance of the Hellenistic culture?
Thx4A2A, Anon. As my fellows have asked, we’ll need more detail on what you’re asking. I’m going to stab at a related question, which is the legacy of Hellenistic culture. In fact, that might be a good approach to vague questions like this, my fellow respondents: we grab a bit each of the possible answers […]
If you want to include a word or phrase in Greek in a novel, should you write it in Greek letters or should you transcribe it by pronunciation?
A novel with mass readership, not in Greek, where you don’t want to alienate readers unnecessarily, and you care to give readers some notion of what it sounds like? Use transliteration rather than original script. Same as if you were putting Hindi (or whatever your language happens to be) into a non-Hindi (or whatever) novel. […]
How difficult will Albanian be to learn if I already speak Modern Greek?
Yes, the vocabulary is completely different—except for the large number of Greek loanwords in Albanian, which is substantial, and the rather smaller number of Albanian loanwords in Greek. OTOH: Balkan sprachbund. The syntax and inflections are remarkably similar: you can often translate Albanian into Greek and vice versa, word for word. I’m reminded of what […]
Are there really 10 times as many ancient texts written in Ancient Greek as there are ancient texts written in Latin?
It’s kinda true; I’ve certainly seen the number cited multiple times—it was the guess around 1900, for scholars saying there was no point even attempting a dictionary of all of Greek, to rival the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae. I work at the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae, although it is not a dictionary per se, but an online […]