little Greeks

Jonathan Robie (
Thu, 31 Oct 1996 09:45:15 -0500

Edgar Krentz wrote:

> People are using this phrase too much, in my opinion. I suggest that all
> people who send communications to B-Greek drop it. It gives me two negative
> reactions that I do not like in myself.

I find this term helpful in many ways. For me, it is not a disparaging term
at all, but a recognition of the fact that there are beginners here, and that
we beginners have a right to ask questions. The "big Greeks" have always been
quite welcoming, but it takes a lot of chutzpah to break in and ask questions
given the daunting amount of knowledge that you all display here. There is
safety in numbers, and I think we feel better about participating when we
realize that there are other "little Greeks" out there.

I started using the term when there was a chain of messages with the title,
"a little Greek is a dangerous thing". At the same time, someone responded
negatively to a post by Carl Conrad which included subtleties beyond most
little Greeks.

> 1. (i)Graeculus(/i) has a disparaging tone in Latin--and comes across to me
> the same way in English. Why denigrate yourself? It tends to make me say to
> myself, if that is how one feels, if one apologies for one's question, why
> should I bother to answer? I answer questions because they are interesting,
> no matter who asks them.

The funny part about Graeculus Esuriens ("the hungry little Greek") is that it
speaks to the ravenous hunger that some of us have to know more. However, I
like the disparaging tone either.

I see big differences between "little Greek" and "Graeculus Esuriens". In
fact, I kind of like the English phrase, "hungry little Greek", without
identifying it with "Graeculus Esuriens".

> 2. OR, it sounds like the person who pleads humility so much one suspects
> they are proud of it.

Humility is not my native mode. I find terms like "little Greek" helpful as
a reminder
that I *need* to be humble, not as a proclamation that I *am* humble.

How do other people feel about the phrase "little Greek"?

Jonathan Robie
POET Software <--- shockwave enabled!