Wednesday, July 28, 2010

done with ‘-ista’

File:Nicholas Hilliard 019.jpgI don’t know about the rest of you, but I am suffering from a glut of ‘ista’ suffixes. First, there was barista—annoyingly euro showoff, but ok…. Then there was the rise of the ‘fashionista’. Ok, what des that mean? Someone who likes fashion. Um hmmmm, like someone who is ‘fashionable’ or ‘fashion-conscious’ or trendy? DO we really need to call them ‘fashionistas’ if we have all those other ways of putting it? Something about the tone of that word just strikes me as wrong. Too Sex and the City, or something.

Then of course, there we are, the ‘perfumistas,’ and maybe I’m biased, but this one makes a little more sense to me since there really wasn’t any kind of name for our group of weirdoes before—smell-obsessed? Nah. interested in perfume? Eew. perfume-lovers? noooooo! etc.

SO I was willing to stomach the obnoxiously ubiquitous neologism for the time being, since it worked as a descriptive noun for our folk. But then, ‘recessionista’ happened… and a whole slew of similar new splicings that just make my hair stand on end.

And then, there’s the problem of the hypercorrection. IN the romance languages, from which the model words, barista/artista, etc. originate (although the ultimate origin is Greek, I believe), the -ista ending can be both masculine and feminine, unlike most words finishFile:Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp tüdruk kukega.jpging with an ‘A’ which usually designate a feminine gender, like reina [SP],  strada[IT], and galinha[P]. SO a male coffeemaker is not a baristo. He is, like his female coworker, a barista. A male perfume lover is not a perfumisto, but a perfumista. Granted, no one’s expected to know this, but it is an annoying hypercorrection in my nitpicky little book. Now I just sound whiny, so I’ll try to stop ranting.

The bottom line is that I’m done talking about us, us perfumeheads, as perfumistas. I draw the line. After all, this isn’t a fad—this is serious business, this smelling of potions, and we shouldn’t give it such a Johnny-come-lately, wannabe name. (I’m mostly joking about the high seriousness of our endeavor, but not completely {smiles})The question is, of course, what SHOULD we call ourselves?

Any thoughts?

CREDITS:

Painting of Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia by Hilliard, Nicholas  and “A girl with a rooster” by Jacob Gerritsz Cuyp Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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