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Americana
'A' for plural?
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2014/08/22
6:54pm
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Robert
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How was the word Americana invented? As phenomena of John Wayne, Cadillac tail fins, Coca Cola ?

Are there like words for any other famous countries ?

I wonder if Americana is more and more a nostalgic word today.  Do we call iPhone, rap musics, pieces of Americana?  (See, I cannot even name another item vaguely fitting.)

—–

But no, persona is not plural.

2014/08/22
8:59pm
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Dick
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I don’t think Americana needs to be nostalgia. Anything that is an iconic representation of America would be Americana.  Of course, sometimes it takes some time to become an icon so you can probably find more Americana that is nostalgic than is not.  I think iPhone would definitely be Americana.  I’m not sure about rap music it has influences from Africa and Jamaica, but maybe in a few years it will be so strongly associated with America that it could be called Americana.  It makes me think about jazz.  I think it would be Americana in spite of early influences from other countries.

I have heard the word Africana, infrequently.  I am certainly not a Latin scholar but I believe that ana is a Latin suffix that means “associated.”  Persona could not be compared because it ends with ona.  Please don’t take my word about Latin.  This is what my faulty memory brings up.

2014/08/23
3:20am
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deaconB
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Random House says -ana is a suffix that forms collective nouns denoting an assembly of items, as household objects, art, books, or maps, or a description of such items, as a bibliography, all of which are representative of or associated with the place, person, or period named by the stem:Americana; Shakespeareana; Victoriana.

From the Latin, neuter plural of -?nus -an

I don’t think Indiana counts, nor Michiana nor Kentuckiana.  They’re pretty sure here that “collective” really means godless communism.

2014/08/23
4:21pm
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Glenn
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I know that Princetoniana and Harvardiana are used as collective nouns denoting thing related to the universities. Aside from Americana, Victoriana, Shakespeariana, and arcana are easily found. I also easily found Washingtoniana (DC public library collection) and Californiana. I had a friend who quipped after the tragic death of Princess Diana that we would probably be flooded with Dianaiana.

There are lots of -ana words that have nothing to do with any collective noun sense, although it might be fun to consider them as such:
banana — things related to contraband?
bandana — things related to musical groups
cabana — things related to taxis
chicana — things related to high fashion
marijuana — Chuppahs and other wedding paraphernalia
nirvana — neuroscience paraphernalia

2014/08/23
11:00pm
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Ron Draney
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I don’t think it’s America (n.) + -ana at all, but American (adj.) + -a.

Compare the terms memorabilia, erotica and Judaica.

2014/08/23
11:29pm
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deaconB
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Glenn said
banana — things related to contraband?

And a contraband plays politically-oriented music?

I sometimes wonder try to imagine what Phil Ochs would be singing these days.

2014/08/24
3:53am
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Glenn
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Ron Draney said

I don’t think it’s America (n.) + -ana at all, but American (adj.) + -a.

Compare the terms memorabilia, erotica and Judaica.

You make a strong point. But the -ana and -iana forms have taken on a life of their own as is evidenced from Harvardiana where Harvardian does not exist. There are prolific examples, mostly specialized.

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