0

Oftentimes when reading academic texts I will come across the suffix "-ian" as a way to denote ownership. While I find it fitting syntactically (it "feels" right), I don't remember ever learning it specifically in school, etc. For example:

Wilsonian (Wilson's) moral diplomacy is widely regarded as a failure.

Carverian (Carver's) Minimalism marked a rebirth of the realist movement.

So, here are my questions:

  1. Is this syntax correct?
  2. If so, What mood does it give off? Does it offer an academic tone, etc.?
  3. Is it possible to use this with any name, or just a few popular ones? Can I say "Flafla2-ian"?

Thanks in advance.

  • 1
    In older works, there is often a tradition of Latinizing the stem of the name to match the ending; thus the adjective that goes with "Shaw" is "Shavian", "Liverpool" is "Liverpudlian," "Newcastle" is "Novocastrian" (although the latter two correspond to places rather than people). – herisson May 26 '15 at 4:08
  • 1
    Wikipedia has a list of a few more: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_eponymous_adjectives_in_English – herisson May 26 '15 at 4:09
  • 1
    -ian does not work well with the name of Kafka (ending in a vowel). The adjective is Kafkaesque. And I would describe -ian as suffix for adjective derivation from family names, not as suffix of ownership. – rogermue May 26 '15 at 4:40
  • 3
    Since flafla2 ends in the sound /u/, I think the adjective would be flafla2-vian. As in, Nehruvian, Peruvian. – Tushar Raj May 26 '15 at 5:22
  • 4
    This question appears to be encompassed by the existing question Usage of -ist and -ian, when to use which? – Sven Yargs May 26 '15 at 6:46
1

Yes it's correct and rather neutral, as long as the set of concepts belonging to said person really is codified: saying "that's a Flafla2ian question" is at best ironic as no such style of asking is known.

Other suffixes have a different meanings, for instance -esque is used for any resemblance, which may be a caricature.

  • And it should be noted that the suffix simply doesn't "sound right", or is perhaps unpronounceable, when attached to some names. – Hot Licks Dec 25 '15 at 16:52

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.