As an antonym for exoticize, would you favor de-exoticize or deexoticize?

Google currently finds ~2970 results for the hyphenated version and ~440 results for the unhyphenated, but both of those numbers are so small that I wouldn't call that conclusive.

An example sentence: This novel deexoticizes/de-exoticizes Africa to the Western reader.

A general rule can be found at: When should compound words be written as one word, with hyphens, or with spaces? There, it is explained that prefixes are generally not hyphenated, but that there is a common exception of hyphenating prefixes when a vowel would be repeated otherwise. However, in this case, exoticize is a pretty stylized word, and I want to confirm that, in working with it, I should follow the same conventions as I would for more standard words.

marked as duplicate by sumelic, Elian single-word-requests Mar 1 '16 at 18:11

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  • Hm, I'm getting 2960 for the hyphenated version and 449 for the unhyphenated, but those results include this question. Google is fast! By way of comparison, I'm getting 30,200 for exoticize. – phoog Mar 1 '16 at 17:13
  • @phoog My numbers were with quotation marks surrounding the word in each case. I worry that without them, you might be picking up some false positives on the hyphenated version. Wait... I think we basically agree. Did you just edit your comment or did I just misread it? :P – Shane Mar 1 '16 at 17:16
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    I'm an older editor, so my preference would be for the hyphenated version, which makes the word easier to read. However, I'm afraid any answer you receive will be primarily opinion-based, as I'm not aware of any general rule for hyphenating that I can cite. As such, please don't be offended if this question receives down-votes for being off topic. – Mark Hubbard Mar 1 '16 at 17:21
  • I'd recommend taking a third path and finding way to express the idea coming from the opposite direction: something on the order of familiarization. – Dan Bron Mar 1 '16 at 17:21
  • @MarkHubbard Thanks -- I will not be offended as such an outcome would, in fact, answer my question. If it's simply a matter of opinion, that's a perfectly good answer! – Shane Mar 1 '16 at 17:25

According to ODO the word's parent, exoticize

WITH OBJECT] Portray (someone or something unfamiliar) as exotic or unusual; romanticize or glamorize: importantly, the film doesn’t exoticize the East (as adjective exoticized) when class is addressed in the art world, it is often in the context of exoticized poverty

appeared in the 1960s. It seems to have emerged along with new academic fields in African and Asian studies, in which context many Google references occur.

It would seem to follow that its opposite, DE-exoticize is of even more recent coinage, emerging as a description of a move to strip the romance and mystique from Africa or Asia.

Given the word's youth, its role as an assertive contradiction of a action that bespeaks a discredited attitude, and given the comfort with which we hyphenate prefixes ending in "e" with like-beninning stems, I'd agree that Google's lean toward "de-exoticize" probably reflects more accepted and practiced usage.

If we MUST write it, we'll do it that way.

  • Whichever is the not-so-historical case or reason, de-exoticize is a mangled, makeshift word, that shows signs about how there were apparent lacking in vocabularies when the word was "coined". There is no must involved in this, as there shouldn't be. Exoticizing is already a strange, almost ridiculous word to even exist. Should have been specialize, and regularize/simplify. – Sakatox Mar 1 '16 at 18:01
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    @Sakatox That seems a bit prescriptivist.The notion of the exotic came to mean something very specific and interesting in academic communities and scholars wanted to reference the exotic in a variety of ways. I don't see anything particularly ridiculous about that... – Shane Mar 1 '16 at 18:07

These types of words are describing processes, where antonyms usually involve different words, because slapping a negative prefix to it doesn't make sense.

To not be opinionated, i'd go with whichever rolls off the tongue better. The hyphen would mean a bit more of a pause, and deexoticize would somewhat turn dexoticize, which also makes little to no sense.

  • Regularize
  • Communize
  • Disexoticize(see below)

I'd rather not have deexoticize in any shape or form, because of all the compound, complex baggage going on with meanings, implications and nuances. The usage of the de prefix to negate it also seems to stem from the lack of a better prefix. Would prefer a lookback to valid and invalid, or enable, disable. Exotic, exoticize... disexoticize, if anything. (Establish - disestablish as a good example)

Again, it's not in common usage or talk, so all of this is theorizing.

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