The following is a repeat of a previous installment of Shane’s Excellent New Words, but because the topic arose on Twitter — who is a New Albanian, and who is not — now seems an ideal time to recall that we’re all New Albanians, each and every one of us.
(As an intentionally obscure side note for most readers, allow me to observe that “maybe it is something you should have thought about during the settlement.”)
This week’s words are familiar, with a chronological twist: New Albanian.
[noo al-bey-nee-uh n]
1. of or relating to New Albany, Indiana (as opposed to Old Albania, otherwise known as Shqipëri/Shqipëria), its inhabitants, or their psychology
2. a native or citizen of New Albany, Indiana
For a very long time, we’ve been speculating as to exactly when New Albanian first was used as a descriptive term.
I’ve never been shy about my own recent part in popularizing the usage of New Albanian, which became the name of my business in 1994 (of which I’m no longer a part), but was used informally prior to the advent of the company name, often when we’d hoist steins while trying to answer the question, “What is a person from New Albany called?”
“New Albanyite” never seemed right, and New Albanian always was the logical choice. For so long as historical evidence was scant, I was delighted to claim credit, but today, thanks to local physician and city council member Al Knable, there is definitive proof that the use of the term New Albanian to describe a resident of this city extends at least as far back into the life and times of the settlement on the flood plain as the Eclipse of 1869.
It’s from the Ledger, a Tribune forerunner. Note the multi-syllable words used in the header, among them obscuration, magnificence, manifestation and protuberances. If cannot be imagined that a newspaper editor today would view these words in any way apart from sheer unmitigated horror. In fact, the News and Tribune recoils in just such a manner, daily.
Thanks to Dr. Knable for making this major etymological contribution to our understanding of the city’s history.