Sandalio the clanakier

Create a new word and explain its meaning and etymology.

I don’t know enough English to create a new word and explain its etymology, but I can tell you a story about one of many words we invented as children growing bilingual in a Croatian family in Spain. My dad was a University teacher, a writer and a journalist and every day he wrote at home a column about International politics for the local newspaper. When we arrived home from school he was usually at the radio, or already typing. At 8 pm the column had to be finished, because a man from the newsroom arrived to pick up the original. It was in the old times, way before the personal computers and the e-mail, in the era of the typewriters and paper.

The man’s name was Sandalio. He was always on time driving his white van. We knew dad was still busy writing his “clanak” (article in Croatian). It was his race against the clock. We peered through the windows that had a view over the street, and when we saw the van approaching we used to go running to dad’s room, screaming: “the clanakier is coming, the clanakier is coming”. (from clanak=column and -ier=suffix forming personal nouns denoting an occupation). I don’t know how dad was able to endure our noisy amusement without a slight sign of impatience. He calmly finished his job, and go greet “Sandalio the clanakier” surrounded by all four of us, with a smile, his column and a tip.

Play Lexicographer.

Author: Olga Brajnović

Journalist. In my fifties. I've worked for 26 years in a newspaper in Spain. I worked for two years as a stringer and correspondent in the US, and went as a special envoy to other places like the Balkans. Sea lover. Avid reader. Classic Music enthusiast.

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