About the name

The first thing most people want to know about the name Editia is how to pronounce it. The answer, by executive decision of the founder, is like the word edition, but with an –a substituted for the –on, and with more emphasis on the middle syllable (“edeesha”), to rhyme with the name Letitia.

I chose the name after researching Latin and descended words to do with publishing, publications, editing and editions.

Why? Because Latin was my favourite subject at school, and Romance Linguistics just pipped Ancient Greek, Logic and Traditional Grammar as my pick as an ANU undergraduate.

I wanted the business name to reference this passion for Classics and Linguistics, while at the same time reflecting the essence of what Editia would be doing: publishing different editions (print, ebook and app) of works of long form journalism and short non-fiction, as well as shorter digital missives like blogs, Facebook posts and tweets.

The word exists today in Romanian, where it means “the edition”. It is derived from the Latin “editio” meaning the “publishing of a book” or “an announcement”.

I registered the business name 2010, around the time the iPad launched and Twitter really began to take off, and have become more and more enthusiastic about it since.

A couple of our corporate advisers had their doubts, mainly because they felt people wouldn’t know how to pronounce it. I decided to get some further evidence of its appropriateness by emailing some experts about its heritage (be warned, the rest of this post is for true language geeks).

To find out about the word’s meaning in a living language, I contacted wrote Romanian Linguistics expert Ramona Gonczol, a UK-based academic. Here’s part of her reply:

“Editia does come from the Latin editio meaning the ‘publishing of a book’ or ‘an announcement’ so it is most appropriate.

In Romanian the noun declension is as follows:

Indefinite forms        

Singular        Plural 

N         o editie        niste editii

Ac       o editie        niste editii

G        unei editii    unor editii

D        unei editii    unor editii

Definite forms

N         editia        editiile

Ac        editia        editiile

G        editiei        editiilor

D        editiei        editiilor

So the form you choose is the N/Ac form sg def  which is very appropriate, sort of like the edition.

In Romanian it would have a diacritic (ediția) but I wouldn’t worry about it as it is based on Latin and it is clear and beautiful enough.

It exists in Italian too, edizione, and in French, edition, and Spanish, edicion. Even better! Great choice!”

Heartened by Ramona’s enthusiasm, I decided to find out a bit more about the word’s Latin derivation.

Richard Ashdowne, of the Classics Faculty at Oxford, is currently editing Oxford’s Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources. I figured he may know how the –a form of the word editio had developed from classical times through to its Romanian present. Here’s his reply to my email, with my favourite line in bold.

“There’s no ‘editia’ in British Medieval Latin, nor is there in Classical Latin. I don’t have a Late Latin dictionary to hand at home, but I would be pretty confident that it isn’t LL either. It is possible it appears in some other ML across Europe – I don’t have all those dictionaries to hand either – but again I would rather doubt it. There is editio and the p. pple of edere (edita f. nom. sg. or nt. nom/acc pl., or editum nt. nom/acc sg.) but that’s it.

There is a CL suffix -ia usually added to adjectives to make abstract nouns, and it has an extended form -itia, so editia is a perfectly well-formed word, but not one that existed. There is also -ium/-itium which denotes collectives or abstracts, which equally could be plausibly added to editum (p.pple of edere as sb. nt., ‘something published’) and have a plural form. Derivation is always haphazard, so it is not predictable which forms will occur nor necessarily what they mean when they do.

If you were a Latin publisher, it would be crucial, I think, to have a real Latin word; but since it is incidental and part of the ‘brand’, I might be inclined to think that a plausible word (though not a real one) would have the desired effect (and you could give an explanation in an appropriate place). This seems to be the case for all manner of brands these days anyway.”

Richard’s kind words, together with the fabulous logo design that Anthony Nankervis came up with at around that time, were enough to clinch it for me. Editia it is!

Charlotte Harper