Eco-Linguistic, Historical, and Anthropological Approaches to Hygienic Heritage: Eau De Cologne Ads in Turkey and Italy: Italian Cultural and Linguistic Elements’ Transfer to the Turkish Culture through the Ottoman Empire

Fazila Derya Agis, University of the People

This study aims to analyze the linguistic elements underlying the cultural beliefs of Turks and Italians about “eau de cologne” use: ‘eau de cologne’ has been used as a hand-and-face sanitizer against viruses, especially promoted during the Covid-19 pandemic, as a perfume, or as a type of after-shave liquid. An Italian called Giovanni Maria Farina made the first cologne in 1709. Afterwards, Ottoman Turks started to use it in the Ottoman Empire during the reign of Abdülhamit II (1876 – 1909). After this cultural transfer from Italy, the Turkish cologne production started. Thus, several plants with different cultural meanings are used in cologne production in contemporary Turkey and Italy. This study hypothesizes that several Italian plant names used in cologne production entered Turkish and cultural beliefs about their benefits were adopted by Turks. Accordingly, some online advertisement slogans by the Turkish cologne producer companies, such as “Eyüp Sabri Tuncer,” “Pereja,” and “Selin” will be compared to the online advertisement slogans by Italian cologne producer companies, such as “Acqua di Parma” and “Wally” on the websites and social media sites of these companies. The cultural beliefs about the plants used in making cologne will be analyzed in accordance with Arran Stibbe’s (2015 and 2021) ecolinguistic theory based on ecological cultural conceptual metaphors such as NATURE IS HEALTH, FLOWERS ARE MEDICINE, VIRUSES/BACTERIA ARE ENEMIES/MURDERERS/SERIAL KILLERS, and COLOGNE IS A GUN/A POLICE OFFICER/A PHYSICIAN/A CLEANER/AN ESTHETICIAN/A DERMOTOLOGIST. The Turkish and Italian idioms on plants used in making cologne will be compared for understanding how both folks conceptualize, use, and classify these plants in accordance with their healing and beautifying aspects as herbal cures from an ecological anthropological linguistic perspective, taking into account the Italian and Ottoman cultural heritage on plants.

See extended abstract

 Presented in Session 123. Classification Struggles I: Fields, Markets, and Morality