Don't have a hissi fit (2)
Archived Articles 04 Nov 2008  EWR
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Waiting for your flight at an airport abroad can allow you to brush up on your foreign language skills, or at least ponder certain interesting words. This was snapped at Helsinki-Vantaa Airport.

The Finnish word for elevator HISSI is obviously a direct loan from neighbouring Sweden's word HISS, while LIFT works for Germans, the Dutch, Brits and Estonians. North-American English speakers must get used to recognizing that other, (Estonian!) word for elevator while in Europe. Naturally Estonians have the Germans to thank for our use of the word.

We also have our own word tõstuk (from the verb tõstma -- to lift), used mostly in the context of construction: a portable crane (with a basket), hoist or fork-lift (kahveltõstuk), but also for a ski- / chairlift (suusatõstuk).

Not only reminiscent of the word issi or daddy in Estonian, HISSI also brings to mind the expression for a sudden outburst of temper known as a hissy fit, thought to have derived from hysterical fit and therefore often used to describe an "unreasonable" emotional outburst or "female anger" (?!) at something trival. (Thanks Freud!) All self-respecting women are encouraged to HISS in unison at such antiquated notions, but the expression is still in use with no serious offence intended, at least not here! Please remember, this is just a bit of airport humour. So if you suffer from claustrophobia and tend to get emotional at airports, just remember to take your (sugar- ?!) issi along for a ride on the hissi and experience the required lift, fit-free.

Text and photo: Riina Kindlam, Tallinn.
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