« Bothered and Bewildered | Main | The Game of the Name »

August 20, 2009


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I'm curious to find out where "the preferred spelling for a Seattle resident is 'Seattlite,' not 'Seattleite.'"

I think you'll find that the latter is more common, especially in Seattle itself. (See, e.g., http://www.seattleweekly.com/columns/view/284118/)

As for King County, it's an interesting question — but no one around here really identifies themselves as being from the county, and if they did, I think they would say "I live in..." or "I am from..." rather than "I am a..." I think a more interesting question, actually, regarding King County, is what effect, if any, the "name change" has had on people.

In the UK, Geordies with delusions of grandeur also call themselves "Novovastrians". "Geordie" is more of a nickname. I can't say I've ever heard of a "Hantsian".

Sorry, typo. I meant, of course, "Novocastrians".

Reminds me of an article I read maybe 6 years ago about President Bush referring to people of West Timor as "West Timorians," which irked many people -- they prefere "West Timorese."

The Labels for Locals guide doesn't seem to mention the -ese ending as in Chinese, Japanese, West Timorese. I think I'll look into where that suffix comes from.

Oh, and speaking of George Stewart, Names on the Land is a great read. As for his fiction, I was quite impressed with Earth Abides. Great, early post-apocalyptic tale..

"Utah" ends in a consonant? Could have fooled me.

Thanks for mentioning the preferred spelling Utahn. I hate it when people spell it Utahan, which looks to me like it should be pronounced with three syllables.

And this is a little nitpicky, but technically Utah doesn't end in a consonant, because the h is silent.

Another exception, I think (because that's the goal here, right, picking nits?) is that I, as a 5th-generation San Franciscan, replace the final O with AN, rather than adding the AN to the O and getting San Franciscoan.

@Ben: You're right about "Seattleite"; I misread the entry (both spellings are given) and have corrected the post. Agree with you about "Names on the Land"--an excellent reference!

@Gedaly: Garner doesn't cover "-ese," but in general it denotes a country or a language. (Also "in the style of"--e.g., journalese.)

@Acilius and @Jonathon: Well, "Utah" is pronounced with a vowel ending but spelled with an "h," which is a consonant. The confusion arises when you need to determine whether to go by sound or spelling.

@Austin: According to Garner, "San Franciscan" is considered an exception to the rule. Just like the namesake city...

If you're a particular kind of Oxonian, you call Cantabrigians Tabs -- with a distinct sneer in your voice.

Another interesting British demonym is Glaswegian for people from Glasgow.

As to those Geordies, they are also known as Toons. I suspect it derives from being Tynesiders, if you say it with the right accent.

Oops. Apparently Toon derives from "town", not "Tyne".

I don't know where you got the idea that "madrileño" should be written "without a tilde" (NB: this is not an accent mark but a different letter in Spanish). Here is the entry for the word in the official dictionary of the Royal Academy:


What about Massachusetts? I know of the oft-mentioned "Bay Stater," but I feel as if that's a cop out.

Can we say Massachusian?

@RB: Garner shows "Madrileno" without the tilde, as do a couple other sources I checked. But obviously the Royal Academy has the last word.

@Carissa: According to Garner, it's "Bay Stater" by state law, but the U.S. Government Printing Office, which publishes its own style guide, uses "Massachusettsan"--quite a mouthful!

As my daughter would point out, folks from Indiana are the highly irregular "Hoosiers." Granted, that's basically cheating, although AFAIK people there really don't say Indianans. I could be wrong.

@Ben, as you might have read, the impetus for musing about, er, Kingons was that a folk I know up in Snohomish was interested to discover that she's a Snohomian. If Snohomians get their own demonyms, why can't we Kingons have one? ;-)

People from Liverpool are unaccountably "Liverpuddlians." And don't call anyone from Arkansas anything but an "Arkansawyer."

@Bob: Garner says "Arkansan" and "Arkie" (!) are equally acceptable. Likewise, "Sooner" and "Okie" are alternatives to "Oklahoman." I'd thought "Arkie" and "Okie" were pejorative, but maybe that's just in California.

As for "Liverpudlian" (one "d," please), all self-respecting Beatles fans learned that one right away!

What about Michigan...I never hear people say Michiganer or Michiganite but there is an ongoing debate over whether we are Michiganders or Michiganians. I prefer Michiganders.

@Laura: Garner says it's Michigander by popular consensus, but the official designation is Michiganian. And the USGPO recommends Michiganite.

For the others, you'll have to buy your own copy of Garner! It's well worth it.

One more exception -- any denizen of North Carolina (or South Carolina, for that matter) would tell you that "Carolinan" sounds as out of place as a rooster in a henhouse. The term is "Carolinian," though where the extra "i" came from is beyond me.

Come to think of it, Florida is the same way: Floridian is the term of choice on the shuffleboard court.

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • Pinterest
    Follow Me on Pinterest
My Photo

My Web Site

Top 25 Language Language Professional Blogs 2014
Top 25 Language Professionals Blogs 2012
Top 25 Language Professionals Blogs 2011
Top 10 Language Professionals Blogs 2010
Top 100 Language Blogs 2009

Your email address:

Powered by FeedBlitz

Bookmark and Share


Top 25 Language Language Professional Blogs 2014