So…I ponder weird things in the shower.
Today’s thoughts started with the saw I like to use about whether people from Roseville were Rosevillains. (It’s actually Rosevillians, with the i and a transposed, but that got me thinking.
Why is what we call people from a place so weird? For example, I’m a Californian. People that live in the biggest city in the metro area are Sacramentans, and over in the Bay Area, we have San Franciscans and Oaklanders and Berkelians/Berkeleyites. (And also whatever people from San Jose call themselves, which I haven’t figured out.)
People from New York are New Yorkers, people from LA…well, that’s one of the weird ones, as they’re Angelenos. Philadelphians and Washingtonians. Bostonians and Torontonians. Ohioans and Michiganders. (I think the later’s right…)
Expand out a bit more, and it gets really weird if you think about Europe. Europeans, yes, but you have French and Germans and English and Spaniards, Dutch and Danes and Norse and Swedes and Finns and Poles and Greeks. But you also have Italians and Russians and Hungarians and Romanians.
And Asia. Chinese and Japanese and Vietnamese, but also Indians and Laotians and Indonesians and Cambodians. Afghans and Filipinos, Mongolians and Koreans. Then you have Pakistanis and Iraqis and Israelis, but also Syrians and Lebanese and Egyptians, Kurds and Turks and Turkmen.
Even out a bit farther — Earthlings and Martians. Although I admit, I’m fond of Terran as an alternative to Earthlings.
I think we can work out a few rules from this.
Places that end in -ia, like California and Colombia and Russia get an n shoved on the end, thus Californians and Colombians and Russians.
Places that end in -o tend to end -an, and sometimes, but not always get the o chopped off. Sacramento and San Francisco are Sacramentans and San Franciscans, but Idaho and Ohio are Idahoans and Ohioans.
-ing will sometimes get -er tacked on the end. Same with k.
Places ending with the letter n often, but not always, have an -ian tacked on. (Berlin/Berliner is a notable exception, as is Japan/Japanese.)
And some places are just irregular. I’m looking at you, Europe.
Yeah. All this from a stupid thought in the shower.
What do they call people from where you’re from?
(Sign from this wonderful article celebrating Boring, Oregon’s sister city matchup with Dull, Scotland.)