Demonym

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A demonym ( /ˈdɛmənɪm/ ; from Greek δῆμος, dêmos, "people, tribe" and όνομα, ónoma, "name") or gentilic (from Latin gentilis, "of a clan, or gens") [1] is a word that identifies residents or natives of a particular place and is usually derived from the name of the place. [2]

Greek language Language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

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As a sub-field of anthroponymy, the study of demonyms is called demonymy or demonymics.

Anthroponymy is the study of the names of human beings. The study of anthroponyms is a branch of onomastics. Linguists and researchers in many other fields take part in anthroponymic studies, including anthropologists, historians, political geographers and genealogists.

Examples of demonyms include Cochabambino, for a person from the city of Cochabamba; American for a person from the country called the United States of America; and Swahili , for a person of the Swahili coast.

Cochabamba City & Municipality in Bolivia

Cochabamba is a city and municipality in central Bolivia in a valley in the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cochabamba Department and the fourth largest city in Bolivia, with a population of 630,587 according to the 2012 Bolivian census. Its name is from a compound of the Quechua words qucha "lake" and pampa, "open plain." Residents of the city and the surrounding areas are commonly referred to as cochalas or, more formally, cochabambinos.

Americans Citizens, or natives, of the United States of America

Americans are nationals and citizens of the United States of America. Although nationals and citizens make up the majority of Americans, some dual citizens, expatriates, and permanent residents may also claim American nationality. The United States is home to people of many different ethnic origins. As a result, American culture and law does not equate nationality with race or ethnicity, but with citizenship and permanent allegiance.

Sovereign state Political organization with a centralized independent government

In international law, a sovereign state, sovereign country, or simply state, is a political entity that is represented by one centralized government that has sovereignty over a geographic area. International law defines sovereign states as having a permanent population, defined territory, one government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood that a sovereign state is neither dependent or non subjected to any other power or state.

Demonyms do not always clearly distinguish place of origin or ethnicity from place of residence or citizenship, and many demonyms overlap with the ethnonym for the ethnically dominant group of a region. Thus a Thai may be any resident or citizen of Thailand of any ethnic group, or more narrowly a member of the Thai people.

An ethnonym is a name applied to a given ethnic group. Ethnonyms can be divided into two categories: exonyms and autonyms, or endonyms.

Thai people ethnic group

Thai people, Thais, or Siamese, in a narrow sense are a Tai ethnic group dominant in Central and Southern Thailand. Part of the larger Tai ethno-linguistic group native to Southeast Asia as well as southern China and Northeast India, Thais speak the Central Thai language, which is classified as part of the Tai–Kadai family of languages. The majority of Thais are followers of Theravada Buddhism.

Conversely, some groups of people may be associated with multiple demonyms. For example, a native of the United Kingdom may be called a British person , a Briton or, informally, a Brit. In some languages, a demonym may be borrowed from another language as a nickname or descriptive adjective for a group of people: for example, "Québécois(e)" is commonly used in English for a native of Quebec (though "Quebecker" is also available).

United Kingdom Country in Europe

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north­western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north­eastern part of the island of Ireland, and many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world. The Irish Sea separates Great Britain and Ireland. The United Kingdom's 242,500 square kilometres (93,600 sq mi) were home to an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017.

Quebec Province of Canada

Quebec is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada. It is bordered to the west by the province of Ontario and the bodies of water James Bay and Hudson Bay; to the north by Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay; to the east by the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador; and to the south by the province of New Brunswick and the US states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York. It also shares maritime borders with Nunavut, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. Quebec is Canada's largest province by area and its second-largest administrative division; only the territory of Nunavut is larger. It is historically and politically considered to be part of Central Canada.

In English, demonyms are capitalized [3] and are often the same as the adjectival form of the place, e.g. Egyptian, Japanese , or Greek . Significant exceptions exist; for instance, the adjectival form of Spain is "Spanish", but the demonym is "Spaniard".

Capitalization or capitalisation is writing a word with its first letter as a capital letter and the remaining letters in lower case, in writing systems with a case distinction. The term also may refer to the choice of the casing applied to text.

Japanese people are an ethnic group that is native to the Japanese archipelago and modern country of Japan, where they constitute 98.5% of the total population. Worldwide, approximately 129 million people are of Japanese descent; of these, approximately 125 million are residents of Japan. People of Japanese ancestry who live outside Japan are referred to as nikkeijin(日系人), the Japanese diaspora. The term ethnic Japanese is often used to refer to mainland Japanese people, specifically Yamato people. Japanese people are one of the largest ethnic groups in the world.

The Greeks or Hellenes are an ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus, southern Albania, Italy, Turkey, Egypt and, to a lesser extent, other countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world.

English commonly uses national demonyms such as "Ethiopian" or "Guatemalan", while the usage of local demonyms such as "Chicagoan", "Okie", or "Parisian", is rare. Many local demonyms are rarely used and many places, especially smaller towns and cities, lack a commonly used and accepted demonym altogether. [4] [5] [6]

Etymology

National Geographic attributes the term "demonym" to Merriam-Webster editor Paul Dickson in a recent work from 1990. [7] The word did not appear for nouns, adjectives, and verbs derived from geographical names in the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary nor in prominent style manuals such as the Chicago Manual of Style . It was subsequently popularized in this sense in 1997 by Dickson in his book Labels for Locals. [8] However, in What Do You Call a Person From...? A Dictionary of Resident Names (the first edition of Labels for Locals) [9] Dickson attributed the term to George H. Scheetz, in his Names' Names: A Descriptive and Prescriptive Onymicon (1988), [2] which is apparently where the term first appears. The term may have been fashioned after demonymic, which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as the name of an Athenian citizen according to the deme to which the citizen belongs, with its first use traced to 1893. [10] [11]

List of adjectival and demonymic forms for countries and nations

List of adjectivals and demonyms for cities

Suffixation

Several linguistic elements are used to create demonyms in the English language. The most common is to add a suffix to the end of the location name, slightly modified in some instances. These may resemble Late Latin, Semitic, Celtic, or Germanic suffixes, such as:

-(a)n

Continents and regions

Countries

States and provinces

Cities

-ian

Countries

States, provinces, counties, and cities

-anian

-nian

-in(e)

-a(ñ/n)o/a, -e(ñ/n)o/a, or -i(ñ/n)o/a

as adaptations from the standard Spanish suffix -e(ñ/n)o (sometimes using a final -a instead of -o for a female, following the Spanish suffix standard -e(ñ/n)a)

Countries and regions

Cities

-ite

-(e)r

Often used for European locations and Canadian locations

-ish

(Usually suffixed to a truncated form of the toponym, or place-name.)

"-ish" is usually proper only as an adjective. See note below list.

-ien

-ene

Often used for Middle Eastern locations and European locations.

-ensian

-ard

-ese, -lese, -vese, -gese or -nese

"-ese" is usually considered proper only as an adjective, or to refer to the entirety.[ citation needed ] Thus, "a Chinese person" is used rather than "a Chinese". Often used for East Asian and Francophone locations, from the similar-sounding French suffix -ais(e), which is originally from the Latin adjectival ending -ensis, designating origin from a place: thus Hispaniensis (Spanish), Danensis (Danish), etc.

-i(e)

Mostly for Middle Eastern and South Asian locales and in Latinate names for the various people that ancient Romans encountered (e.g. Allemanni, Helvetii)

-ic

-iot(e)

Used especially for Greek locations.

-k

-asque

Often used for French locations.

-(we)gian

-onian

Often used for British and Irish locations.

-vian

-ois(e), -ais(e)

While derived from French, these are also official demonyms in English.

From Latin or Latinization

Prefixation

It is much rarer to find Demonyms created with a prefix. Mostly they are from Africa and the Pacific, and are not generally known or used outside the country concerned. In much of East Africa, a person of a particular ethnic group will be denoted by a prefix. For example, a person of the Luba people would be a Muluba, the plural form Baluba, and the language, Kiluba or Tshiluba. Similar patterns with minor variations in the prefixes exist throughout on a tribal level. And Fijians who are indigenous Fijians are known as Kaiviti (Viti being the Fijian name for Fiji). On a country level:

In the Pacific, at least two countries use prefixation:

Non-standard examples

Demonyms may also not conform to the underlying naming of a particular place, but instead arise out of historical or cultural particularities that become associated with its denizens. These demonyms are usually more informal and colloquial. In the United States such informal demonyms frequently become associated with mascots of the intercollegiate sports teams of the state university system. In other countries the origins are often disputed.[ example needed ]

Formal

Informal

Ethnic demonyms

Fiction

Literature and science fiction have created a wealth of gentilics that are not directly associated with a cultural group. These will typically be formed using the standard models above. Examples include Martian for hypothetical people of Mars (credited to scientist Percival Lowell) or Gondorian for the people of Tolkien's fictional land of Gondor or Atlantean for Plato's island Atlantis .

Other science fiction examples include Jovian for those of Jupiter or its moons, and Venusian for those of Venus. Fictional aliens refer to the inhabitants of Earth as Earthling (from the diminutive -ling, ultimately from Old English -ing meaning "descendant"), as well as "Terran", "Terrene", "Tellurian", "Earther", "Earthican", "Terrestrial", and "Solarian" (from Sol, the sun).

Fantasy literature which involves other worlds or other lands also has a rich supply of gentilics. Examples include Lilliputians and Brobdingnagians, from the islands of Lilliput and Brobdingnag in the satire Gulliver's Travels .

In a few cases, where a linguistic background has been created, non-standard gentilics are formed (or the eponyms back-formed). Examples include Tolkien's Rohirrim (from Rohan) and the Star Trek world's Klingon people (with various version of homeworld name).

See also

-onym, especially ethnonym and Exonym and endonym

Notes

  1. Local usage generally reserves Hawaiian as an ethnonym referring to Native Hawaiians. Hawaii resident is the preferred local form to refer to state residents in general regardless of ethnicity. [12]

Related Research Articles

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This is a list of lists of universities and colleges by country, sorted by continent and region. The lists represent educational institutions throughout the world which provide higher education in tertiary, quaternary, and post-secondary education.

WHO regions

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The list below includes lists of High Commissioners of the United Kingdom, who fulfil the function of ambassadors in fellow countries of the Commonwealth of Nations.

Burqueño and the feminine Burqueña are demonyms used to refer to a person who is from or lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the surrounding Albuquerque metropolitan area, also used as an adjective for anything related to that city.

References

  1. "Dictionary". Merriam Webster. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  2. 1 2 George H. Scheetz (1988). Names' Names: A Descriptive and Pervasive Onymicon. Schütz Verlag.
  3. "Gramática Inglesa. Adjetivos Gentilicios". mansioningles.com.
  4. "Google Ngram Viewer". google.com.
  5. "Google Ngram Viewer". google.com.
  6. "Google Ngram Viewer". google.com.
  7. "Gentilés, Demonyms: What's in a Name?". National Geographic Magazine . National Geographic Society (U.S.). 177: 170. February 1990.
  8. William Safire (1997-12-14). "On Language; Gifts of Gab for 1998". The New York Times .
  9. What Do You Call a Person From...? A Dictionary of Resident Names by Paul Dickson (Facts on File, February 1990). ISBN   978-0-8160-1983-0.
  10. "Oxford English Dictionary". Oxford University Press.
  11. "Aristotle's Constitution of Athens, edited by J.E. Sandy, at the Internet Archive". p. 116.
  12. Press, AIP, Associated (2007). Stylebook and briefing on media law (42nd ed.). New York: Basic Books. p. 112. ISBN   9780465004898.
  13. Gilbert, Simon (18 November 2014). "What makes a Coventrian ? New online tool will tell you". coventrytelegraph.
  14. "Savannahian". Merriam-Webster Dictionary . Retrieved 2017-10-12.
  15. Finn, Robin (10 October 2014). "Investing in Future Quiet, Quiet Manhattan Apartments Next to Construction Sites". The New York Times.
  16. "Copquin explains "Queensites" for New York Times - Yale Press Log". Yale Press Log.
  17. "Corkonian". merriam-webster.com.
  18. "North West Evening Mail". nwemail.co.uk. Archived from the original on 2014-05-31.
  19. "City of Waterloo on Twitter".
  20. "Angeleno". Merriam-Webster Dictionary . Retrieved 2017-08-10.
  21. "Massachusetts: General Laws, Section 35". malegislature.gov.
  22. Prior to the Massachusetts State Legislature designating "Bay Stater" as the state's official demonym, other terms used included Massachusett, borrowed from the native Massachusett tribe, Massachusite, championed by the early English Brahmins, Massachusettsian, by analogy with other state demonyms, and Masshole, originally derogatory.
  23. "Is it a slur to call someone a Jock?". BBC.
  24. "Slang: What Aussies call other Aussies". Australian Geographic. Retrieved 2018-07-03.

Sources