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    confused Rules for what are groups of people called?

    Quote Originally Posted by Razade View Post
    I think I did? I said I live in Phoenix, thus am Phoenician. Considering the real Phoenicians didn't even last to the CE, I think that's enough context.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rockphed View Post
    People from Albany are obviously "Albanites", not "Albanians".
    The above are quotes from a different thread. I didn't want to derail it so I posted a new one.

    I am curious as to the rules for naming people from an area.

    People from New York are New Yorkers. Perhaps because it ends in a consonant. People from Virginia use the "ns" ending and are Virginians; perhaps for ending in a vowel. But people from Texas are Texans not Texasers.

    Some groups have 2 names: Israeli vs Israelite?

    Some have no name: people from Connecticut have to be called "Nutmeggers".

    What are people from Vermont called? Vermontois ( similar to Quebecois?) ?

    Is it all random? Or is there some entomological rules?
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    Default Re: Rules for what are groups of people called?

    I don't think it's random, but it doesn't follow specific rules. More how people from the region (or outside it) think is a good name, and what sticks...
    Many times there may be a few names, and a difference of opinions within the region, outside it or otherwise....

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    Default Re: Rules for what are groups of people called?

    Basically, it's a lawless wasteland of whatever people collectively decide. For example, in France, they would call people from France "Francais". In America, we would call people from France "French".

    There's no rhyme or reason, it's just whatever a large enough group of people decide is right. Which, coincidentally, is also how language works in general.
    Last edited by Peelee; 2020-08-22 at 12:04 PM.
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    Default Re: Rules for what are groups of people called?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peelee View Post
    Basically, it's a lawless wasteland of whatever people collectively decide. For example, in France, they would call people from France "Francais". In America, we would call people from France "French".

    There's no rhyme or reason, it's just whatever a large enough group of people decide is right. Which, coincidentally, is also how language works in general.
    That would be my basic understanding too. There are, however, some fairly established 'english' suffixes that have a head start in sounding right to english ears.
    The "(i)an" is fairly well established, as is the "ite" and "ers" and more.

    And part of that is when they resemble (native or otherwise) gramatical rules (e.g. run, runner, runners -> new york, new yorker, new yorkers), but not properly (new york isn't a verb).
    Last edited by jayem; 2020-08-22 at 05:35 PM.

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    Default Re: Rules for what are groups of people called?

    I assume that you are talking about English, since every language has its own set of rules. As others have noticed, it has some suffixes it uses for this, like -ian (from Latin), -er and -ish (Germanic), -i (I'm not sure: Arabic? I found it as Semitic in general). Israeli and Israelite isn't the same, the latter isn't related to the State of Israel. The various -ch come from -ish. Then you have German, which would be something like ger-man = spearman, an ancient designation for those who had political rights in one or more Germanic peoples.

    You also have names that are adapted from other languages and have no discernible suffix, like "Pole", which is a German loan from a Slavic word that originally meant "field-inhabitant". Spaniard instead comes from French.

    There surely are many more rules.

    If you mean "who gives these names?", there is a linguistic distinction between endonyms (those which people give to themselves as a group) and exonyms (those which other people give to a community). Notice that an exonym can cover a number of peoples that have no common endonym and don't consider themselves the same people, like iirc "mountain people" in Western Africa, and the opposite is also probably true, although I currently have no examples.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarlet Knight View Post
    Is it all random? Or is there some entomological rules?


    Entomology studies insects, though
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    Default Re: Rules for what are groups of people called?

    Well I, being from New Zealand, am New Zealandic.

    I think?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard_Lizard View Post
    Well I, being from New Zealand, am New Zealandic.

    I think?
    I thought the proper term was Kiwi, making you have something in common with "Nutmeggers".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rynjin View Post
    I thought the proper term was Kiwi, making you have something in common with "Nutmeggers".
    Hm yea kiwi is named after the floofy bird.Kinda Like why Australiens are called australiens
    I just like new zealandic better.
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    Default Re: Rules for what are groups of people called?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard_Lizard View Post
    Well I, being from New Zealand, am New Zealandic.
    Well I, being from America, am envious.
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    Default Re: Rules for what are groups of people called?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    I assume that you are talking about English, since every language has its own set of rules. As others have noticed, it has some suffixes it uses for this, like -ian (from Latin), -er and -ish (Germanic), -i (I'm not sure: Arabic? I found it as Semitic in general). Israeli and Israelite isn't the same, the latter isn't related to the State of Israel. The various -ch come from -ish. Then you have German, which would be something like ger-man = spearman, an ancient designation for those who had political rights in one or more Germanic peoples.
    I think there's also an element of modernity to it, in that historically, Europeans would assign exonyms basically as they liked. See for example calling Native Americans, a group composed of many diverse nations, "Indians" as a general label. Whereas nowadays, groups are generally named with more sensitivity. For instance, in the OP's example, Israeli is indeed the Modern Hebrew term, with the -i ending indicating group affiliation (if I recall). Or another example, the fact that the term Eskimo has now fallen into disuse, in favor of more accurate and specific terms like Inuit or Yupik. Likewise, the pejorative Gypsy has now fallen out of use, in favor of the endonym Roma (or Romani).

    Thus, I think, you see a more modern naming convention consisting of calling groups by their endonyms - especially where the term assigned to those groups is seen as pejorative. By contrast, larger, more long-established groups - like whole nations - who don't see a name as pejorative have done little to change what they are called, and so we have these terms that don't necessarily connect. For example, at some point, Portuguese traders learned the term Zipang from the Asian mainland, and Nihon became Japan. As a result, the endonym Nihonjin is replaced outside of the country by the exonym Japanese (or Japonais, or Yapani, or whatever works in the local language), and nobody seems particularly bothered by this.
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    Default Re: Rules for what are groups of people called?

    Unless loanwords are used, Chinese sticks the character for person/people (人) to the end of the country name, for example American is 美國人 or literally 'America People'.
    This can be applied to locations as well, for example Hong Kong people is 香港人, which has been translated into English as 'Hong Konger'.

    Japan broadly follows the same construction (for example Chinese people are 中国人 or 'China People') except when it doesn't, because Japanese.
    For example, rather than the nice sensible 英国人 ('England People') for English people, they prefer to transliterate 'English' using their loanword alphabet katakana to 'Igirisu' (イギリス) then tag the people part on the end, so イギリス人.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    By contrast, larger, more long-established groups - like whole nations - who don't see a name as pejorative have done little to change what they are called, and so we have these terms that don't necessarily connect.
    Technically speaking, the Japanese did around about the 8th Century, from their original pejorative name Wa (倭) by the Chinese (meaning dwarf, either due to their short stature or their habit of bowing) and the endonym Yamato, to the more recognisable 日本國 or in Japanese Nihon/Nippon (日本国), meaning 'Sun's Origin Country'.

    By the time the Portuguese rolled round to what is now Malaysia and picked up the Malay word Japang/Japun, 日本国 was the official name of the country and kept on using it when they finally landed on Japan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    For example, at some point, Portuguese traders learned the term Zipang from the Asian mainland, and Nihon became Japan. As a result, the endonym Nihonjin is replaced outside of the country by the exonym Japanese (or Japonais, or Yapani, or whatever works in the local language), and nobody seems particularly bothered by this.
    The Japanese even embrace this make some absolutely glorious puns: there's an anime about baking bread (called pan in Japanese), and the quest of the protagonist to create a unique signature Japanese national bread or nihon pan, known as the Ja-pan.
    Last edited by Brother Oni; 2020-08-24 at 07:54 AM.

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    Default Re: Rules for what are groups of people called?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post

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    Default Re: Rules for what are groups of people called?

    But why is it Glaswegians and not Glasgowians?
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    Default Re: Rules for what are groups of people called?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard_Lizard View Post
    Well I, being from New Zealand, am New Zealandic.

    I think?
    I've always heard it as New Zealander, like Newfoundlander and so on. It's like how Canadians can be called Canadians, or Canucks.

    What little research I've done into this topic makes me think it really is just pure and totally arbitrary and decided basically at random, like how almost all "groups of X animal" names are made up by one guy who noticed no one had named them and decided to do so.

    They might have origins (Canuck was a term used to refer to Dutch, German, and French-Canadians) but on the whole they just seem to just be whatever caught on.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    But why is it Glaswegians and not Glasgowians?
    Wiki says to match Galway and Norway.
    (it also gives some foreign varients)

    As a non-etymnologist, going from Glesca-i-an, and at some point softening the c and strengthening the middle of 3/4 vowels makes a degree of sense.

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    Last edited by jayem; 2020-08-23 at 12:07 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Likewise, the pejorative Gypsy has now fallen out of use, in favor of the endonym Roma (or Romani).
    More complicated than that, actually. There's several travelling groups and ethnicities in Europe and not all of them want to be called Roma.
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    Default Re: Rules for what are groups of people called?

    OP, the word you are looking for is demonym.

    The funny thing is that these don’t always evolve in the same way as the name of the place they refer too, which sometimes lead to names that don’t sound related at all.
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    Default Re: Rules for what are groups of people called?

    People from Halifax, Nova Scotia, on the East Coast of Canada, call themselves Haligonians.

    That offers nothing substantive to the on-going conversation, but that word makes me smile every time I get to use it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard_Lizard View Post
    Well I, being from New Zealand, am New Zealandic.

    I think?
    New Zealander, like Derek Zoolander. New Zealandic would denote a language or origin. If you didn't speak English you would probably be said to speak New Zealandic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    I assume that you are talking about English, since every language has its own set of rules. As others have noticed, it has some suffixes it uses for this, like -ian (from Latin), -er and -ish (Germanic), -i (I'm not sure: Arabic? I found it as Semitic in general). Israeli and Israelite isn't the same, the latter isn't related to the State of Israel. The various -ch come from -ish. Then you have German, which would be something like ger-man = spearman, an ancient designation for those who had political rights in one or more Germanic peoples.
    -i is Latin, Ancient Latin uses -i and -ii to denote people/tribes (both or one of them, not sure). You'll find in basically every mention of a barbarian tribe. Alemanni, Marcomanni, Gothi etc etc etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vinyadan View Post
    You also have names that are adapted from other languages and have no discernible suffix, like "Pole", which is a German loan from a Slavic word that originally meant "field-inhabitant". Spaniard instead comes from French.

    There surely are many more rules.

    If you mean "who gives these names?", there is a linguistic distinction between endonyms (those which people give to themselves as a group) and exonyms (those which other people give to a community). Notice that an exonym can cover a number of peoples that have no common endonym and don't consider themselves the same people, like iirc "mountain people" in Western Africa, and the opposite is also probably true, although I currently have no examples.
    One of my favourites is actually Sweden. I was reading a book written by someone who is well into dialects, which basically was called "How Svitjod turned into Sweden". And it traces how a lose tribal kingship of a sorts develops into a medieaval central state in Sweden, and you can sort of follow it in how the name of the cultural/authority/power structure itself changes. Svitjod basically meaing the "Swea people" a rule of people, not land. Eventually as kingship evolves the name changes into the "Swea people's realm" which incidentally is a term used by their neighbours. The modern Swedish name for the country itself, Sverige, is therefore a name applied by it's most important neighbours not one created internally. Basically, the nation formed in a symbiose of what others thought of them.

    Quote Originally Posted by jayem View Post
    That would be my basic understanding too. There are, however, some fairly established 'english' suffixes that have a head start in sounding right to english ears.
    The "(i)an" is fairly well established, as is the "ite" and "ers" and more.

    And part of that is when they resemble (native or otherwise) gramatical rules (e.g. run, runner, runners -> new york, new yorker, new yorkers), but not properly (new york isn't a verb).
    A lot of these are following older rules for how you conjugate nouns into adjectives. There used to be suffixes for a lot of states, like grammatical genders, ownership of an item, all kinds of things. Some of the rules survive this way. Basically the way you conjugate a verb could and was done on nouns and adjectives.

    And it follows that these preferrably are easy to say so you follow similar establlished patterns.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarlet Knight View Post

    People from New York are New Yorkers. Perhaps because it ends in a consonant. People from Virginia use the "ns" ending and are Virginians; perhaps for ending in a vowel. But people from Texas are Texans not Texasers.
    It's bewcause the New Yorkers refuse to be referred to as New Yorkies.
    Keep in mind Texas used to be the Texican republic with Texicans, or something like that before it was absordbed into the United State.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarlet Knight View Post
    Some have no name: people from Connecticut have to be called "Nutmeggers".
    It's because Conneticut is already too hard to pronounce and it's too unimportant for anyone to notice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarlet Knight View Post
    What are people from Vermont called? Vermontois ( similar to Quebecois?) ?
    "Posh".
    Quote Originally Posted by Scarlet Knight View Post
    Is it all random? Or is there some entomological rules?
    It's not exactly random, but there are no specific rules either. A lot of it comes from conventions (so e.g. how nouns are turned into adjectives) and then linguistic feasability. Basically, you one way or another end up with something people can easily pronounce.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    It's bewcause the New Yorkers refuse to be referred to as New Yorkies.
    Keep in mind Texas used to be the Texican republic with Texicans, or something like that before it was absordbed into the United State.
    The Wiki article on that is interesting. Anglo Texans used to be Texians, while Hispanic Texans were/still are Tejanos.
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowblizz View Post
    -i is Latin, Ancient Latin uses -i and -ii to denote people/tribes (both or one of them, not sure). You'll find in basically every mention of a barbarian tribe. Alemanni, Marcomanni, Gothi etc etc etc.
    -i is a Latin ending, but it's a different one. In those cases, it's simply a nominative plural -- so you have libri (the books), agri (the fields), viri (the men). Alemanni, Marcomanni, Gothi (or Gothones) were simply plurals (of Alemannus, Marcomannus, Gothus/Gotho). However, it is notable that in ancient languages (Greek in particular, and many Greek ones were carried over to Latin) not too rarely cities (implying citizenship) had a plural name, so Athens and Thebes, for example, had plural names; so did Delphi, which, strictly speaking, wasn't a city but a sanctuary.

    -ii was closer to that, in the sense that -ius implied provenance, so Iulius was supposed to be a descendant of Iulus. The Iulii would be a group of people united by belonging to the Gens Iulia, the descendents of Iulus. It could also come from a place to designate its inhabitants, like Delos (island)-Delius/Delii (people from there), Melus-Melius/Melii (both cases under Greek influence).

    In general, Semitic sounds more likely, at least because most of those countries (Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, UAE) are recent countries where Hebrew or Arabic are preponderant. The exceptions are Pakistan, which is recent but not Arabic, and Oman, which is Arabic but not too recent.
    Last edited by Vinyadan; 2020-08-26 at 09:26 AM.
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    I wonder how much of it is just influenced by the media. Generally, when you hear a news report on somewhere distant you rely on how the media refers to a local resident and forever call people from there based on what you heard/read.

    As for New Yorkers, that is the term people in New York City use to call themselves. I live in the state and we avoid that term like the plague. New Yorkers are so smug and view the rest of the state as just there to support them, which in a sense is true, the taxes are so high because of NYC. I don't want to go to far off on a tangent here so I'll just say, at least in my part of the state, we prefer to go by our town/city locality names.

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    Default Re: Rules for what are groups of people called?

    The different suffixes have somewhat different meanings though, which in some cases might influence which suffix gets utilized. For example, the demonym for Brazil (Brazilian), in Portuguese, is "Brasileiro", not "Brasiliano" - the -eiro is a direct cognate of English -er, meaning someone who does a certain thing (e.g. farmer = someone who farms). I read that's because the name "Brazil" comes from pau-brasil aka brazilwood (the "brasil" in "pau-brasil" means "like embers", due to its bright red color), since that was this region's main natural resource and the reason why Europeans came here in the early days of colonization. So, any white person living in Brazil was presumably a brazilwood logger, or, in other words, a "Braziler" (brasileiro). Dunno how much this sort of rationale influences other demonyms though.
    Last edited by SirKazum; 2020-08-26 at 05:04 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WinterKnight404 View Post
    I wonder how much of it is just influenced by the media. Generally, when you hear a news report on somewhere distant you rely on how the media refers to a local resident and forever call people from there based on what you heard/read.

    As for New Yorkers, that is the term people in New York City use to call themselves. I live in the state and we avoid that term like the plague. New Yorkers are so smug and view the rest of the state as just there to support them, which in a sense is true, the taxes are so high because of NYC. I don't want to go to far off on a tangent here so I'll just say, at least in my part of the state, we prefer to go by our town/city locality names.
    Hmm; as a New Yorker living outside the city I don't find that in my region. Are you from Long Island?

    Plus you have me thinking about how NYC people often like to refer to themselves by borough : Brooklynite, Staten Islander, Manhattanite. Funny how people from Queens & the Bronx refer to themselves as "Queens residents" and "from da Bronx" respectively.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scarlet Knight View Post
    Funny how people from Queens & the Bronx refer to themselves as "Queens residents" and "from da Bronx" respectively.
    Any group from Queens that does not refer to themselves as Royalty of Queens will be hereby barred from my annual airing of grievances. Alos no more catsup for your burgers!

    Language is always a mixture between personal inventiveness and general consensus. I think correct spelling are just a relatively current invention (current as in: book printing is a new technology) Varying names for groups were required before, and not only need to be precise enough to be distinct for their respective surroundings (a guy from Phoenix is unlikely to meet an Ancient Phoenician), but they also convey a sense of belonging, of being part of a community.

    This is also why central European countries have different dialects every 50-100km. In Germany especially (due to the country being divided in so many small dukedoms centuries ago) you often even have people who don't feel German but rather Swabian or Hamburgian. A prominent example is Bavaria.

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    Default Re: Rules for what are groups of people called?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarlet Knight View Post
    Hmm; as a New Yorker living outside the city I don't find that in my region. Are you from Long Island?

    Plus you have me thinking about how NYC people often like to refer to themselves by borough : Brooklynite, Staten Islander, Manhattanite. Funny how people from Queens & the Bronx refer to themselves as "Queens residents" and "from da Bronx" respectively.
    I remember a book from my childhood where Manhattan had declared itself a free and independent state.
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    Rockphed said it well.
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    Default Re: Rules for what are groups of people called?

    -ite is sometimes used when the others would be awkward to pronounce, or sound dumb. My hometown is Erie, PA. Erier sounds weird ("weirder," technically, which is a whole other issue), Erieian is just horrible, and Erian just doesn't sound right; so we generally go with Erieite. (Stringing Erie and ite together with an understated y-sound; Erie-yite). We got the city name from the lake, which got its name from a local Indian nation. (The word meant "long tail," which was supposedly a reference to a wildcat or raccoon).

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    Default Re: Rules for what are groups of people called?

    Quote Originally Posted by WinterKnight404 View Post
    I wonder how much of it is just influenced by the media. Generally, when you hear a news report on somewhere distant you rely on how the media refers to a local resident and forever call people from there based on what you heard/read.
    I guess that is now my next question: all over America there are newspaper editors. They all know which is the right way (or at least the same way) to address their readers all over while avoiding letters stating " Dear sirs, we do NOT refer to ourselves as New Hampshirians; it's New Hampshirites."

    Is there an editor handbook used by national newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, etc? Particularly prior to Google? If not, why not? It would be have been so useful for nation wide broadcasters!
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    Default Re: Rules for what are groups of people called?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scarlet Knight View Post
    I guess that is now my next question: all over America there are newspaper editors. They all know which is the right way (or at least the same way) to address their readers all over while avoiding letters stating " Dear sirs, we do NOT refer to ourselves as New Hampshirians; it's New Hampshirites."

    Is there an editor handbook used by national newspapers, magazines, radio, TV, etc? Particularly prior to Google? If not, why not? It would be have been so useful for nation wide broadcasters!
    That was worth a google (made much quicker by whoever it was who gave the proper name...wiki has a links including a Government Publishing Style Manual and Associated Press Stylebook (not that surprised they exist we had to use 'harvard' style references)
    (Dictionaries often have a number also)

    Although in any case I guess the odds are that the news you are reporting is local or major (so you know it), you can avoid them ("Residents of Smallville were..."), or you are working off a local to the incident report (which may use it). Or you are planning to get your moneys worth from the lookup, demonstrating how clever you are knowing the words.

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    Default Re: Rules for what are groups of people called?

    So New Yorkers are only from New York city, while people from other parts of the state of New York are...?

    I wish there was a difference, but people from Washington State and people from Washington, DC are both called "Washingtonians."

    You just have to infer from context. In fact, in the state of Washington people frequently say they are from "Washington State" to make things clear. Whereas people from Oregon of course don't say, "I'm from Oregon State."

    I don't suppose it would make sense to insist that people from Washington DC call themselves Columbians!
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