A demonym or gentilic is a word used for people or the inhabitants of a place. The name of a people's language is usually the same as this word, for example, the "English" (language or people). Some places may not have a word for the people that live there.
Suffix demonyms[change | edit source]
- -an (America → American, Rome → Roman)
- -ian (Paris → Parisian, Russia → Russian)
- -ine (Florence → Florentine, Argentina → Argentine)
- -ite (Vancouver → Vancouverite, Moscow → Muscovite) (mostly cities)
- -er (London → Londoner) (mostly cities)
- -eno (Los Angeles → Angeleno or Los Angeleno, uses the Spanish eño suffix for demonyms)
- -ish (Spain → Spanish, Denmark → Danish) (mostly countries)
- -ese (Taiwan → Taiwanese, Vienna → Viennese, the Tyrol → Tyrolese, Vietnam -> Vietnamese)
- "-ese" is usually only proper as an adjective, or to refer to the entire group of people. For example, "The Chinese" means all people from China.
- -i (Iraq → Iraqi, Bengal → Bengali) (mostly Middle Eastern and South Asian places)
- -ic (Hispania → Hispanic)
- -iote (Cyprus → Cypriote, Phanar → Phanariote), especially for Greek locations.
Irregular forms[change | edit source]
In many cases, both the location's name and the demonym are created by using a suffix, for example England and English and Englishman. This is not always true, for example, France → French.
Cultural problems[change | edit source]
Some peoples, mainly cultures that were taken over by European colonists, have no demonym. They may also have a demonym that is the same as the name of their nation. Examples include Iroquois, Aztec, Māori, and Czech. Often, the native languages of these people have forms that did not get used in English. In Czech, for example, the language is Čeština, the nation is Česko or Česká republika, and the people are Češi.
The demonym for people of the United States of America has a similar problem. "American" refers to both the United States and to the two American continents. United Statian is not used in English, but it exists in Spanish (estadounidense), French (étatsunien(ne)), Portuguese (estado-unidense or estadunidense), Italian (statunitense), and also in Interlingua (statounitese). US American (for the noun) and US-American can be used, and is a common demonym in German (US-Amerikaner).
Similarly there is no demonym for the citizens of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.