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 | change source]
- -an (America → American, Rome → Roman)
- -ian (Paris → Parisian, Russia → Russian, India → Indian)
- -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, 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 | change 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 | change 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" can mean either someone from the United States, or someone from any part of the two American continents (North America and South America). United Statian is not used in English, but it exists in Spanish (estadounidense) and is widely used in Latin American Spanish, French (étatsunien(ne)) exists but is rarely used, Portuguese (estado-unidense or estadunidense) but it is not as commonly used, Italian (statunitense) exists but is rarely used, and also in Interlingua (statounitese). In Esperanto the country is Usono and the demonym is Usonano, avoiding confusion with Amerikano. US American (for the noun) and US-American can be used but is not widely used in German (US-Amerikaner).