Map Geek 11: Bugeater Demonyms
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The Map Geek series of geocaches is for all my fellow map nerds in the caching community. All will (hopefully) have fun finding the cache. Those of you who find the map oddities and fun facts appealing, please feel free to discuss that in your cache log, adding comments, corrections and opinions as you wish.
A teeny magnetic micro. You'll want a pencil and a log-rolling TOTT, and stealth. The posted hours of this park is 5am - 8pm, for some reason.
When you log this cache please let us know one or more demonyms that apply to you. (I assume most of the finders will be Earthlings, so that one is unnecessary.) If you are from Weeping Water, Plattsmouth, Bellevue or other places with unclear or disputed demonyms, please make your preferences known.
UPDATE: From the logs, here are some of the self-described demonyms for previous cache finders: Bellevuemaster, Bluenose, Council Bluffian, Hawkeye, Yooper, Hawaiian, Moorlander, La Vistan, Ralstonite, Feed-Lotian, Clevelander, Burnt Hillsite, Londoner, Charltonian, Bowling Greenite, Dallasite, Schenectadian (Dorpian), Millardite, Nebraskan, Washingtonian, Spokanite.
What do you call yourself? Either your place of birth or your place of residence (or both) gives you a demonym. Demonyms have also been called gentilics, denizen labels, municipal onamastics, patrials and toponyms. The relatively newly-minted word “demonym” seems to be accepted and acceptable.
With a few exceptions, demonyms have not been legally established. They are largely self-determined, and often the best place to find them is in the local newspaper. For example, the Omaha World-Herald has long referred to its own local residents and natives as “Omahans” and “Nebraskans.” The residents of Indiana and Massachusetts have more or less officially settled on “Hoosier” and “Bay Stater” as opposed to “Indianan” or “Massachusettsite.”
Widely-used sources such as the CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia have codified and clarified some demonyms, and they are somewhat trustworthy regarding national and state demonyms. But there remains much disagreement at the municipal and village level.
Articles and books that have been written on the topic include a series of articles by H. L. Mencken beginning in 1936, a set of rules put forth by George R. Stewart, Jr., and a book by Paul Dickson called “Labels for Locals: What to Call People from Abilene to Zimbabwe.”
Stewart set down his rules in a 1934 article in “American Speech” called “Names for Citizens.” (It should be noted that the title is a bit misleading; only nations can bestow citizenship. Towns and states can only have “residents.”) Here are the Stewart rules:
- If the place name ends in -a or -ia, add -n (Californian).
- If the name ends in -i or sounded -e, add -an (Hawaiian).
- If the name ends in -on, add -ian (Oregonian).
- If the name ends in -y, change the -y to an -i and add -an (Albany --> Albanian).
- If the name ends in -o, add -an (Chicagoan).
- If the name ends in a consonant or a silent -e, add either -ite or -er, depending on euphony (agreeableness of sound) (Mainer, New Hampshireite).
- If the name ends in -polis, change that to -politan (Minneapolitan).
There are many exceptions to the rules, of course. Residents of Paris, unsurprisingly, prefer to be “Parisians” and “Parisiennes” rather than “Parisites.” And historical oddities abound. For examples, residents of Schenectady NY are regularly referred to as “Dorpians.” Arguments about what to call residents of Michigan or Connecticut have raged for decades. When there were two competing daily newspapers in Atlanta, one called the locals “Atlantans” and the other called them “Atlantians.” The disparity was settled when one paper bought the other.
Here, then, is a list of Nebraska municipalities and how they might conform to the Stewart rules.
The book “Labels for Locals” lists the following demonyms that apply to residents of Nebraska towns:
- Columbusite (The book claims that residents of Columbus GA, IN, NE and OH all prefer “Columbusite,” and that only residents of Columbus, Mississippi refer to themselves as “Columbians.”)
- Cretan (referring to the island)
- Genevan (in reference to the Swiss city)
- Grand Islander
- Madisonian (referring to the Wisconsin city)
- Norfolkan (as opposed to Norfolk VA where “Norfolkian” is preferred, and Norfolk, England, where “North Anglians” live.)
- North American
- Oaklander (in reference to the California city)
- (The book claims no demonym for Oshkosh, Wisconsin, so none refer to the Nebraska town)
- Peruvian (in reference to the country)
- St. Paulite (in reference to the Minnesota city)
- South Sioux Cityan (the residents of Sioux City IA prefer to spell it with a “y” instead of the substituted “i.”)
- Waterlooan (in reference to the Iowa city)
- Yorker (in reference to the Pennsylvania city and residents of New York)
With tongue in cheek I humbly submit this Nebraska map featuring some appropriate demonyms. What else should you call people in West Point?
The book also mentions that you may run into one or more of these in neighboring states:
"Exonyms" are what outsiders call a place, often pejoratively, and "endonyms" are what the residents themselves call a place. For example, residents of Italy would never call it that; they'd use "Italia." Some derogatory demonyms can result. Here are some examples from the central US; despite their historical accuracy, use them with great care.
Sources: "Labels for Locals," CIA World Factbook, Wikipedia.
Tools: Tagxedo, GIMP, OpenOffice, BaseCamp. GSAK, GPSVisualizer.
For the truly map-obsessed, there's information about the map sources (and tools used to create the new maps) at the WBs geocaching blog. Use the "Related Web Page" link above.
(No hints available.)
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum