Insider our outsider? - some ramblings
How does anyone know what suffix to apply to describe someone who hails from a particular place? And who decides? Are there any rules that can help us out?
If you come from London or New York, it’s easy, you’re a Londoner or a New Yorker - but does that mean a resident of York is a Yorker? I suspect not, but even those good people at York council are not sure!
Someone who lives in Paris is a Parisian; a resident of Rome is a Roman; a citizen of Moscow is a Muscovite; a person from Madrid is a Madrilenian; and someone from Sydney is a Sydneysider - I kid you not!
Someone who hails from Edinburgh is an Edinburgher, and a person from Hamburg is a Hamburger. But what of those from Stockholm, Rio de Janeiro, Budapest, Istanbul or Bangkok? Not to mention someone who comes from Pratts Bottom, Curry Mallet, Red Rice or Pollokshields.
From Liverpool we have Liverpudlians - but when did the pool become a pudl? - and Manchester produces Mancunians (from the Latin Mancunium apparently). Also based on the Latin, Oxford produces Oxonians whilst Cambridge is full of Cantabrigians.
A Glaswegian comes from Glasgow, and a Melburnium (male) or Melburna (female) from Melbourne. Someone from Michigan is a Michigander - dare one ask if a female from Michigan is a Michigoose? Probaby not.
So, no, it seems there are no rules. There may be several common suffixes such as: -ian, -ite, -er and -ise, but rules there are none. And no obvious guidelines, either.