August 18, 2009
Kinger. No, Kingite. No, Kingean.
In Facebook, one of my Friends noted that as a resident of Snohomish County here in Western Washington, she's now a Snohomian. This is one county up from where Seattle is, which is King County. Which in turn led to the question, what do you call a resident of King County?
English has a variety of ways to form a word that means "resident of," which the infallible Wikipedia lists as a demonym:
-ite: Seattleite, Manhattanite
-er: New Yorker, Dubliners
-an: Baltemorean, San Franciscan, Glaswegian
other: (Los) Angeleno (borrowed from Spanish, obviously)
I haven't investigated, but I suspect that any systematic set of rules for how to create a demonym is going to be complex at best and full of exceptions. Yet there must be rules, because it is possible to get it wrong. We're not Seattlers, for example, we just aren't.
So, here's your challenge: what do you call a resident of King County? The problem is that none of the normal rules result in a particularly satisfying name. What can we do about that?