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A tweet popped up in my feed recently that posed a really good question. On first blush I thought "Oh, I can answer this!" then upon further reflection I realized I can't.

In the case of "New Yorkers", we add "-er" to "New York". In the case of "Scandinavian", we add an "-n" to "Scandinavia". And so on.

So, to finally propose the question that was asked on Twitter:

What is the proper demonym for someone from Shreveport?

I assume it's "Shreveporter" but that doesn't quite sound right.

I saw this general discussion, but it doesn't answer this particular question.

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10  
You'll have to ask somebody from Shreveport. Demonyms are intensely local and follow no general pattern. –  John Lawler Jan 22 '13 at 15:30
3  
People from Shrewsbury can't even agree on how to pronounce their town. –  Edwin Ashworth Jan 22 '13 at 15:49
    
That is incredibly insightful advice. Thanks! –  jcolebrand Jan 22 '13 at 16:28
    
@EdwinAshworth It's always been known as Shrowsbury dating back to Saxon times. Just because a bunch of adolescent students on facebook fancy changing it to Shroowsbury doesn't make it so. There are many such anomalies in English town name pronunciations, try getting your average American to pronounce Leicestershire or Worcestershire correctly. –  spiceyokooko Jan 22 '13 at 18:38

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Going by the official website of Shreveport, shreveportla.gov, the demonym appears to be Shreveporter. An excerpt from the city's council proceedings in 2007 reads:

Councilman Shyne: Mr. Chairman, I saw a distinguished attorney just come in. I don’t know whether he wants to be recognized or not. That’s Attorney Jones. He’s a distinguished Shreveporter. We’re so happy to have you down gracing us with your presence.

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1  
I would be surprised if there were any town name ending in "...port" where the denonym wasn't "...porter" –  Peter Shor Jan 22 '13 at 18:11
    
@PeterShor: That scheme works much better than, say, Newburyportians – which would sound like what you'd get after you go on an all-fruit diet. –  J.R. Jan 22 '13 at 21:12

If there was a consistent rule, then we would only have one demonym per region. That those for countries (which are probably the most firmly defined) include Argentines, Argentineans and Argentinians for people from Argentina, demonstrates that we do not have one demonym per region, and by extension that there isn't a consistent rule.

For extra fun, people can get very annoyed if you use the wrong one. Your best bet is to do a google search for likely candidates, but even then favour local references over sheer numbers. Also, don't assume that those from different places with the same name, use the same demonym.

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