Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

A person from The Turks and Caicus Islands is known as what? Likewise with Trinidad and Tobago, St Kitts and Nevis, São Tomé and Principé, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. http://www.un.org/en/members/

I've heard of "Trinidadian", but isn't that specific to one island? Then again I've heard of Bosnians but not Herzegovinians. In some cases, it isn't even clear what someone from specifically one group of islands is called. Turk? Caicasian?

share|improve this question
    
In the Commonwealth Games three nights ago, there was a wonderful moment when the island nation of Kiribati won a gold medal in weightlifting. Kiribati is in the mid-Pacific Ocean. It was formerly part of the Gilbert & Ellice Islands. The name Kiribati is derived from the local way of rendering the word 'Gilbert', after the Englishman Thomas Gilbert, who crossed the archipelago in 1788. The Ellice Islands are known as Tuvalu, and they are also competing at Glasgow, along with 71 nations in all comprising one third of the earth's population who have some historic connection with Britain. –  WS2 Aug 2 at 21:22
    
But were they still called the Gilbert and Ellice Islands, heaven only knows how their inhabitants would be described adjectivally. –  WS2 Aug 2 at 21:26
    
These aren’t exactly adjectives, or at least, not only adjectives. They get used as nouns, too. –  tchrist Aug 2 at 22:25

1 Answer 1

There is no rule. Every place has its own unique gentilic for the name of the people from there, which is also known as a demonym. You simply have to look each one up individually, each and every time.

  • Antigua and Barbados: Antiguan or Barbudan
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Bosnian or Herzegovinian or Bosnia(n)-Herzegovinian [thanks JBJ]
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis: Kittitian or Nevisian
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Vincentian or Vincy
  • São Tomé and Principé: São Toméan or Santomean
  • Trinidad and Tobago: Trinidadian or Tobagonian or Trinbagonian
  • The Turks and Caicos Islands: Turks and Caicos Islander

In a few cases, people have tried to combine them, but that doesn’t look too nice: consider Trinbagonian or Bosnian-Herzegovinian.

Sometimes only one part of the double-barrelled part is used, such as with Santomean, which skips the Príncipe portion altogether.

But if they are actually two places, each place gets its own gentilic. So for example if you are from Antigua and Barbados, you are still either an Antiguan or else a Barbudan, not an *Antigua-Barbudan.

The real question is not the ands but the ors. In other words, what do you call someone from Truth or Consequences, New Mexico? Best to just say that somebody is from T or C and leave it at that.

share|improve this answer
1  
For the first one, Bosnia(n)-Herzegovinian is also found, with various variants. –  Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 2 at 21:27
1  
Westward Ho!an? –  Edwin Ashworth Aug 2 at 22:00
    
People from Truth or Consequences are from truth or (from) consequences. Consequently, their origin is truly somewhat indeterminate, though we can be sure they are from New Mexico. –  Drew Aug 3 at 2:51

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.