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Are there any rules governing what we call people from different countries?

For example someone from London might be said to be a Londoner. However someone from America [United States] is referred to as American. Other examples [both on a wide and more local geographical scale]:

New York: New Yorker.

Scotland: Scottish

Kent: Kentish [Kentish Men?]

Germany: German

Eton: Etonian [Having been to Eton College]

What I am asking is what grammatical rules govern the suffix that gets attached to the place derived names? They 'sound right' to me but that may be that I have heard them so ofter I am used to them. If I met someone who came from a town, county or country I had never heard of how would I go about deciding that he/she was a ....er, or ....ian, or ...ish?

Londoner sounds OK for use in this way but Londonish and Londinian do not [to me at least]

I hope I have made my query clear. I would be grateful to hear the opinion of others.

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Tasmania -> Taswegian, Glasgow -> Glaswegian –  Mitch May 31 '11 at 13:19
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Rules? Conventions, maybe... –  mickeyf May 31 '11 at 13:29
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marked as duplicate by JSBձոգչ, Robusto, Marthaª, RegDwigнt May 31 '11 at 19:07

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1 Answer

There really aren't any rules. As near as I can tell people just try out a few terms, and keep the ones they like.

There do appear to be some guidelines. Generally, people seem to start by adding er, ite, or an to the end of their place name, and sticking with the better-sounding ones.

Some can get really outlandish though. When I was living in New Orleans, people who were native there were often referred to as "dats", probably from Who Dat?

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