In other cases, a [country] Idol show titles use the demonym: American Idol, Malaysian Idol or Indonesian Idol. Why is this show called Singapore Idol, not Singaporean Idol?

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    I was inspired by that question, in fact.
    – Iti
    Mar 28, 2011 at 15:31
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    Looking at the very list you linked, there are bunches of abnormalities. The simple answer: Marketing and name branding. Someone decides which title will work better. Until you find a comment by that person (or team), I highly doubt we will be able to answer this question.
    – MrHen
    Mar 28, 2011 at 15:36
  • @MrHen: Can't really get behind that mule. I bet the majority of fluent English speakers would make the same decision here as the actual Marketing guy. For the same reason(s). Iti is asking why. Presumably because he doesn't know and he's interested. F'x's suggestion is the only one here anyway - but it's had several upvotes, so maybe that's enough evidence to say we have identified, agreed upon, and given an answer. Apr 2, 2011 at 23:35
  • @FumbleFingers: Until you go poll the majority of English speakers, we still cannot answer this question. We can make a very educated guess which is very likely correct, sure, but that isn't the same as finding the correct answer.
    – MrHen
    Apr 3, 2011 at 12:19

3 Answers 3


Probably because “Singaporean Idol” is quite a mouthful! Shorter titles are more impressive, easier to communicate. I'm sure they run it by many communication experts…

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    Quite so. Which is doubtless why they have a Dutch Idol rather than Netherlandish Idol. Mar 28, 2011 at 15:28
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    @FumbleFingers: But Dutch is the standard demonym of Netherlands, not Netherlandish.
    – Jimi Oke
    Mar 28, 2011 at 15:55
  • Yes, but why? Netherlandish is a perfectly valid word, and all other things being equal it would be the default demonym (excellent word, btw). But we avoid it because it's such a mouthful. Mar 28, 2011 at 17:24
  • Isn't Dutch a derogatory term - being a diminutive of Deutsch (ie little germans) ? Shouldn't the Netherlanderish be up in arms over the insult and rioting in the streets - or isn;t that a very dutch attitude!
    – mgb
    Mar 28, 2011 at 17:42
  • @MartinBeckett, why would you think that Dutch is diminutive of Deutsch?
    – Unreason
    Oct 27, 2011 at 15:39

Another theory, just as speculative:

When the place name ends in a vowel, like America or Australia or Canada or India or Indonesia or Macedonia or Malaysia or Nigeria or Asia or Latin America, it is slightly awkward to say phrases like "America Idol" or "Canada Idol", with two consecutive vowels. The phrases like American Idol and Canadian Idol roll more easily off the tongue. (This is the same phenomenon behind the article a becoming an before vowels in English, and behind linking R and other related sandhi processes.)

Because Singapore ends in a consonant sound, there is no reason to use the longer adjectival form, and the place name can be used directly. In support of this theory, observe Pakistan Idol which is not turned into Pakistani Idol.

(This theory doesn't fully explain why Greek Idol instead of Greece Idol, and why Hrvatski Idol is fine, but it does explain why the adjectival forms are chosen even when they are longer, as in Canadian Idol over Canada Idol.)

  • Ture or not, I quite like analysis. PS. I'm a Singaporean.
    – Jake
    Jan 28, 2012 at 6:09
  • An anonymous user suggested an edit to the last paragraph of this answer, which I'm placing as a comment: "why Greek Idol is accepted instead of Greece Idol? Because both Greece and Greek end in a consonant sound, so it is preferable to use the demonym […] why Hrvatski Idol is fine? because both Hrvatska (Croatia's native name) and Hrvatski (the demonym one) end in a vowel sound (although the vowels are different). And, The word Idol begins with the vowel 'a' sound. When two 'a' sounds comes together, that doesn't really sound good. So, the different vowel is preferable." Oct 11, 2016 at 2:47

There is a question on travel.SE at the moment that I think is similar.

Both questions may be formulated as: Is a demonym a noun or an adjective?

On Wikipedia we can find a list of adjectival and demonymic forms of places.

I would suggest a demonym is a noun, so saying Singaporean Idol (demonym) would be a mistake, while Singapore Idol (adjective) is the right form.

In the travel.SE question, the matter is whether we should say New Zealander citizen (demonym) or New Zealand citizen (adjective).

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