In Dutch the demonym for a person from Gouda is Gouwenaar. What is the demonym for that person in English?

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    Possible dupe or at least related: Rules for forming demonyms Nov 21, 2021 at 16:01
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    Most English speakers aren't even aware that there's a Dutch town? city? called Gouda any more than they're aware of a town or city called Edam, and even fewer of them would call it "Houda". Because of that there isn't going to be an established English demonym.
    – BoldBen
    Nov 22, 2021 at 2:25
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    @BoldBen So when writing fiction taking place in Gouda, what would be the best way to refer to someone from that town?
    – Bob516
    Nov 22, 2021 at 6:47
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    "a person from Gouda" would be a very clear way to refer to someone from that town.
    – James K
    Nov 22, 2021 at 17:29
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    English adopts lots of foreign words, and some people insist that such words should be modified according to the rules of the original language (e.g. "It's stimuli, not stimuluses!"), so maybe the proper term should be Gouwenaar. I occasionally hear English speakers refer to the people of Quebec as Quebecois. Nov 22, 2021 at 20:27

3 Answers 3


I would go with Goudan.*

There does not appear to be an established English demonym to describe the people of Gouda, let alone the adjective to describe anything coming from that province.

However, I think many linguists consider demonyms to be productive i.e. open to new formations.

Demonyms are often based on the adjective form of the noun, and typical examples derive from Proper Noun to Adjective conversion .


  • America > American
  • Asia > Asian
  • Africa > African
  • Australia > Australian


  • Moldavia > Moldavian
  • Australia > Australian
  • Austria > Austrian
  • Bolivia > Bolivian
  • Bulgaria > Bulgarian
  • Jamaica > Jamaican
  • Kenya > Kenyan
  • Korea > Korean
  • Liberia > Liberian
  • Russia > Russian
  • Venezuela > Venezuelan
  • Tonga > Tongan


American States:

  • California > Californian
  • Virginia > Virginian
  • Dakota > Dakotan


American Cities:

  • Philadelphia > Philadelphian

I have at least several dozen more examples...but as you can see, these types of nouns end with either the phoneme /Ə/ or the diphthong /IƏ/**

No matter how you pronounce Gouda, the final syllable is /Ə/, in other words, a schwa

If we accept that this is a productive process, than the suffix '-an' seems to be the way to go.

On the other hand, it has been pointed out by @Mitch and @Andrew Leach that there are other formations based on a similar pronunciation and intonation.

China > Chinese

Ghana > Ghanaian***

Malta > Maltese

These seem to be outliers of morphological trends, not uncommon in English.

*In the last 100 years or so, the production of English demonyms with non-Latin roots tends to lean towards '-an'...

**Most city, state, and nation names in English that end in a vowel usually derive from a non-English source.

***See below comments for clarification

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    The closest examples in accent and vowels to Gouda to generalize would be Cuba, China, Ghana, Malta, Tonga. so... Goudan, Goudese, or Goudaian.
    – Mitch
    Nov 21, 2021 at 19:41
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    Gouda is not a country. Some regions or cities, take er as in Londoner, New Yorker, Berliner. And frankly, as Gouda is Dutch, why should it have one in English?? And even many English places don't have one. There are some unusual ones: Person from Los Angeles, Angelinos or Moscovites for Moscow.
    – Lambie
    Nov 21, 2021 at 20:18
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    My Dutch friend says ' "Goudaner" is possible. They are often stereotyped as being poor, and indeed this native says "But: being a Goudaner means that I have to beg something… So please come to Gouda when visiting Holland and pay a visit!" Nov 21, 2021 at 20:19
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    It's Ghanaian, where the suffix is extended, but still added to Ghana.
    – Andrew Leach
    Nov 21, 2021 at 21:48
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    I have never heard Tonganese used for the demonym of Tonga (it’s always been “Tongan”). Now admittedly I haven’t known that many Tongans, so I’d hesitate to say that it’s not an alternative or something… but Google counts a bare few thousand hits for the former versus millions for the latter. Nov 22, 2021 at 10:12

I'm pretty sure there isn't one. We have our own demonyms for a few very well-known foreign cities (Roman, Parisian) but not for the majority of places. I don't even know of many for places in the UK.

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    Yeah, it’s hard to keep track of all the Manx in Man, Welsh in Wales, Loiners in Leeds, Exonians in Exeter, Cornish in Cornwall, Paludians in Slough, Orcadians in Orkney, Ludensians in Louth, Giernesi in Guernsey, Dundonians in Dundee, Cestrians in Chester, Haligonians in Halifax, Glaswegians in Glasgow, Silhillians in Solihull, Salopians in Shrewsbury, Aberdonians in Aberdeen, Wintonians in Winchester, Sennockians in Sevenoaks, Mancunians in Manchester, Maxonians in Macclesfield, Cantuarians in Canterbury, Novocastrians in New Castle, Liverpudlians in Liverpool, Cantabrigians in Cambridge. :)
    – tchrist
    Nov 21, 2021 at 17:25
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    @tchrist 'Salopian'? That sounds almost like a slur.
    – Mitch
    Nov 21, 2021 at 17:38
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    And those poor Novocastrians! Nov 21, 2021 at 17:54
  • @tchrist - Wow, you know a lot more of them than I do! I'm a Derbeian myself. Nov 21, 2021 at 21:15
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    @Mitch - Actually Salop is an alternative name for the whole county of Shropshire, not just Shrewsbury. Nov 22, 2021 at 9:17

"Person from Gouda".

This is the most effective way, not because it is the shortest possible (although it is pretty short), but because it is the easiest to understand. If the goal is to be clearly understood, then the most effective term is the one that can be understood easiest.

Using "Goudan" or "Gouwenaar" might be understood in context. But "person from Gouda" can be understood by anyone who knows that "Gouda" is a town.

It is more effective to write "Jul was from Gouda", that to write "Jul was Goudan". The second sentence is more likely to be misunderstood.

  • I'm writing in the context of residents talking to a stranger who is visiting Gouda. Which would sound more natural in English language fiction? "We people of Gouda resent your talking down to us" or "We Goudans resent your talking down to us." Yes, if a character from Gouda was in another city, and there was no information given about the character writing Goudan might be confusing.
    – Bob516
    Nov 25, 2021 at 4:42
  • "You aren't from Gouda and we resent you talking down to us" - I think using "Goudans" sounds a little silly in your examples. Suppoe the town was "Little-Whinging-on-the-Hill" Do you think "Little-Whinging-on-the-Hillians" would be the right way to go?
    – James K
    Nov 25, 2021 at 6:32
  • I was just giving an off the top of my head example, not meant to be a well thought out sentence. Does it all come down to a matter of taste? Is Goudan any sillier than Liverpudlian?
    – Bob516
    Nov 25, 2021 at 16:46

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