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Proper adjectives

A discussion of word histories and origins.

Proper adjectives

Postby sluggo » Tue May 02, 2006 11:28 pm

I've always been curious why things or people from Ecuador are called "Ecuadorian". Seems to refer to a place called Ecuadoria; why isn't the logical adjective Ecuadoran?

True, we put an -ian on Brazil, but that's kind of springing off the L where the tongue wants to go. The R seems not to need that spring, else we would be speaking of Andorrians.

For that matter, what's a person from Darfur called? Or from Dakar? Or Kashmir?
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Postby Brazilian dude » Wed May 03, 2006 11:57 am

Maybe, but just maybe, Ecuadorian comes from ecuatoriano.

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Postby anders » Fri May 05, 2006 5:52 am

I'm not very interested in many parts of Africa, but for Kashmir

Kash•mir•i
...
—n.
1. a native or inhabitant of Kashmir.
...
and

Kash•mir•i•an
...
—n.
a Kashmiri.

(Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.)
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Postby Perry » Fri May 05, 2006 9:02 am

I wonder if there even exists any kind of hard and fast rule when it comes to adjectives for place name nouns. My guess is that it goes by what sounds best, tradition, and/or what the people of that country prefer.

I know that for Israel the adjective is Israeli. Although the sound is the same, I can't imagine this with a y at the end. And while I believe that in some other language Israelis might be referred to as Israelians, we [I lived there for 25 years and am a dual citizen] would never call ourselves that.

An example of preference is with Scotland, where both Scots and Scottish (but never Scotch) could both be used. One reference I looked at claimed that Scottish is for more formal usage.

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Postby anders » Fri May 05, 2006 5:35 pm

Perry, I do appreciate finding you here.

In Swedish, we make a difference between "israeliter" and "israeler", the former being those Arabs who left nomadism and established themselves as sedentary agriculturalists in Palestine, and the latter, being the present-day inhabitants of Palestine who are of the Jewish faith.
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Postby Stargzer » Fri May 05, 2006 6:13 pm

Long ago I used to refer to a college classmate from Baltimore as a Baltimoron. Alas, I found out later I wasn't the first. Reporter, editor, author and Baltimore native H. L. Menken used the same adjective/proper noun for his fellow denizens of the city.

In my defense I can only say that great minds think alike . . . :roll:
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Postby tcward » Sat May 06, 2006 12:32 am

In the quest for greater openness of gender reference, students of my alma mater, St. Andrews Presbyterian College, call themselves "St. Androids".

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Postby Brazilian dude » Sat May 06, 2006 1:55 pm

I think in Portuguese israelense refers to an inhabitant of present-day Israel and israelita a follower of the Jewish faith, no matter where they were born.

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Postby Brazilian dude » Sat May 06, 2006 1:56 pm

Something funny goes on in Portuguese. In Brazil we call Canadians canadenses and in Portugal it's canadianos. For us Palestinians are palestinenses and in Portugal they are palestinianos.

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Postby Stargzer » Tue May 09, 2006 3:54 pm

Yeah, I understand there are people who question whether they speak Portuguese in Brazil, French in Quebec, or English in the United States . . .

8)
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Postby frank » Tue May 09, 2006 5:28 pm

Stargzer wrote:Yeah, I understand there are people who question whether they speak Portuguese in Brazil

Given the fact that there are more speakers of Portuguese in São Paolo than in Portugal, one might wonder if they still speak Portuguese in Portugal ;-).

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(PS: 188 million people in Brazil versus 10 million in Portugal)
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Postby sluggo » Wed May 10, 2006 1:02 pm

Stargzer wrote:Long ago I used to refer to a college classmate from Baltimore as a Baltimoron. Alas, I found out later I wasn't the first. Reporter, editor, author and Baltimore native H. L. Menken used the same adjective/proper noun for his fellow denizens of the city.

In my defense I can only say that great minds think alike . . . :roll:


Ah yes, which brings up the Mainiacs and, for 51% of another state, the Michigeese...
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Postby sluggo » Fri Jun 16, 2006 2:05 am

Perry wrote:
An example of preference is with Scotland, where both Scots and Scottish (but never Scotch) could both be used. One reference I looked at claimed that Scottish is for more formal usage.


Just my two pence, I believe Scots refers to the lowlanders, particularly their language, being a dialect of English with abundant sprinklings of Gaelic and Old English, while Scottish would be the general adjective describing anything or anyone from Scotland (and also used to distinguish that country's Gaelic from the Irish).
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Postby Garzo » Fri Jun 16, 2006 7:40 am

As my mum's family come from Liverpool. I've always thought that Liverpuddlian was a good adjective. We also have Glaswegians and Norwegians on the way.

It does seem odd that our languages like to distinguish Israelis from Israelites — are we subtly trying to rob Israelis of an Israelite heritage?

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Postby Perry » Fri Jun 16, 2006 9:34 am

Garzo the Garzonian, good to see you back! You missed an opportunity to mention Mancunian. This one is interesting because it goes back to the Roman Empire.
BTW the photo in the link would be good for the Oral Blunder floss: oops I mean thread.

Sluggo, when I was growing up in Michigan, we used Michigander. Perhaps Michigas [Yiddishized Hebrew for craziness/crazy things] would be more apt. :roll:
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