Is It Yakimite? Yakimanian? 7 Rules to ID People in Places.
When was the last time you had someone from out-of-town ask you: 'Hey, what is the proper demonym for Yakima?' Yeah, nobody has ever asked me that question either. Well, not exactly that question. However, a recent transplant to our fair valley did ask it this way: 'Is it Yakimanians? Yakimites? Yakimanites?'
Feeling the weight of responsibility to answer correctly, I gave my new friend a combination answer. First, at the risk of sounding like John Ratzenberger's "Cliff Clavin" character from 'Cheers', I offered the facts on the subject.
The late American Historian and Author, George R. Stewart, is widely credited with assembling a rubric for determining how to identify people by place names. Some we know instinctively but there truly is both a rhyme and a reason behind it.
There may have been more, but here are 7 Rules to consider:
- Add -n to a place name ending in -a or -ia (Yakiman, Californian). Yep. Yakimans!
- Add -an to a place name ending in -i or sounding like -e (Hawaiian, Boisean).
- Add -ian to a place name ending in -on (Washingtonian, Oregonian).
- Change -y to -i and add -an to a place name ending in -y (Kentuckian).
- Add -an to a place name ending in -o (Chigagoan).
- Add -ite or -er to a place name ending in a consonant or a silent -e (Marylander, Seattleite).
- Delete -s and add -tan to a place name ending in -polis (Annapolitan, for Annapolis).
Before his eyes glossed over and he began to search for an excuse to change the subject, I offered my PERSONAL CHOICE for what we Yakimans SHOULD be called. And that is 'YAKIMANIACS'. Crazy huh? I think it's quite a bit more fun to say and really, aren't we all just 'nuts' about living here?
Perhaps we could replace that 'Palm Springs of Washington' sign with something like:
'Welcome to Yakima, Washington. Home of the YAKIMANIACS You'd be crazy to leave!'