Thursday, April 22, 2010

Residents of American States

The words used to describe the residents of the fifty American states have a wide range of suffixes. The names for the residents of states such as California and New York are well-known. A few states, however, have less known names for their residents.

Residents of Californian are known as Californians. The name "California" ends with an "a". The rule in this case is simply to add an -n for the singular "Californian" and -ns for the plural "Californians". This pattern is the same for seventeen other states. They are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia. Residents of New Mexico are New Mexicans. Here the final "o" becomes an "a".

Thirteen states that do not end with an "a" add -ans. For example, residents of Colorado are Coloradoans. Other states which add this suffix include Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming. The adjective formed from Kentucky has an "i" instead of a "y"-Kentuckian.

Residents of New York are known as New Yorkers. The suffix in this case is -er for the singular "New Yorker" and -ers for the plural "New Yorkers". This pattern is not so common. It only occurs with four other states. They are Connecticut, Maryland, Rhode Island and Vermont. In the case of Maine, the final letter is an "e" so just an -r is needed to derive "Mainer". Michigan is a special case. Here a "d" is inserted before the suffix. Residents of Michigan are called Michiganders.

The states of Arkansas, Kansas and Texas all end with the letter "s". The rule is to replace the final "s" with an "n" to form the singular. Residents of these states are known as Arkansans, Kansans and Texans.

The states of Florida, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina and Washington follow a different pattern. Here an "i" must be inserted before the "a" and then an "n" is added. Residents of these states are Floridians, North Carolinians, Oregonians, South Carolinians and Washingtonians.

The other suffix used is -ite. This occurs with New Hampshire, New Jersey and Wisconsin. In the case of New Hampshire, the final "e" is deleted before the addition of the suffix. Residents of these states are known as New Hampshirites, New Jerseyites and Wisconsinites.

The most common suffix in the names for the residents of American states is -n. This suffix is always added to states which end with the letter "a". The state of New Mexico is an exception because the final "o" changes to an "a". The name for the residents of Michigan is unusual. It has the suffix -er used with six other states but also inserts a "d" before the suffix to derive Michigander. A variety of suffixes are used to derive the names of the residents of the fifty American states.

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