Labels for Locals: What to Call People from Abilene to Zimbabwe

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In our globally interconnected age, misnaming where someone is from or the cultural group to which they belong often constitutes more than a harmless social gaffe. Labels for Locals provides guidance on the preferred, and sometimes disdained, names for selected locales, cities, regions, countries, and ethnic groups worldwide.

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Overview

In our globally interconnected age, misnaming where someone is from or the cultural group to which they belong often constitutes more than a harmless social gaffe. Labels for Locals provides guidance on the preferred, and sometimes disdained, names for selected locales, cities, regions, countries, and ethnic groups worldwide.

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Editorial Reviews

Charles Osgood
“A fascinating and useful tour de force.”
Mardy Grothe
“Filled with tantalizing trivia and fascinating facts, this book will be savored by word loveres everywhere.”
Barbara Wallraff
“Labels for Locals is loaded with surprising, entertaining, and useful tidbits.”
Grant Barrett
“Dickson’s done it again with another book that no classroom or newsroom should be without.”
Booknews
These are the polite versions. Most are the standard English form such as Costa Rican and Grand Forker. Also includes nicknames such as Hoosier (Indiana) and Hogtowner (Toronto) and some foreign terms, especially Spanish and French. Lists both places and names, and traces the origin of many of the unusually terms. Well cross-referenced. No index. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060881641
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/15/2006
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.12 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Dickson has written eight bat and ball books (one on softball, seven on baseball) and is working on the third edition of his Dickson Baseball Dictionary, as well as a new work, The Unwritten Rules of Baseball. He also writes narrative 20th century American history and compiles word books. He lives in Garrett Park, Maryland, with his wife, Nancy.

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Read an Excerpt

Labels for Locals

What to Call People from Abilene to Zimbabwe
By Paul Dickson

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 Paul Dickson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 006088164X

Chapter One

A

@. Common typographic symbol, which is commonly called the "at sign," reinforced by its use in e-mail addresses. It has now been given a new significance as a nongendered ending to such terms as Chicano/Chicana, Latino/Latina. For instance, the University of Wisconsin at Madison offers a certificate program in "Chican@ and Latin@ Studies." Thus far the drawback to this innovation is that there appears to be no way to pronounce Chican@.

Aaland Islands, Finland. Aalander.

Abilene, Texas. Abilenian.

Abkhazia. Abkhasian. Region of the Russian Caucasus that is formally an autonomous republic within Georgia but is de facto independent. The demonym also refers to a small ethnic group living within the area and distinct from the Georgians.

Aberdeen, Scotland. Aberdonian. Residents of Aberdeen, Washington, and Aberdeen, South Dakota, use the same demonym.

Aborigine. One of several names for first inhabitants of a country along with native and aboriginal. The word aboriginal means "from the original" (Latin: ab origine) and is a generic word for any group of people whohave descended from the first people of a continent or region. Indigenous people also have variously been referred to as "natives," "Aborigines," and "Aboriginals." The term is routinely applied in many nations to noncolonial people with the notable exception of the United States. Taiwan, for instance, recognizes twelve aboriginal tribes, which, among other things, since June 2005 have their own aboriginal television channel.

In Australia, where the term has been used most commonly, it is now defined by the cultural values, rather than physical appearance. An Aboriginal person is someone who has some Aboriginal biological descent, who identifies as Aboriginal, and who is accepted as Aboriginal by an Aboriginal organization.

"Indigenous person" is now the officially agreed upon term for the country's first inhabitants and refers to anyone of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander ancestry who identifies as such.

Many indigenous Australians prefer to be referred to by their local group names, such as Western Australia's Nyoongar, Wongi, and Yamitji people and the Koori people of southeastern Australia.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Emirian.

Abyssinia. Abyssinian.

Acadia. Acadian. Acadia was the earlier name for Nova Scotia. Today the term Acadian applies to all French Canadians in the Maritime Provinces of Canada. There is a Center for Acadian Studies in New Brunswick and Saint John, New Brunswick, is the site of the annual Acadian Games. A quote from the Boston Globe of July 8, 1996: "They are the other French-Canadians, the Acadians of the Maritime Provinces: devoted to Canada and hostile to Quebec's separatist movement, but passionately committed to keeping francophone culture alive in North America." Acadian is also synonymous with Cajun (q.v.), which denotes a Louisianian of Acadian ancestry and is an alteration of Acadian.

Accident, Maryland. Accidental. This small town is the only place named Accident in the United States, according to the Washington Post (May 5, 1985).

Accra, Ghana. Although one would expect the term for a resident of this capital city to be Accran, it is listed as Gas in the demonymic Liverpudlian published by the Marquis Biographical Library Society.

Ada, Oklahoma. Adan.

Adrian, Michigan. Adrianite.

Afghanistan (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan); formerly Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. Afghan. The term Afghanistaner has appeared in print, but it is a rarity without wide support. A demonstrator at a rally in 1987 for Oliver North (then under fire for his role in the Iran-Contra scandal) was quoted in the November 6, 1987, National Review as asking some anti-North protesters, "When was the last time you went to the Soviet embassy to protest the slaughter of Afghanistaners?" The adjective is either Afghani ("U.S. Soldier, Three Afghanis Are Killed" headline in Tulsa World, October 11, 2005) or Afghan.

A curious derivative of Afghanistan is a word that has a long history in the newspaper business: Afghanistanism. Since before World War II it has denoted an excessive interest in foreign affairs, or as Turner Catledge, former executive editor of the New York Times, explained in 1980, "the coverage of far-off places at the expense of local news." Murry Marder of the Washington Post was quoted in the same article (San Francisco Examiner, January 27, 1980; Tamony Collection) with this definition: "writing about a place or subject so offbeat, that nobody knows if you're right or wrong." The term seems to have lost its relevance after Soviet troops moved into Afghanistan in late 1979.

Africa. African. At one point Afric was a common adjective, but it has been displaced by African. Interesting derivatives include Africana for African lore and culture ("He was stuffed, crammed, chock full of Africana," wrote Robert Ruark in The Honey Badger), and Africanist for one who studies African languages and cultures or who forges a strong bond with the continent. (David Robinson, son of baseball great Jackie Robinson, was quoted in the August 6, 1987, Houston Chronicle as saying, "My father was not a great Africanist.")

In late 1988 the Reverend Jesse Jackson announced that African American was what a large number of black Americans preferred to be called (62 percent of the respondents to a call-in survey conducted by the Chicago Sun-Times said they preferred that name to black). It was argued that the term suggested roots in the manner of parallel terms like Chinese American and Italian American.

Aggie. Student or graduate of Texas A&M University in College Station. Female students and alumnae are sometimes called Maggies. Though Aggies is what A&M students call themselves, the term is used derogatorily in the context of a never-ending series of "Aggie jokes" that depict the A&M student as hopelessly inept--for example, "Did you hear about the Aggie who lost his job as an elevator operator? He couldn't learn the route." Texas writer C. F. Eckhardt adds that there is also a geographical aspect to this term: "Anyone from a fifty mile radius of Bryan and College Station is automatically an Aggie, from Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Texas A&M University), which started as a cow college at a whistlestop train station called College Station, down in the blackland of the Brazos [River] bottom."

Continues...


Excerpted from Labels for Locals by Paul Dickson Copyright © 2006 by Paul Dickson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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