Are We 'Bay Areans'? Professor Lederer Discusses Regional Demonyms

Friday, February 23, 2018
BRINKWIRE -- “As a lifetime resident, I call myself a ‘Daly City resident,'” city clerk K. Annette Hipona said in an email. There’s no official demonym for Fremont, either, according to two city spokespeople. That’s partly a morphological problem, said Jenny Lederer, assistant professor of linguistics at San Francisco State University. English has few suffixes that sound natural when attached to a word like “city.” But demonyms are more than the sum of their syllables, she said. They also signify a unique sense of community among locals. “Exactly what characterizes a region, such that you can be from there?” Lederer said. “Are the places that have demonyms places … well-known enough in the US or the world, such that it would make sense that we would talk about that place as an identity term?”