The People of Santiago.

I was stopped in my tracks at the very beginning of Jon Lee Anderson’s New Yorker article on Chile’s new president:

February in Santiago, the capital of Chile, is like August in Paris: the end of summer, when everyone who can afford a vacation escapes for a last gasp of freedom. Many santiaguinos go to the nearby Pacific beaches, or to the chilly lakes in the south.

I was struck by santiaguinos, so I turned to my trusty Diccionario de gentilicios y topónimos (see this LH post) and found that, sure enough, that’s the name for people from Santiago de Chile. The reason it sounded odd to me is that people from Santiago del Estero in Argentina (the country where I went to high school) are called santiagueños, as are those from the Santiagos in Ecuador and Panama. But someone from Santiago in Cuba or the Dominican Republic is a santiaguero, while an inhabitant of Santiago de Compostela in Spain is santiagués. Just to mix things up, someone from Santiago de Cacem in Portugal is mirobrigense, while a person from Santiago Millas in Spain is a maragato. Gentilicios are complicated, but I love ’em!

A side note: people mock the New Yorker’s fossilized diereses in words like coöperation and their Anglophilic preference for got as the past participle of get, but I shrug those off as charming quirks; the article’s “biographies of Chilean Presidents,” however, seriously bothers me. President, like other titles, should be capitalized before a name (President Joe Biden) but not otherwise. I deprecate this folderol!

Comments

  1. The same sometimes happens in English, though with fewer variants:

    Racineite < Racine (Wisconsin).

    Racinian < Racine (Missouri).

  2. The diversity and flair of global Spanish is a lot of fun.

    This sort of weirdness exists in English to some extent, if not as colorful. Residents of York are Yorkies, but people who live in the Big Apple are New Yorkers. A resident of Manchester England is a Mancunian. A resident of Manchester, NH is just “a resident of Manchester”, likewise people from Plymouth England are Plymothians but people from Plymouth NH are just people from Plymouth (as far as I know – I grew up in central New Hampshire and have never heard anyone use a demonym in real life). My impression is that demonyms aren’t particularly popular in American English for smaller towns and cities, they strike Americans as kind of affected or jocular. Maybe because most Americans don’t have deep multigenerational roots in their towns?

  3. I sometimes see Angelinos for residents of Los Angeles in California. It brings out the worst cane-shaking, kids-expelling-from-lawn instincts.

  4. “Giving Mancunians and Arkansawyers a run for their money in the demonym stakes, the area’s residents are known as the Picto-Charentais.”

  5. Amanda Adams says

    I’m a Seattlite. But maybe people nowadays aren’t…

  6. Stu Clayton says

    Hola Amanda, what’s cookin’ ?

  7. David Marjanović says

    Compostelo

    Compostela.

    Angelinos

    I think I’ve seen that, but far less often than Angelenos.

    they strike Americans as kind of affected or jocular.

    Maybe because most of them are Latinate.

    German ones all use -er.

  8. Compostela.

    Fixed, thanks! (I obviouslo copied the vowol of Santiago.)

  9. I had some trouble figuring out how to spell Angelino on a crossword last week. I’m not sure what answer ultimately was right.

  10. “German ones all use -er.”
    Yeah, and as JFK once said, we’re all hamburgers — but seriously, are people from Hamburg calling themselves something else these days?

  11. @Eduardo: You mean jelly doughnuts. (My father says that in 1950s Chicago, they were sometimes also called “jelly bismarcks.”)

  12. David Marjanović says

    — but seriously, are people from Hamburg calling themselves something else these days?

    No, they just pronounce it in German, while hamburgers keep more or less English vowels in German and are not associated with Hamburg at all anymore.

    The jelly doughnuts-without-a-hole are called Pfannkuchen in Berlin. I don’t know how they call actual pancakes.

  13. William A Boyd says

    Then there’s the old dilemma: Chihuahueño vs. Chihuahuense.

  14. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

    Despite being in Chile many times, I don’t remember ever encountering either of the demonyms. However, I asked my wife (who is Santiaguina) and she said yes, both terms are used, exactly as you say in your post — Santiaguino in Chile and Santiagueño in Argentina.

  15. Whereas natives of Galway and Galloway are both Galwegians

  16. Angeleno is properly Angeleño.

  17. If by “properly” you mean “in Spanish.”

  18. In which case the name of the city is properly Los Ángeles.

  19. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a ñ pronunciation, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been to L. A., and I mostly interacted with Anglos and foreigners when I was last there.

  20. I’ve seen “Angeleño” in English, though perhaps a good while ago, when people had rôles. At any rate, it explains the spelling of “Angeleno.”

  21. John Jaques says

    The good folks of Le Grand Lemps ici en France are known as Lempsiquois or Lempsiquoise. And yet Grand Lemps is pronounced Gron Lahnz, or something like that.

  22. Angeleno is properly Angeleño.

    The latter is the word I am familiar with, but I mostly interact with NPR listeners.

  23. I’ve never heard it in English, and I went to college at Occidental.

  24. And the people of Smithers, British Columbia call themselves Smithereens.

    (Oops! Do I repeat myself?)

  25. David Marjanović says

    Angeleño

    Ah, I was wondering.

  26. To clarify, “Angeleño” in English was already pronounced “Andjeleeno.” Again, back when I were a lad and people could have a façade of naïveté.

  27. Born and raised in Buenos Aires, my recollection is that people from Santiago del Estero were called Santiagüeños, not Santiagueños — but it was many many many years ago, so my memory may be faulty (and leaky and all those nice things that come with age)

  28. To clarify, “Angeleño” in English was already pronounced “Andjeleeno.”

    Then it was Angeleno, not Angeleño, ¿no es así? I don’t recall seeing the written form Angeleño in an English context either.

  29. Stuart Clayton says

    The most important ñ is in chile (j/x)alapeño and its synonym chile cuaresmeño. Lent is a breeze in Mexico.

  30. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

    There is an important ñ in the Spanish resort of Peñíscola. Spell it with ni and you could be accused of indelicacy.

  31. Stuart Clayton says

    It would even be pleonastically indelicate. Sort of. I mean a pene is a penis, right ? And a cola is a Schwanz.

  32. Obviously Valencian is not afraid of being accused of indecency, as there is no tilde in the Valencian form Peníscola.

  33. “Born and raised in Buenos Aires, my recollection is that people from Santiago del Estero were called Santiagüeños, not Santiagueños”.

    These are the relevant senses of Spanish santiagueño in the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy:

    3. adj. Natural de Santiago de la Espada, pueblo de la provincia de Jaén, en España. U. t. c. s.

    4. adj. Natural de Santiago del Estero, ciudad o provincia de la Argentina. U. t. c. s.

    5. adj. Natural de Santiago, cabecera de la provincia de Veraguas, en Panamá. U. t. c. s.

    6. adj. Natural de Santiago, ciudad del departamento de Misiones, en el Paraguay. U. t. c. s.

    7. adj. Perteneciente o relativo a Santiago de la Espada, a Santiago del Estero, a Santiago, en Panamá y el Paraguay, o a los santiagueños.

    The dictionary does not list santiagüeño.

    Possibly, the form you remember exists but is not standard.

    —–

    “as JFK once said, we’re all hamburgers ”

    The story that JFK’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” means only ‘I’m a doughnut’
    has been disproven (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ich_bin_ein_Berliner). The sentence also means ‘I’m a Berliner’ and was so understood by his germanophone audience on that occasion.

  34. David Marjanović says

    The good folks of Le Grand Lemps ici en France are known as Lempsiquois or Lempsiquoise. And yet Grand Lemps is pronounced Gron Lahnz, or something like that.

    French demonyms often go deep into etymology. The adjective to Montceau-les-Mines (I haven’t looked up if that’s the demonym, too) is montcellien.

    Grand Lemps has the same vowel twice, and no [z] usually.

  35. The story that JFK’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” means only ‘I’m a doughnut’
    has been disproven […]. The sentence also means ‘I’m a Berliner’ and was so understood by his germanophone audience on that occasion.

    As seen here in 2005.

  36. David Marjanović says

    The jelly doughnuts-without-a-hole are called Pfannkuchen in Berlin. I don’t know how they call actual pancakes.

    Ah, Eierkuchen. As in Friede, Freude, Eierkuchen ~ “happily ever after”.

  37. marie-lucie says

    David M; The good folks of Le Grand Lemps ici en France are known as Lempsiquois or Lempsiquoise. And yet Grand Lemps is pronounced Gron Lahnz, or something like that.

    What a strange name, where is the place? The name looks like it should be Grand Temps ‘or Gros Temps ‘stormy weather (especially at sea)’

    About the pronunciation of the nasal vowels, indeed they “should” be the same, but it is likely that the presence of the uvular in Grand causes the -an to be rising and rounding (a general tendency in contemporary speech – not mine, because I still speak like when I was much younger, having little contact now with the general French population).

    French demonyms often go deep into etymology.

    With Montceau / Montcellier, the etymology is not far to find, as derivational suffixes in -eau and -ell- are quite common, as in beau / belle, nouveau / nouvelle and many others.

    But in many cases, the demonym is not derived from the current name, but from a known or reconstituted Latin ancestor (probably dating from Roman or medieval times, and sometimes preserved in old official documents then kept in Latin). As a result, the demonym can be very different from the name, as in Saint-Etienne (a city on the Rhône river), inhabited by les Stéphanois.

    One demonym which is not a Latinate name but an obviously French one is Bellifontain for an inhabitant of Fontainebleau (originally “fontaine – belle-eau”, a small town South of Paris with a vast forest maintained for many centuries, first as a royal hunting preserve, now mostly for hiking.

  38. >The most important ñ is in chile (j/x)alapeño

    Which is also a demonym, Xalapeño, a native of Xalapa. (Editing – resident, that is.)

  39. The new issue of Studia lexicographica has an interesting article (written in English) about this phenomenon in Croatian:
    https://hrcak.srce.hr/clanak/404364

    There is also some discussion in the article about the local names v official names. This sort of thing doesn’t occur in English, because local names tend to be used.
    What is the situation in the Spanish speaking world?

  40. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

    What a strange name, where is the place?

    According to Google Maps Le Grand-Lemps is about half way between Lyon and Grenoble.

    [Fontainebleau is …] a small town South of Paris with a vast forest maintained for many centuries, first as a royal hunting preserve, now mostly for hiking.

    Not to mention a Royal Palace. Foreign tourists go there mainly for the palace. I don’t suppose most of them know about the hiking possibilities, though French visitors do, of course. My daughter used to go there every day for work.

  41. @mollymooly: “Whereas natives of Galway and Galloway are both Galwegians.”

    What is your evidence for Galwegian ‘native and/or resident of Galloway’?

    The OED online distinguishes:

    Gallovidian < Galloway (Scotland)
    and
    Galwegian < Galway (Ireland).

    By he way, a Galwegian may informally be called a Tribesman or Tribeswoman.

  42. nls.uk has 27 ghits each for Gallovidian and Galwegian. Perhaps the latter is obsolescent or historical or otherwise in complementary distribution rather than free variation with the former.

    Having a Latinate demonym may be a subtle boast that a place was, if not founded by the Romans, then at least discussed in the learned tomes of pre-modern scholars.

  43. Peter Erwin says

    @languagehat
    I don’t recall seeing the written form Angeleño in an English context either.

    Yeah, I don’t either, and I’m a native Angeleno.

    (The Mirriam-Webster dictionary site does give “or less commonly: Angelino”, though I’ve never seen that version, either.)

  44. “Angeleno is properly Angeleño.”

    English names of places outside Anglophonia rtend to lose the diacritics of their etymons, as in:

    German Zürich > English Zurich.

    Spanish montaña ‘mountain’ > English Montana.

    Likewise with respect to English derivatives of names of places.

    Spanish angeleño > English Angeleno is therefore expected.

    So too is capitalization, as just illustrated.

    In general, when a linguistic form passes from one language to another, it becomes subject to the dynamics of the receiving language, which may be different from those of the source language.

  45. Lars Mathiesen says

    Dropping or respelling (canyon) accented letters is normal. Danish just spells facade and bearnaise, for instance. (And you just have to deal with the unexpected /s/ sound of c before a).

    The fun starts when they are added to be fancy: Münster cheese, Habañero peppers.

  46. “It’s like a pair of eyes. You’re looking at the umlaut, and it’s looking at you.”

  47. Lars Mathiesen says

    TIL that Münster can be taken as a restoration or retention. Munster in Alsace used to be Münster im Elsaß, so I can imagine two camps of peeving foodies fighting over which of the names to use in US English for a variety that was probably introduced before 1871.

    FWIW, the USFDA has a Standard of Identity for “munster” or “muenster” cheese, now generic names in the US, under CFR 21.I.B.130.160.

  48. Rodger C says

    “Habañero peppers” is simply a mistake. Peppers from La Habana are Habaneros. I blame contamination from compañero, a word typically encountered early in Spanish language courses.

  49. PlasticPaddy says

    I hope no one accidentally lights up a pepper or eats a puro…

  50. J.W. Brewer says

    I had frankly never thought much about the etymology of that cheese, so it is news to me that (per wikipedia) “Its name is not related to the German cities of Münster in Westphalia or in Lower Saxony or the Irish province of Munster, but rather to the city of Munster in Alsace, which was part of Germany at the time the cheese was introduced in the US by German immigrants, but is currently in France.”

  51. Stu Clayton says

    but is currently in France.

    “Currently” is a tad ominous. “Now” would have done nicely.

  52. Lars Mathiesen says

    We can’t use too many short words and make Wikipedia easy to read, now is it?

  53. David Marjanović says

    About the pronunciation of the nasal vowels, indeed they “should” be the same, but it is likely that the presence of the uvular in Grand causes the -an to be rising and rounding (a general tendency in contemporary speech –

    I’ve noticed an getting very close to on, but I thought that was unconditional. I’ll have to pay attention at the next opportunity…

  54. Trond Engen says

    I went to Fontainebleau in 2001 neither for the castle, nor for hiking, nor for work, but for my sister’s wedding reception. It was held at a cottage-y restaurant at the edge of the forest.

  55. John Jaques says

    marie-lucie

    Le Grand Lemps is a village in Isère near our previous residence in Izeaux. A person there is a Uzelot or Uzelote.

  56. January First-of-May says

    “Habañero peppers” is simply a mistake. Peppers from La Habana are Habaneros. I blame contamination from compañero, a word typically encountered early in Spanish language courses.

    That could be part of it, but AFAIK the usual explanation is contamination from jalapeño.

  57. That was my second thought. At any rate, as you say, they’re not mutually exclusive.

  58. the latinate mode of demonyms is alive and well in parts of the u.s., including where i grew up, which remains full of cantabri(d)gians (but never cantabs).

    yiddish has contrasting demonyms (on some scales) for jewish and non-jewish residents of places, but not with any consistent system for marking them:

    a פּאָליאַנער / polyaner is a polish jew, while a פּאָליאַק / polyak is their goyish neighbor – but a ליטװאַק / litvak is a lithuanian jew (in the yiddish sense of ‘lithuania’, which roughly corresponds to the grand duchy’s mid-14thC borders), while a ליטװינער / litviner is the term for lithuanian non-jews.

    regardless, the terms for jews are more about geography (with strong implications of being part of the regional jewish cultural community) and citizenship, while the terms for non-jews are more about ethnicity/nationality (in all of its pre/early-modern fuzziness as a category). a catholic polish-speaker from vilne/vilnius or minsk during the heyday of the Rzeczpospolita is probably going to be described as a polyak, not a litviner or vaysruslander, while a jew from either city would simply be a litvak.

  59. Trond Engen says

    rozele: cantabri(d)gians (but never cantabs)

    Cantabridge. Never could.

  60. Obligatory reference: https://youtu.be/vavh4r6n7KY

    Plan Z, the greatest Chilean comedy show in my opinion.

  61. Heh. Nice one!

  62. The Crimson used Cantabs. It sounds awful to me and I couldn’t bring myself to say it. My introduction to it was a headline about “Cantab Thinclads.” I had no idea what it meant, and parsed the second word as thinc-lads. Apparently the editors consider cross-country runners thinly clad.

  63. Greg Price says

    Are there any examples of Latinate demonyms in the US *other* than “Cantabrigian” and its variants? That’s the only one I’ve ever seen.

    … OK, I guessed one other and Google finds a number of examples of its usage: “Oxonian” for Oxford, Mississippi. (Search for [oxonian mississippi].) So it’s used in college towns that are named after the two most famous English college towns, the two that themselves have Latinate demonyms many educated Americans recognize.

    But that might be it. I tried a couple of other US cities known for their fancy old colleges, and found nothing: for example, “Novoportian” is completely unknown to Google. (A shame – it’d be a fun word to say.)

  64. I never remember hearing “Cantabridgian” except as a joke.

  65. David Eddyshaw says

    It does sometimes turn up in the UK as a serious word for someone/something from the real Cambridge.

  66. Juanma Barranquero says

    “a person from Santiago Millas in Spain is a maragato”

    True, indeed. But that’s just because Santiago Millas is part of an area (a subdivision of the province of León) called “La Maragatería” (~15,000 hab.)

    The demonym is not specific of people from Santiago Millas (<350 hab.)

  67. I asked a friend who has lived most of his life in the Boston area, except a couple years at Oxford, about Cantabridgian. He said he’d heard it in England, but not, so far as he could recall, over here—and he went to a Latin high school (although it was Roxbury, not Cambridge Rindge and Latin).

  68. January First-of-May says

    Cantabridge. Never could.

    The Latin form must have been fixed sometime partway through the transition from Grantabridge to Cambridge. (The river is still called Granta, though the part that goes through Cambridge had been renamed to Cam.)

    [Granta and Cam previously on LH, with a mention of Cantabrigian [sic]. AFAICT we never discussed Grantabridge on LH – other than briefly in that thread – and I forgot where I first came across that wonderful etymology.]

Speak Your Mind

*