Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||Demonyms and Adjectives|
The demonym of Britain is British or Briton. The demonym of England
is English or Englander. What would be the demonym of Albion, an
old name of Britain? Would it be Albionian, Albionese, Albionish, etc.?
How can we determine which is the right one, when it's rarely used?
A lot of U.S. states use its name as an adjective (ex. ''California
government'' instead of ''Californian government''), even when an
adjective could be easily formed. Why is this usage commonplace?
"Albion" is just a poetic name for the island of Great Britain (it may have been an ancient Celtic name for the island, though this is not certain). So the term for someone who lives in Albion is simply "Briton" (as a noun, or "British" as an adjective). There isn't any derived term from the root "Albion" (my authority for saying that is the Oxford English Dictionary, often called "the ultimate court of appeal for the English language").
Incidentally, in standard English as used in England there is no word "Englander" so far as I know (unless you count the phrase Little Englander, but the structure of that is [Little England]-er, not Little [Englander]).
I hesitate to comment about usage relating to American states, not being an American myself, but I would hazard a guess that "California govt" might be regarded as more specific than "Californian govt", in that the former can only be the body which governs California, whereas the latter might refer to some body which governs something within California.
|Reply From:||Geoffrey Richard Sampson click here to access email|