Do you know what a demonym is?
The Oxford dictionary describes a demonym as, "A noun used to denote the natives or inhabitants of a particular country, state, city, etc."
So how does a particular country, state, city etc choose their demonym? "Demonyms happen organically, but are largely determined by the sounds in words," said Darin Flynn, an associate professor of linguistics.
"In the end, when you keep track of all the different sound constraints, you still end up with a variety of choices," said Flynn. "So then it becomes interesting to find out what people see as their default, their go-to one. And that varies from place to place."
If you take a look at the official list compiled by the Public Works and Government Services of Canada you’ll notice Albertan's seem to really like the the suffix - (I)TE. Even though phonetically there could be better options. You’ll also notice Fort McMurray does not have an official demonym listed. Wikipedia also fails to mention Fort McMurray's demonym, as it does other major cities and towns like Edmonton (Edmontonians). Cities ending in E, ER, IE, O & OR tend to use the suffix (I)TE. Whereas cities ending in A, AI & AY tend to use (I)AN.
A quick history on Fort McMurray's name:
Fort McMurray was founded in 1870, Fort McMurray and Waterways amalgamated as the village of McMurray in 1947 then in 1962 the Fort was added back to reflect the city's heritage
Here’s a quick list of English suffixes:
What do you call the people of Fort McMurray? Leave a comment below and let us know!
If you'd like to say “hello:”, be featured on McMurrians or for Speaking requests, media, and pitches: firstname.lastname@example.org