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How Are the Names of People from Places Decided?

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Gina from Athens, Texas, wonders if there’s any rhyme or reason to the names we give to the denizens of a particular place. There are a few general rules for creating demonyms, the names applied to the denizens of a particular locale. George R. Stewart, a professor at the University of California Berkeley, has written extensively on the topic of municipal onomastics, including the books Names on the Land and American Place Names. But there are so many exceptions to any general rules for how demonyms are formed that your best bet is simply to memorize them. This is part of a complete episode.

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