NAMES OF TOWN INHABITANTS: the irregular and the most unusual

The inhabitants of a place, a region, a province, a country, a continent, by reference to the place where they live or where they come from are called Gentiles. A gentile is thus synonymous with the name of inhabitants while an ethnonym is synonymous with the name of a people.

The term gentilé is attested in French since 1752 and comes from Latin nice nomen which corresponds to the surname among the Romans.

According to the typographical conventions of French:

  • the gentile strictly speaking takes a capital letter (" The Greeks ");
  • the adjective corresponding to the gentile does not take a capital letter (" a Breton puck ");
  • the language name (or glottonym) also takes the lowercase (" Born Basque, I speak Basque ").

The most common gentile-forming suffixes are in French:

  • -ain (e) (s) or -in (e) (s) (che) : especially for towns and districts and sometimes for regions.
  • -ais (e) (s) : for cities and countries.
  • -ien (ne) (s)-in (e) (s) or -ean (ne) (s) : especially for countries but also cities
  • -ois (e) (s) : mainly used for the oldest towns and villages. It is common in Quebec (more than half of the gentiles) as well as in Switzerland and Belgium.

Gentiles corresponding to compound toponyms are most often irregular in French.

Cities Gentile male (female)
Agde Agathois (e)
Aix en Provence Aixois, Aquisextain (e)
Aix les Bains Aix (e)
Albi Albigeois (e)
Amiens Amiénois (e)
Angers Anjou (e)
Angoulême Angoumoisin (e)
Annecy Annecien (do)
Arles Arles (do)
Arras Arrageois (e)
Likewise Auscitain (e)
Bar-le-Duc Barisien (do)
Bayeux baiocasses
Beaugency Balgentien (do)
Béziers Biterrois (e)
Biarritz Biarrot (e)
Blois Blois (e)
Bobigny Balbignien (do)
Bordeaux Bordeaux (e)
Bourg-en-Bresse / Bourg-la-Reine Burgien (ne) / Reginaburgien
Bourges Berruyer (AD)
Brive-la-Gaillarde Briviste
Briey Briotin (e)
Cahors Cadurcien (do)
Chamonix Chamoniard (e)
Charleville-Mezieres Carolomacérien (do)
Château-Gontier Castrogontérien (do)
Châteauroux Castleroussin (e)
Château-Thierry Castelthéodoricien (do)
La Ciotat Ciotaden (do)
Clermond-Ferrand Clermontois (e)
Corbeil-Essonnes Corbeilesssonnois (e)
Coulommiers Columérien (do)
Créteil Cristolien (do)
Dax Dacquois (e)
The Dévoluy Dévolusien (do)
Dieulouard Scarponais (e)
Doue-la-Fontaine Douessin (e)

Article continued, page 2

Leave a comment