Natives of Houston are Houstonians and the people of Dallas are called Dallasites, but by what name do the people of Aldine prefer to be referred? What is the label for locals, or in the words of writer, historian, baseball scholar and word expert, what is Aldine’s “demonym?”
That’s the word Dickson popularized for this concept in his 1990 book What Do You Call a Person From…? A Dictionary of Resident Names. This neologism comes from the Greek roots “demos,” meaning “people or tribe,” and “nym,” meaning “name,” in the same way “neologism” is cobbled together out of the Greek for “new word.”
Demonyms share a root word with democracy, and Dickson sees that as a happy coincidence. In any given locale, if the demonym is to catch on and thrive over time, the people must name themselves.
In a 2006 online chat with fellow word nerds, he put it like this:
“Seems that people create their own demonyms–a term for locale names–so if you are from Indiana you are a Hoosier not an Indianan, or folks from Liverpool call themselves Liverpudlians…[Demonyms] are the epitome of descriptive self-naming rather than a name which is imposed by someone else. When a name is imposed it often runs into resistance from the folks who the name has been attached to.”
And although Aldine is a fairly old place, it seems that there is still no consensus pick for the area’s demonym.
Below, we’ll throw out a few options for your consideration.
First, a quartet nowhere to be found on the Internet: Aldineleños, as in Los Angeleños; Aldinsian, as in Invernessian; Aldinesian, as in Indonesian; and Aldinese, as in Bolognese or Chinese.
Residents of Houston’s Scottish sister city of Aberdeen call themselves Aberdonians, so what about Aldonians? Turns out that’s taken, both by denizens of Altus, Oklahoma and somebody in the Middle East with two Facebook pages for either a soccer club or a boutique, or some combo of both. At any rate, the admin wants us to know that Aldonians are “people who embody love, respect, and integrity, who originate from planet victory.”
Aldiners has a bit of a German feel, like Berliners, Frankfurters, and Dresdeners, and thus conjures up sausages, beer, and lederhosen.
Googling turned up one hit for “Aldinite,” but since that came from my own keyboard last year in the space, we’re not counting it as official. I think I picked it from a single very old usage of “Aldine-ites,” which referred not to the Texas town but the one in Kansas that might well have given ours its name.
And that Kansas name, we believe, ultimately refers back through a once-popular arts and culture magazine called The Aldine, which in turn was inspired by the life and works of Renaissance Venetian printer/scholar Aldus Pius Manutius. One of his contributions to the arts was the creation of italic type, which was first known as Aldinian type in his honor. And that’s the only reference I found to any use of the word “Aldinian.”
Perhaps it would right a historical injustice for locals to call themselves Aldinians, given that the poor man’s enormous contribution to fonts and typeface was taken from him.