On Friday at the Saint Al’s Toastmasters Club meeting in Boise, I was the Table Topics Master. (Table Topics is the impromptu speaking portion, where you answer a question in one or two minutes). I reused a topic I have blogged about before in 2013 – What should we call residents of that city? The usual answer is to add suffixes like:
-ans, -eans, -ens, ers, ians, -ites, or -ns
I also told them to consider what we should NOT call them, because it wouldn’t refer to all of the people. (Horseshoe Benders only should refer to blacksmiths). As an example, I said the residents of the southwest Idaho city of Kuna would be called Kunans. Kunanites sounds biblical, perhaps like a prophet had said they needed smiting. Kuns would be a phonetic spelling for Coons, an awful racial slur for black people that wouldn’t apply to Kuna, since it is over 90% white and only 0.6% African American.
I gave participants a choice of two cities in a part of Idaho:
Caldwell or Nampa (southwest)
Idaho Falls or Rexburg (east and north)
Pocatello or Blackfoot (east and central)
Post Falls or Sandpoint (north Panhandle)
Preston or Soda Springs (east and south)
When you are on the spot, this is very hard to do. The man who got Caldwell said they should be known as Caldwellians, although Caldwellers would be a perfect answer.
The man who got Idaho Falls and Rexburg said the latter should be called Rexburgers. You might imagine them as burger kings or queens.
The woman who got Pocatello and Blackfoot said to call them Pocatellians. (Afterword I pointed out that Pocatellers would only be those who worked behind the counter in banks).
The man who got Sandpoint said, of course they are Sandpointers, and extended his arm and finger to point like the breed of gun dog known as a Pointer. He said they get trained to do this at age two - which had us all laughing.
The woman who got Preston and Soda Springs said the latter are Soda Springers. Preston is where the 2004 cult comedy film Napoleon Dynamite was made. (The title character is a high school nerd with curly hair and a dazed expression).
People from Preston could be called Prestoners, Prestonians, or Prestonites. Prestoners can be read as Pre-Stoners. Prestonians could be mis-spelled Prestonions, and then read as Prest-onions. Prestonites is OK, but sounds like a nasty mineral that would press on a superhero and slow them down.
Grant Wood’s American Gothic painting came from Wikimedia Commons.