National Geographic : 1990 Feb
Gentiles, Demonyms: MAE_ What's in a Name? Residents of New York are New Yorkers, and people who live in Rome are Romans. But Oxford dons are Oxonians, residents of Liver pool are Liverpudlians, folks from Moscow are Muscovites, and those who make their home in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, are Moose Javians. There are some general rules for cre ating such terms, but they are often broken. And, while we're at it, what do you call the words that identify the resi dents of a given place? Because English has no accepted term, Alan Rayburn, a past president of the American Name Society and executive secretary of the Canadian Permanent Committee on Geographi cal Names, tried to invent one. "I tested several terms," says Rayburn, "including 'citonym'-ugh! -but all of them sounded so artificial." Finally, he borrowed a French term: gentile. For example, the gentile for someone from Vancouver is Vancouverite. Writer Paul Dickson, author of a newly published book entitled What Do You Call a Person From .. ?, has coined another term: "demonym," from the Greek demos, the people, and nym, name. Dickson says this denotes the fact that people choose what to call themselves rather than relying on some arbitrary authority to decide for them. He decided to choose demonym after rejecting several other far-ranging possibilities, including "locunym," "urbanym," and "hailfrom." The lat ter, he says, is used as in, "Where do you hail from?" An Ecological Probe of Brazil's Jaguars The Pantanal region of Brazil has been called the Serengeti of South America because of its abundant wildlife. But as tropical forests are cleared for pasture, the amount of wildlife on South America's largest wetland has decreased. To most effectively save an animal, however, government officials, scien tists, and ranchers must know the basics: how much land an animal needs to roam, what it eats, its social organi zation. Supported by the government of Brazil, with the National Geograph ic Society and the New York Zoologi cal Society providing additional funds, George Schaller, Howard Quigley, and Peter Crawshaw have made the first such intensive study of the ecology of Pantanal jaguars. They found that jaguars often share territory with one another, prefer dense forest close to rivers -and sometimes kill cattle. Habitat destruction and hunting may have reduced the number of jag uars to a thousand, in an area the size of Virginia, Quigley says. As their prey is wiped out when forests are cleared, jaguars prey instead on cattle, inciting stock managers to hunt jaguars in IRA BLOCK FRANCISCOERIZE, BRUCECOLEMANINC. return. Quigley says ranchers could try keeping calves away from the forests jaguars prefer-to "keep cattle from becoming box lunches for jaguars." Seeking the Residents of 97 Orchard Street t was an ordinary six-story building, typical of New York City's Lower East Side: The five upper floors each had four tiny apartments. There were minimal amenities, and residents crowded in, as many as 11 to an apart ment. But to millions of immigrants who poured into New York City between the Civil War and the 1930s, buildings like 97 Orchard Street be came stepping-stones to the American dream. Germans, Italians, Irish, Chi nese, free blacks, eastern European Jews - all sought a better life and lived, at least temporarily, in tenements. Built in 1863 and inhabited until 1935, 97 Orchard Street is now home to the Lower East Side Tenement Muse um. The museum is seeking former res idents of 97 Orchard, those who were what founder Ruth J. Abram calls "a piece of the jigsaw puzzle that dotted this small corner of the United States." The museum would like former resi dents, or their descendants, to send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to the museum, 97 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002. They will be asked to tell their stories to help re-create an accurate picture of tenement life. So far, six have been found, including Josephine Baldizzi Esposito and Max Mason (left). Mason moved into 97 Orchard at the age of eight on his first full day in the United States in 1921.