When was the last time you had someone from out-of-town ask you: 'Hey, what is the proper demonym  for Yakima?' Yeah, nobody has ever asked me that question either. Well, not exactly that question. However, a recent transplant to our fair valley did ask it this way: 'Is it Yakimanians? Yakimites? Yakimanites?'

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Feeling the weight of responsibility to answer correctly, I gave my new friend a combination answer. First, at the risk of sounding like John Ratzenberger's "Cliff Clavin" character from 'Cheers', I offered the facts on the subject.

The late American Historian and Author, George R. Stewart, is widely credited with assembling a rubric for determining how to identify people by place names. Some we know instinctively but there truly is both a rhyme and a reason behind it.

There may have been more, but here are 7 Rules to consider:

  1. Add -n to a place name ending in -a or -ia (Yakiman, Californian). Yep. Yakimans!
  1. Add -an to a place name ending in -i or sounding like -e (Hawaiian, Boisean).
  1. Add -ian to a place name ending in -on (Washingtonian, Oregonian).
  1. Change -y to -i and add -an to a place name ending in -y (Kentuckian).
  1. Add -an to a place name ending in -o (Chigagoan).
  1. Add -ite or -er to a place name ending in a consonant or a silent -e (Marylander, Seattleite).
  1. Delete -s and add -tan to a place name ending in -polis (Annapolitan, for Annapolis).

Before his eyes glossed over and he began to search for an excuse to change the subject, I offered my PERSONAL CHOICE for what we Yakimans SHOULD be called. And that is 'YAKIMANIACS'. Crazy huh? I think it's quite a bit more fun to say and really, aren't we all just 'nuts' about living here?

John Riggs, Townsquare Media
John Riggs, Townsquare Media


Perhaps we could replace that 'Palm Springs of Washington' sign with something like:

'Welcome to Yakima, Washington. Home of the YAKIMANIACS You'd be crazy to leave!'

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