Who is a Woodstonian?
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Aug 27, 2008  |  Vote 0    0

Who is a Woodstonian?

Stratford Gazette

Jim HagartyWandering MindThe newscaster on a radio show last Friday referred to a woman from Woodstock as a "Woodstonian."The word stuck in my brain as I drove to work and I couldn't shake the feeling that something had been left out. What happened, I wondered, to the "ck" in Woodstock? Shouldn't the woman have been a Woodstockonian? Or a Woodstocker? A Woodstockite?This would be the equivalent of calling someone from Stratford a Stratforite or a Stratforonian.It's funny the names we give people from various regions of our country. Of course, Canadians flows fairly well from Canada, although it's a wonder why we don't say "Canadayans" to keep the "a" that occurs after the "d" in our country's name. (Americans have no such problem.) Same with Ontario. What happened to the "o" when we refer to Ontarians? Shouldn't the word be Ontario-ans?When it comes down to it, we don't have many choices when it comes to pegging ourselves by location, a little habit that goes back even  beyond the people of ancient Rome and Egypt. We can add "an" or "er" and in some cases, even "ite." Who decides these things?So, in the "an" column, besides Canadian, we have British Columbian, Albertan, Manitoban, Ontarian, Nova Scotian. On the "er" side of the ledger we have Quebecer (in English terms anyway; the French equivalent is Quebecois), New Brunswicker, Prince Edward Islander and Newfoundlander. What do you do with a name like Saskatchewan? I think you add an "er."Back home, we are, of course, Stratfordites. And surrounding us, I suppose, we have Tavistockers, Milvertonians, Mitchellites, Monktoners, Dubliners, Staffans, Cromartians, Carlingfordites, Listowelers, and Sebringvillers. But are all of these terms in use? Do we hear of Kinkorians, Fullartonians, Bornholmers, Brodhageners, Gadshillites, Rannochites, or Rostockers on any sort of regular basis? Sebastapolers?Are people from Shakespeare simply Shakespeareans? Are New Hamburg residents New Hamburgers? And what is to become of people from towns and villages named after saints? Who is someone from St. Marys? Or St. Pauls?Most distressing of all are those folks from Punkeydoodles Corner. I'll have to phone my old friend Bob Reid to find out what he is. A Punkeydoodler perhaps? And what do you call the people from Harmony? Harmonians, Harmonicas?Ontario is badly in need of a naming commission to approve of the monikers we give ourselves (or some mysterious person gives us). We simply can't go on referring to Woodstonians. Unless, of course, the person comes from a place called Woodst.No, this is getting out of hand and I can see the need for the creation of a 10-person body (all with laptops and bottled water) led by a chair earning $350,000 and using a government helicopter to go to his cottage and a government limousine to take his kids to daycare. Because big potential problems await.As an Albert Street resident, what would happen, for example, if I started referring to myself as anAlbertan? Mayhem. Chaos. This will never do.

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