Not demonic nymphsA Demonym, I learnt1, is a word that denotes the members of a people or the inhabitants of a place. Like Indian, the French, Quebecois and so on.
This gives me a name for a problem I have been grappling with for many years. The problem is: what are demonyms for Indian states? How do I describe myself as a member of an Indian state without bringing linguistic identity into it?
Since many of our states have their political origins on a linguistic basis (Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra etc.), most people in a state are likely to speak the dominant language of the region. But (especially in urban India), you will find people whose mother tongue is both pink and different from the local flavour, but still feel attached to the local state. But how do you describe yourself thus without being concurrently thought to be of the local tongue? I could say (and I do at times) I'm a "Maharastrian", but I would find it hard to do so in many other states for I do not know the appropriate demonym to do so. The son-of-soil type politicians might find it hard to intuitively believe, but some of us occasionally feel a need for this too.
1. Thanks to the Language Log article on Bush and the "Hezbollians".