“So, do you call yourself a Coloradan now? Is that how you say it?”
I had only just moved to Colorado in 2011, when a friend from California asked me this question. And I remember that I whispered back to her (yes, whispered, in the likely case that the natives were listening) into the phone that I was pretty sure it was Coloradan. I thought it was. But I could be wrong. Come to think of it, Coloradoan sounded good, too. For the love, which am I now, a Coloradan or a Coloradoan?! I’d ask someone to confirm, I told her. Because I needed to know this, so I needed to research. But, months went by and I didn’t research. So I never knew.
As the years have passed, the question has come up on a few occasions in not-entirely certain conversations among friends, and on other occasions I’ve noted the esteemed title mentioned with, still, a bit of an upward-rising inflection and a subtle ambiguous question mark.
People aren’t totally sure. So, a quick ask of Google, and here is the answer.
The late Ed Quillen, prolific writer and columnist for The Denver Post, gifted his readers in 2007 a brief lesson in linguistics that cleared the whole mess up, once and for all. And as far as I can tell, no one disputes the conclusion, because, well, there isn’t anything to dispute.
We are Coloradans.
In his exercise in etymology, Quillen simply explains that, generally, if the name of a place ends in the letter “o” and is of Spanish origin, then you drop the “o” before adding the letters “an”. The word Colorado is from the Spanish words for “colored red”, so following the rule, the “o” has got to go. For derivations other than Spanish, one would keep the “o” and also add “an”.
We are all Coloradans. Shout it out, and shout it loud.