Notes from Newcastle
January 3, 2013
By Christina Corrales-Toy
Newcastleite? Novocastrians? What should city residents call themselves?
People from the United States of America are known as Americans. People from Washington state go by Washingtonians. People from Seattle are Seattleites. But what do people of Newcastle call themselves?
Based on a highly informal survey of Newcastle residents, there doesn’t appear to be a clear consensus when it comes to identifying the people who live in this community.
The exercise is made all the more difficult thanks to the pesky vowel at the end of the city’s name. Sure, Seattle ends with an ‘e’ as well, but Newcastleite just doesn’t roll off of the tongue like Seattleite does. Newcastleans and Newcastleonians don’t sound much better.
Citizens of the original Newcastle, in England, adopted the nickname “Geordies” in a nod to the city’s historical roots. There are several theories behind the identifier’s origin, but one explanation is that the local coal miners used a particular brand of lamp in the mines, called the Geordie safety lamp.
Another popular nickname, used by Newcastles in both England and Australia is Novocastrian. The slick-sounding name is Latin. Novus is new, while castrum is castle in Latin.
I’m particularly fond of the Novocastrian moniker, but I appreciate the original Newcastle’s way of thinking in choosing a name that relates to the city’s history.
If we were to travel down that road, how about something such as Coal Creekers or simply The Miners, to reflect the city’s rich coal-mining history? If we are looking for something that just sounds cool, we could always go with Novocastrian, but another option I like is Newcastlers.
There is so much variety in the Newcastle community. Some residents live closer to Bellevue, others live near Renton. Coal Creek Parkway literally splits the city in half, creating an East and West divide. Even the students are divided among two school districts, Issaquah and Renton.
One simple collective term that encompasses the entire community would go a long way in establishing a clear identity for its residents.
What do you think Newcastle residents should be called? Sound off on our website at www.newcastle-news.com.