Trope-a-Day: Meaningful Name

Meaningful Name: What attributive names are supposed to be, both the self-chosen and the awarded, and what a lot of the subsidiary components of a full name are: persona, patronymic, matronymic, locative, generation, clade, mindstyle, associations, etc. (See also: Luke Nounverber, Names to Run Away From Really Fast (upcoming), Name That Unfolds Like Lotus Blossom (also upcoming), Overly Long Name).  Also seen, at least part of the time, in the naming conventions for ships, habitats, cities…

 

Trope-a-Day: Third-Person Person

(Note: a planet of the day is still coming, albeit not technically today. Just been movieing.)

Third-Person Person: There are a number of languages and cultures in the Associated Worlds that do this.  One notable example is the use of first-third person in Eldraeic, because it lets you cite your attributive name of the moment (see Overly Long Name), and thus reify who you are (or rather, which aspect of yourself you are expressing) right now.

Trope-a-Day: Some Call Me Tim

Some Call Me Tim: They didn’t go to all the trouble of acquiring such an impressive collection of syllables (see: Overly Long Name) to have some git go and shorten them.  Use all of them.

Well, at least, use everything up to and including the attributive name if you aren’t just going to go for the extremely respectful address by name-and-honorific alone.  If you are privileged to use personal or attributive name alone, you’ll be told so.  (And, no, reciprocity cannot be taken as implied, nor can it be extrapolated human-style from relative status.)

But they’ll never tell you a deliberately shortened version of one of those without meaning something by it, and you may not make one up.

Trope-a-Day: Overly-Long Name

Overly-Long Name: Played quite straight among the eldrae, and other people prone to use relevant bits of the same name-format. Fortunately, most of it is optional – of course, that’s optional at the discretion of the name-bearer, so those wishing to use the diplomatic stalling gambit of demanding to be known by all 580 syllables of their name and storming insulted out of the negotiations at the first mispronunciation still have that open.

To cite a relatively mild example:

Miran Esitariel Prime Cyprium-ith-Avalae isil-Claves Linlethar ion-Atiran iel-Calandra mis-Eliera-en-Kiriv Leir

That’s a mere nine components, of which technically only the second, fourth, and sixth are absolutely compulsory, but this nine-component version works nicely on letters and such. The components are:

  • miran: That’s a status indicator, which takes the place of our “Mr.”, etc. Miran means “citizen-shareholder”… well, okay, it means “ordered one”, but that means “citizen-shareholder”; you can also use leran, which, if expanded, would mean “understander of civilities”, and can be glossed “decent chap”, or darav, which simply means “sophont” and implies nothing.  Really hard, sometimes.
  • Esitariel: Personal name. Do not feel free to shorten it. Nicknames work differently here, and that’s an insult that will hurt you.
  • Prime: Persona identifier. This one means that you’re talking to the primary version of a multiply instantiated person, not one of their forks (usually identified by ordinals, and if necessary sub-ordinals and sub-sub-ordinals). More complicated toposophies have their own entire systems that can be used in this place. (Note: Terrans and other primitives that don’t even have backup copies get to insert “Singular” here.)
  • Cyprium-ith-Avalae: Family name – specifically, for eldrae, House-ith-Lineage name. Comes in a few variants – for people who’ve been formally disinherited, for one, or the form for young children (i.e. Cathál i-sered-Ríëlle), which means “of the blood of the House, but not Accepted of the House”.
  • isil-Claves: Spouse’s House-and-Lineage name (and here’s another variant; she gets to abbreviate it in this form because she’s a Claves-ith-Claves), which is reciprocal; they include each others’. If you happen to be married to more than one person, yes, you get to include all of them here. (If this gets too unwieldy, you may include the name of your coadunation marital instead; essentially a company name.)
  • Linlethar: an attributive name (which does the job of formalized nickname, wish-name, title-name, court-name, office-name, child-name, friend-name, pen-name, art-name, field-name, lover’s-name, generalized epithet, and any one of a dozen other things – and who you are right now is indicated by which one you choose to use, by the protocols of valessef). They can also get quite long and flowery. And, depending upon the circumstances, you may include only the most relevant one, all the relevant ones, or simply all of them, of which you may have many, if not lots.
  • ion-Atiran, iel-Calandra: Patronymic and matronymic (“fathered by Atiran, mothered by Calandra”, or if you prefer, “out of Calandra by Atiran”). Traditionally, people preferentially cite the one of their same-sex parent, because equally traditionally they inherited their House and lineage from their opposite-sex parent, but since there’s no guarantee that you’ll have one parent of each sex, or two parents for that matter, it’s not a hard and fast rule; just cite whatever is most useful for identification. And, of course, anyone can cite both if they feel like it. They’re also recursive, so if you want to go back up your lineage to the nth generation, you can do that; just be aware that exponential growth grows exponentially, m’kay?
  • mis-Eliera-en-Kiriv Leir: Loconymic. Identifies the location that you’re associated with – estate, home town, etc. Not necessarily origin – there’s another particle for that, if you want to specify it separately, but this should not be assumed to be the case. It used to be just mis- and a location, but in these days of extensive multiplanetary polities…

And there are lots more optional components. Origin, as mentioned. Species and clade, for the body you’re currently walking around in, which is handy on invitations and RSVPs so people know what environment to expect/you’ll need. Mindstyle (similar to persona, but defines the whole person, not just this instance; usually used together with the persona identifier for those more complex toposophies). Era of personality formation (generation, essentially, and quite handy given how long people can live for). And associations – oh, yes, you can include as lengthy a list of associations as you want: philosophies, branches, corporations, academies, etc., etc.

And we haven’t even started on titles, qualifications, and awards yet…

How much of it you drag out on any particular occasion depends upon relevancy (most importantly), the formality of the occasion (if it’s your debut at the Court of Courts, be prepared to have every last syllable recited, for example), how much of a hurry you’re in, and just how much you want to be able to browbeat your hapless audience with how awesome you are and, for that matter, the terrifying prospect of having to repeat it correctly.

(Also, business cards have hypertext.)

Trope-a-Day: Numbered Homeworld

Numbered Homeworld: Averted.  As we mentioned way back in Naming Your Colony World, inhabited systems generally do get named objects, if only because they’re easier to remember.  Even uncontacted alien homeworlds get names, often a pronounceable transliteration of whatever the local name is, out of some respect for local sensibilities… and ease of memory/reference.

(Yes, this implies that Vonis Prime isn’t really called Vonis Prime…)