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#1 User is offline   Shinkansen 

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Posted 30 January 2011 - 04:00 PM

I've been thinking about D'ni names, specifically surnames, because the D'ni don't seem to have them.

In Earth cultures, surnames serve to, among other things, distinguish oneself from other people with the same given name*.

D'ni characters in the Mystverse are known only by their first names. Now, this is a little strange for the D'ni, who are a society for with a very very long history of bureaucratic tradition, ie they've been making records and the like for thousands of years. One would think that they would have something to tell themselves apart.

Because of some dialogue from Atrus in Book of D'ni (he introduces himself as Atrus, son of Gehn, grandson of Aitrus and Anna), I want to think that the D'ni had a patronymic naming system, which would fit with what we know about D'ni society. Under a system like this, Aitrus would be Aitrus Kahlisson (or the D'ni equivalent), his son would be Gehn Aitrusson, then Atrus Gehnson, Achenar Atrusson, and so on, while any daughters would probably be something like Yeesha Atrusdaughter.

Of course, its possible that there would be other types of surnames in use, like occupational names, or location names, but patronymics seem the most likely.

However, among the highest levels of D'ni society, family relations might just be as important as who your parents are, so there might be another set of names showing your connection to a powerful or historical family.
Going back to Book of Ti'ana for examples, Veovis' family seems to be the equivalent of D'ni aristocracy; they live in a massive palace in the middle of the lake, while more 'common' Guild families like Aitrus' live on Ae'gura. Veovis is an only child, and it's possible that the Veovis family has been only children going way back, but even two children can eventually lead to many sets of distant cousins after only a few generations. For families like Veovis', they might use their ancestral home as another name, much like many European noble families used their first castle as their name. So, Veovis' 'full' name might be something like Veovis Rakerison of K'veer, or however you say that in D'ni.

*Speaking of which, there don't seem to be that many duplicate names in the Mystverse. We've got a couple of Kings who've shared names with other characters, such as Kedri or Rakeri, but most people have names that show up only once. I'd like to think that names like Gan, Emen, or Jiladis are more common than things like Yf'jerrej or Loshemanesh, but it's possible that most names are fairly well used. Another thing is we've never seen anyone else named Kerath or Ahleshandar or Ri'neref, which one would think would be fairly popular. Well, maybe not Ahleshandar, but I hope my point's clear.

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Posted 30 January 2011 - 04:57 PM

Well, there was the whole Ro'Jethhe, Ro'Whatever thing, which the D'ni very well could have had and it just deteriorated over time if people had fairly small social circles. That would imply, as you said, either a family or household naming system. Sort of a "of the Jethhe house" sort of thing. It could even be that in official records this system still was used up until the fall and it just wasn't present in common speach.

#3 User is offline   Lostthyme 

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Posted 30 January 2011 - 05:02 PM

Interesting theories. They make sense considering the D'ni. I know I've always just gone along with them introducing themselves as Atrus, son of Gehn and so forth. It's reminiscent of the people from Middle Earth, in a way.

#4 User is offline   AaronAKAAtrus 

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Posted 30 January 2011 - 05:37 PM

I always liked Loshemanesh, and Yf' just... :blink:
I agree with the patrtarchal, much like Hebrew names. For example, Atrus ben Gehn (although in modern cases a alternative Hebrew name has been used for people who don't have one as their actual name).

#5 User is offline   Talashar 

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Posted 30 January 2011 - 07:32 PM

The books give me the impression that rank and guild played a very large role in identification. (Consider also Aitrus's map, with Telooknahvah Gahrten 'Surveyors Guild Master Garten' and Telookahm Aytrus 'Surveyors Guildsman Aitrus').

It's too bad that we know so little about the lower levels of D'ni society.

#6 User is offline   Gehn, lord of ages 

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Posted 30 January 2011 - 10:52 PM

View PostTalashar, on 30 January 2011 - 07:32 PM, said:

The books give me the impression that rank and guild played a very large role in identification. (Consider also Aitrus's map, with Telooknahvah Gahrten 'Surveyors Guild Master Garten' and Telookahm Aytrus 'Surveyors Guildsman Aitrus').

It's too bad that we know so little about the lower levels of D'ni society.

And Tel Navah Kadish (sp?). I think people in the guilds really focused on name (and maybe being a slightly smaller group of people, they didn't repeat too much?) and then Guild association and rank.

#7 User is offline   Koena 

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Posted 24 May 2011 - 03:09 AM

It seems that D'ni indeed focused on single names. Since there are no surnames it seems that ambiguity was prevented at least with several non-standard workarounds, perhaps with help by the bureaucrats. You could always disambiguate with a patronymic or mention of your Guild ("Hi, I am Aitrus son of Kahlis. Oh no, I am not that 'Aitrus son of Kahlis' aka 'Aitrus of the Surveyors'. I am the 'Aitrus of the Mechanists' one!").

Perhaps the bureaucrats helped it with laws whenever a child was born. Perhaps some law prohibited to name your son Gehn if there was a living individual called Gehn. At least, perhaps you could name your son Gehn if some prerequisites are met, eg. your name is not also "Aitrus", or you live in a different district from that Aitrus guy, or that your permanent residence is found on different Ages etc

Then again, the vast majority of D'ni names are untranslatable which could possibly indicate that they were meaningless and improvised. If that's so, then you can have virtually infinite 'D'ni names' (provided that they sound "right" and not like Ggfrligkj'ni), so chance resemblances can be highly unlikely; although sometimes you could name your child after an ancestor or an historical figure at some circumstances.

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