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On Calenyena Naming Practices


March 2, 2016 by Lyn Thorne-Alder

Calenyen names fall into three general categories:

  • Names that have meaning in Calenyen, or in an old variant of Calenyen: a name that means Grace when jumping or the sun over the river.
  • Names that have meaning in another language – Bitrani or Tabersi or the Arran tongue, for example, and have usually been shifted to fit within the Calenyen alphabet.
  • Names which combine pleasing sounds, often involving repetition of sounds or of complete syllables.

In addition, names follow the Calenyen gender rules for nouns. Nouns are either useful, useless, or beyond use. “Beyond use” includes things like the sun, the mountains, the moons, gods, and the oceans.

These genders are noted by the initial sound:
Useful nouns begin with a “plain” consonant: K, L, P, T, D, B, G.
Useless nouns begin with a palatalized consonant: ky, ly, py, ty, dy, by, gy

For example:
plunder, spoils of war: daikiz.
souvenirs, useless trinkets brought home from war: dyukez

In text, palatalized consonants are shown as a strike-through line on a plain consonant.

Beyond Use nouns begin with a vowel: ai, i, aa, a, e, ie, u, o, oo

(There is an Audioboo guide to these vowels here.)

It was the custom long ago for the leaders of a clan or family to take on a name of a geographical feature, a “voweled” name. When the Calenyena settled in Reiassan and became the empire, the first Emperor declared that, going forward, only the descendants of an emperor/empress could begin their name with a vowel. This would have been met with a great deal of resistance, but as it was the final law of a dying man, it was allowed to pass.

There are no laws regarding naming your child with an initial palatalized consonant, unlike naming them with an initial vowel, but suggesting your child is useless is generally considered rude and a case of poor parenting.

For more notes on the Calenyen language, see here.



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