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--- In [log in to unmask], Thomas Wier <trwier@u...> wrote:
> From:    Carsten Becker <naranoieati@B...>

[cut-and-pasted out-of-order to keep together the parts to which I reply.]
 
> > OBConlang: Are there special naming patterns in your
> > conlangs? My Ayeri people go by happily with [family name]
> > [first name(s)]. 
> 
> At one point I discussed this briefly on this list some years ago,
> but I can't seem to find it in the archives.  At any rate, the 
> Phaleran government in the conculture has two chief executives,
> one hereditary and one elective, both serving for life.  But they
> have *only one naming* line, and as a result they usually have 
> at least three or four names apiece, and each of those can be 
> receive a number, like "Elthani III Aiasa IV Worunti (I)"

Interesting!  Is it available on-line for us to read?
 
[cut-and-pasted out-of-order to keep together the parts to which I reply.]
 
> From:    Carsten Becker <naranoieati@B...>

> > [snip]
 
> > Americans seem to be more liberal with
> > first names than other Western countries.
> 
> But Liberal in what sense?  It is true that America does not have,
> and never has had, laws proscribing which names are legal and
> which are not -- unlike, say, the Danes and some other European
> countries.  But precisely for that reason one cannot easily
> generalize about American names; one can only talk about 
> particular subcultures.  In my family, for example, every male,
> with one exception*, in my patriline going back for almost 300 years 
> has had the first name of "Thomas", and I only narrowly avoided
> becoming "Thomas Percy Wier IV" (praise be, my mother vetoed 
> this suggestion).  Many families in America, especially but not
> exclusively in the South, have strong traditions like this that
> informally constrain what names are possible.  Even that is only
> a generalization; in Texas, the name "Travis" is a fairly common
> name, since it honors the famous hero William Barret Travis 
> who died in the Alamo. That Travis, however, had only one daughter
> before he died, and so his progeny are not yet so numerous that 
> everyone who has the name first name "Travis" can trace their 
> ancestry to him.   
> 
> *(The one exception was a certain David Stuart Wier, and he was
> born *200* years ago this year!)

> [snip]

> Mark Reed:
> > I find the common European practice of restricting the set of names you 
> > can give your child utterly ridiculous. Many cultures find the idea of 
> > giving their child a reused name abhorrent; aside from not moving to 
> > those countries, they would seem to be out of luck.
> 
> This is true;  I am told (by Jewish friends) that Jews have specific 
> superstitions against it.  I can see both sides of this:  on the one
> hand, you don't want to define people by who their ancestors were,
> but on the other, people aren't defined by who their ancestors were
> anyways (in societies without titles of nobility that confer real 
> advantages at least).  Personally, I like such traditions, and find 
> that many people who don't like them usually do not do so because they 
> have such traditions but choose to flout them, but rather because they
> don't have such traditions to begin with.  That is, the very fact that
> you can't trace your ancestry back 150 years means that you don't 
> understand people who (like me and many people) can trace it back 500 
> or 1000 years.
> (FWIW, I am the 11th person out of 28 people in my patriline in the last 
> 1000 years with the name Thomas.)

I am reminded, by the above two exchanges (between Carsten & Tom and between Mark & Tom), of a program I saw "some time ago" (sorry I can't remember when), about a certain Greek island with the following "rules" for personal ("given", "Christian") names:
 
Sons:
* The first-born son is always named after his father's father.
* The second son is always named after his mother's father.
* The third son is always named after his father's oldest brother, if his father has or had a brother.
[I'm not sure about these next two rules coming up.]
* The fourth son is always named after his mother's oldest brother, if she has or had a brother.
* The fifth son is always named after his father's second-oldest brother,
etc.
 
Daughters:
* The first-born daughter is always named after her mother's mother.
* The second daughter is always named after her father's mother.
* The third daughter is always named after her mother's oldest sister, if her mother has or had a sister. (This rule may be "... one of her mother's sisters ...", rather than strictly "her mother's oldest sister".  But I'm sure I remember the third son is named after his father's /oldest/ brother.)
[I'm not sure about these next two rules coming up.]
* The fourth daughter is always named after her father's oldest sister, if he has or had a sister.
* The fifth daughter is always named after her mother's second-oldest sister,
etc.
 
.....
 
I'm not sure the above "rules" are all there is to it on that island (of which I 
can't recall the exact name); but, following those rules, the parents' right to 
innovate a name only begins with the third son and/or third daughter, and, 
even then, only if the father has no brothers (for the third son) and/or the 
mother has no sisters (for the third daughter).
 
Has anyone else ever heard of this?
 
-----
 
Tom H.C. in MI




		
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