On Mon, 21 Jan 2013 15:10:11 -0500, J. M. DeSantis <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>On 1/20/2013 8:33 PM, Rich Harrison wrote:
>>> Some of the language, to me, sounds very good to my ear, though, as
>>> usual with my conlangs, I find concentrating on the language first
>>> results in awkward names. Whereas, creating names first, makes the
>>> language difficult to build properly.
>> Do names have to mean something in your languages? Can't names just be
>> arbitrary, semi-random, pleasant sounding strings of phonemes?
>Well, everyone may correct me if I'm wrong, but I was under the
>impression that all names, the world over do have some meaning behind
>them, even if from older forms, parent languages or borrowings from
>other languages. If there are exceptions to this rule, I'd certainly be
>willing to hear them.

That's certainly the norm.  But, for instance, Black names in the US, for instance, often _are_ complete inventions.  To me, this is a reasonably logical short step from the status quo of the surrounding culture, with so many of the sources being Biblical and of etymology completely unrecoverable to the unHebrewed layman, others Classical and nearly as unrecoverable, and so our names seem to have no non-onomastic meaning.  

But I don't think this could arise without some kind of culture-mixing disruption like this, or elseĀ at least a long long semantics-effacing history (if all your peers' children are named "Wind" or "Fortitude" or "God has smiled on us", are you really going to name yours "Shaniqua"?)  And I think meaningless names are over-represented in artlangs, accordingly.