1. TkTish
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    TkTish Member

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    Can't decide on a name to use!

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by TkTish, Feb 14, 2016.

    For over 10 years, I've had a race of humans that can shift into various wild cats (big cats like lions and tigers and smaller cats like sand cats and servals). When not in their cat form, they look like humans, but have aspects that distinguish them from other humans, such as faint stripes if they have stripes in their cat form.

    Anyway, for that whole time I've referred to the race as "Nekoni" (yes, I made them at the height of my obsession with anime... "neko" = cat and "oni" = demon, though the race itself are not demons (anymore)). The race has yet to appear outside of plot bunnies and story notes, but the current story I'm working on features the race and it might get off the ground and out to an audience.

    So, my trouble is... Should I keep the name as is? Or should I go with something else? My current ideas for a new name are the following:

    - Felid (scientific name for cats in the felidae family)
    - Felian (a play on the above term)

    Usage in a sentence...

    Felid
    - "The felid (would I capitalize it?) walked into the room." or "The felids left the room."

    Felian
    - "The felian walked into the room." or "The felians left the room."

    I'm leaning toward "Felid" since it seems to sound better when said out loud. Opinions are appreciated!
     
  2. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    Just "werecats". The idea of were<animal> is pretty grounded in pop culture.
     
  3. Defender
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    Defender Senior Member

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    what about felian tigermen?
     
  4. terobi
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    terobi Contributing Member

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    Felid is fine - but it does put me in mind of "flid", a slang term for someone born with severe deformities due to the mother's taking of thalidomide.

    Have you looked at other languages, or even various cultures' folklore? I assume there are probably legends of cat people somewhere in the world, maybe they've got a groovy name you could use?
     
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  5. TkTish
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    TkTish Member

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    I wanted to stay away from were<animal> in this instance because it just doesn't feel like the right fit. When I think of were<animals>, I think of campy movies (though I don't know why lol). The word I'm looking for would encompass many different types of cat-people. I feel like it'd get tiring to do were-jaguar, were-tiger, were-lynx, etc when I could just make a word to encompass everyone as a whole. If that makes sense!

    Huh, I've never heard of that slang term! I guess I'll try to stay away from that.

    I did find the Greek word ailouros (cat), which could possibly be morphed into something like "Ailuran" or "Ailurian" I like that word too and it has a nice fantasy look/sound to it.
     
  6. terobi
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    terobi Contributing Member

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    To be fair, the Kitty Norville books tend to do this quite a lot and it works reasonably well.
    It's probably falling out of use considering thalidomide has been banned in most countries for decades for exactly that reason. Still, I thought it was worth pointing out.
     
  7. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    You can utilize the stigma by having your characters actively acknowledge it. Satire could help add a new dimension to your work.
     
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  8. TkTish
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    TkTish Member

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    That won't fit with this particular story, but I'll definitely keep this idea in mind for more modern stories that use this race!
     
  9. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    What about just inventing a completely fictional word? Rakinerans? Sekesh? Something that sounds like cat noises.
     
  10. DeadMoon
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    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like the name "Nekoni", it gets my vote.
     
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  11. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    I think the appropriateness of "Nekoni" depends one or both of two things. First; is this thing set in Japan or styled in any way noticeably like an anime? And two; was the name invented by the race?
     
  12. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Who has given them the name, in your world? Like - have they named themselves? What language do they speak? What are their cultural roots?

    Or if someone else named them, what was the attitude of the people who named them?

    Think of, for example, North America's indigenous peoples. Europeans first called them "Indians" out of ignorance. Then they started getting a bit more autonomy and some have chosen to be called Native Americans, some prefer First Nations. And each group, of course, has their own names for themselves in their own languages.

    So, to continue the example, it would make very little sense for a First Nations group, in their own language, to name themselves something based on Greek or Latin roots. They'd use their own language.

    If your cat-people have been living entwined in Western culture for a long time, it might make sense for them to be called something based on Greek or Latin roots, but if they haven't, and if they're the ones who use the name you're giving them, they'd probably use something with roots in their own language.

    Maybe I'm overthinking it, but made-up words, to me, are best when they make sense in the context of the rest of the story, not just when they sound cool in isolation.
     
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  13. TkTish
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    TkTish Member

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    At first, yeah it was all very anime-like when I made it. But that was so long ago, just about everything about the race has changed.

    They named themselves and they all speak the same language, but with regional variations (almost like the difference between American English and British English). The cultural roots are kind of tricky at the moment. I based the culture itself off Native American culture (specifically the Northeast area because that's what I know best). That's the culture the race sticks to at the beginning of their timeline. But as time passed and the various groups came together and began mingling with other races, they and their culture became much more of a melting pot and the tribe mentality they stuck to in the beginning fades away. That's why they need a name that covers all of them. Yes, each group has their own name, but that is just mostly for my information and has yet to show up in an actual story anywhere.

    Most of the stories that feature this race at the moment have definitely lived in a more Western-inspired world (the current story they appear in is very Steampunk).

    All of that said, after talking to some friends about this last night, I think I'm going to go with Ailuran as the blanket term for the race and use "were-cat" or "were<type of cat>" as a derogatory or slang term said by others. Thanks, everyone!
     
  14. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    Chimera, Changers, Shifters, Bildungsromen, Kitsune, Mimics, Puca.
     
  15. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Bildungsromen? That seems a bit out of the blue...
     
  16. Heck
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    Heck New Member

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    I think the simplest thing is to replace the k with another letter. "Nekoni" sounds really good and just rolls off the togue. But having "neko" might paint your race in a way you don't want. So, change the k.
    "Netoni"
    "Nevoni"
    "Nesoni"
    Or re-arrange
    "Nenoki"
    "Kenoni"
    etc
    They all sound good. It's just a good word.
     
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  17. Seraph751
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    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

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    Being a fan of anime myself I got a kick out of your use of "Nekoni" It's unique in western culture or least in the genres I read so it sticks in my mind.
     
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