1. TyrannusRex
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    TyrannusRex Member

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    Name for an Arabic Character?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by TyrannusRex, May 26, 2016.

    I've been reading into Arabic naming customs to try and create a name for a protagonist, and while I think I understand how it works, I just don't know any Arabic names (other than what was on Wikipedia).
    I'd like to give him a full Arabic name, and then simplify that for Western use, as both could be brought up in the story.
    If you'd like to know backstory, just ask! Might provide some inspiration.
     
  2. Soufiane
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    Soufiane New Member

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    Hey there, I could help you with that as I'm Arabic myself.
    As you said, it would be easier if I had more informations.
     
  3. TyrannusRex
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    TyrannusRex Member

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    Thanks!
    I haven't come up with much yet, except that he was born in Riyadh, but he was raised by his godparents in Greece (probably Rhodes) from, say, age ten. He's energetic and sociable, as well as a successful businessman. I don't really have much else built out; pieces of the story are just swimming around in my head! :)
     
  4. Quixote's Biographer
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    Quixote's Biographer Member

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    Isn't it relevant whether or not he's the first-born son? Or am I thinking of something different entirely (which is likely) :) ?
     
  5. TyrannusRex
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    TyrannusRex Member

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    Just in case it is relevant, he's an only child.
     
  6. Ziggy.
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    Ziggy. Member

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    You make the moon our mirrorball.
    I have the Character Naming Sourcebook on PDF if you need a copy? It's got plenty of Arabic names and meanings.
     
  7. TyrannusRex
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    TyrannusRex Member

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    I'd appreciate that, Ziggy.
    Like I said, I'm trying to create his full name (with patronymics and everything) as well as a "westernized" version that he uses for business. From what I've read on Wikipedia, Arabic transliteration is weird.
     
  8. TyrannusRex
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    TyrannusRex Member

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    I've thought it over some, and while I'm still undecided, I kind of like Aqil, "intelligent, wise" or As'ad "luckier".
    Apologies if I got those wrong, here's the source: http://www.behindthename.com/names/usage/arabic
    :)
     
  9. Soufiane
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    Soufiane New Member

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    As'ad means ''happier''.
    ''Luckier'' is probably what you would get if you use Google translate. So I would check that one out again.

    Also, Aqil or Akil is exactly what you said: wise.
    It can also be used for a woman (Aqila, Akila)

    *Even thought I wrote Aqil(a) and Akil(a), you can use any of the two, they have the same meaning. It's just like writing ''christofer and christopher''. Same meaning, same pronunciation, but a different way to write it.*
     
  10. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    You could reach out to some of the Arabs living in your area. As long as your character isn't a terrorist, I'm sure you'll find someone who'd be happy to help.
     
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  11. Soufiane
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    Soufiane New Member

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    @Sack-a-Doo! LOL, have to admit, that made me giggle.
     
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  12. TyrannusRex
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    TyrannusRex Member

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    :rolleyes:No, no terrorists! (He's a self-made entrepreneur. Oil industry, though, so that's kind of stereotypical.)
    Admittedly, I live in a small town with almost no cultural diversity, so I've never had the privilege of meeting people of various backgrounds. I've made it a point to learn about other cultures, though.

    What about a biblical-inspired name? (I like the sound of Uriah, although the Hittites were Turkish/Anatolian.)
     
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  13. SweetOrbMace
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    SweetOrbMace Member

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    Hi, being from Saudi I think a lot would depend on his social class. If he is from a high-profile family (maybe even the royal family? The Saudi royal family is massive with hundreds/thousands of princes so it's perfectly possible, though if he is a self made entrepreneur I guess he would not be) then it would be common to have: <Given name> bin <Father's name> Al <family/tribal name>.

    An example being well-known Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Waleed (given name) bin (son of) Talal (Father's name) bin (son of) Abdulaziz (Grandfather's name) al Saud (Family/tribal name). He (and other's with that name structure) are generally referred to as Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal.

    So taking your earlier suggestion you could have Aqil bin As'ad Al Riyadhi (being really unimaginative with his family name!)

    As for biblical inspired names, some common ones are:

    Yusef = Joseph
    Musa = Moses
    Dawud = David
    Ibrahim = Abraham
    Ismail = Ishmael
    Isa = Jesus
    Sulayman = Solomon
    Haroon = Aaron

    Hope that helps a bit.
     
  14. TyrannusRex
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    TyrannusRex Member

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    Anyone know the meaning behind Aban? Is it an older name?
    EDIT: For a family name, what if I wanted it to mean "from Ammon", as in the ancient Semitic-speaking kingdom near present-day Jordan? Or is that a bit far-fetched?
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2016
  15. SweetOrbMace
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    SweetOrbMace Member

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    The internet suggests its a Quranic name meaning "eloquent" or "lucid." If it comes from the B-Y-N root, that seems plausible.

    Someone from Ammon would be Al-Ammoni (The Ammonite). Top Arabic grammar tip: For giving someone a family name meaning "From a place," or just creating an adjective describing where someone is from, take the name of the place, put Al in front and an "i" on the end if it's a man or "iya" if it's a woman. You have now created a "nisba adjective" and can feel pleased with yourself.

    As to whether it's far-fetched... I don't know I'm afraid. Is your story set in the present day? I would think it would be unusual given the gap in time between the demise of the Ammonite Kingdom and now. But I'm sure stranger things have happened.
     
  16. TyrannusRex
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    TyrannusRex Member

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    I suppose that names have a lot of potential to change in that amount of time...
    What about "The Jordanian"?
     
  17. SweetOrbMace
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    SweetOrbMace Member

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    Al-Urdani

    Edit: Be aware that names such as "So-and-so the Jordanian" or wherever are a popular format of nommes de guerre among jihadists. Obviously you shouldn't let a minority of idiots ruin a perfectly good and centuries/millenia old naming tradition, but perhaps be ready for some raised eyebrows among any more-ignorant readers.

    If you wanted to get more historical, you could research some of the tribal names from that area.
     
  18. TyrannusRex
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    TyrannusRex Member

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    :supershock:"Well, I feel sheepish." -Genie, Aladdin (Sorry, couldn't resist.)
    Would "Al-Badawi" mean "The Bedouin"? I know that the Bedouin are (semi)nomadic, but I'm trying to create a good selection to choose from.
     
  19. SweetOrbMace
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    SweetOrbMace Member

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    Don't feel sheepish! As I said, it's a perfectly legitimate and long-standing naming convention. Unfortunately it has been rather besmirched recently. Reclaim it, I say.

    Al-Badawi would mean the Bedouin yes and is a reasonably common name in Saudi and the region. So, quite safe to use. I do rather like Al-Ammoni though. It's unusual yes, but not implausible. I guess to non-Arabic speakers it would mean nothing, but to those who understand it's a fun and intriguing little tidbit of background. Maybe it is a name he has taken on himself after some genealogy research? A nom de entreprise perhaps...
     
  20. TyrannusRex
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    TyrannusRex Member

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    :supercheeky:Hmm... intriguing. :superthink:
     
  21. TyrannusRex
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    TyrannusRex Member

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    Okay, everyone, I have something here that I kind of like. Tell me what you think/if I got this right:
    Aqil bin Yusef bin Aban Al-Ammoni
    Aqil, son of Yusef, son of Aban, the Ammonite
    Now, how should I go about westernizing this name, because the story does not take place within his homeland, and most of the other characters will refer to him with a westernized name.
    (Postscript: If anyone on the forums is skilled with Greek or knows someone who is, I'd appreciate their help as well, because as mentioned, he was raised for a time in Greece, and I don't know if a Greek pronunciation/adaptation would differ from an English one.)
     
  22. SweetOrbMace
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    SweetOrbMace Member

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    Sounds good. His business card would probably just say Aqil Al-Ammoni.
     

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