1. Stormsong07

    Stormsong07 Contributor Contributor

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    Fantasy surnames

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Stormsong07, Jul 2, 2017.

    Working on creating the surnames for a fantasy country. I want some sort of family naming system based off parental names, a bit like the "mac" often found in Scottish names.
    There are two examples from books I've read that keep popping into my mind.
    In Tamora Pierce's Wild Magic series, last names are based off of parents. So, the main character's last name is Sarrasri, because her mother's name was Sarra and "sri" is attached to the end of a female name. When the MC finds out who her father is, she realizes she can change her name to Weirynsra. Her father's name is Weiryn, and "sra" is added for a male name.

    I like this idea, but don't want to just rip it off, obviously. But I like the idea of adding an ending to the parent's name to make it the child's surname. Only issue there is that all characters last names will end the same way. Not sure I like that part.

    In Cinda Chima's seven Realms books, a prefix is added to the parent's first name. So Raisa (mom) and Han (dad) are the parents. Their daughter becomes Alyssa ana'Raisa and their son Adrian sul'Han. "ana" obviously being for girls and adding the female parent's name, "sul" being for boys and adding the male parent's name.

    I think I like the prefix idea better. I'm just having trouble coming up with my own system.

    My main character's name is Kaelie. Her mother's name is Rosalie. I want to do something using Rosalie's name (or a portion of it) as Kaelie's last name. But I am stuck.

    Ideas I've toyed with:
    Kaelie vai'Rosalie (makes me think German, too similar to "von")
    Kaelie vi'Rosalie (too many of the same-sounding endings, lol)

    ...and everything else I've tried in my head just sounds weird or dumb. Any ideas?
     
  2. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    I have a similar system worked out for one of my projects, originally inspired by Norse patronymic surnames. I ended up looking up words for 'from' and 'of' in a bunch of languages to get ideas for 'place' names to stick onto said places. I like the way prefixes sound better too, and it makes more sense for place names, so I went with that. Same thing for family names - it's been years since I worked this out and I'm pretty sure I've lost my notes on it actually, but I think I might've looked at 'child' in different languages to get ideas for them? As in Firstname [child of]Lastname.

    I didn't use the actual non-English words, just used them for general ideas. Plus, I'm working with a far future setting and the concept of old Earth languages getting messed up and repurposed in various ways fits - for fantasy I'd just use it as fodder for what sounds work well together.

    I ended up using lu- (indiscriminate of gender) and found it sounds nice with most names. For place names I used av- which sounds enough like 'of' that it's unobtrusive, which I figure is mostly what you wanna go for. I don't use any punctuation between it and the parent name, just capitalize the parent name, but that's sheerly an aesthetic choice.
     
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  3. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    For mine I used parents names as middle names and family names as last names.
    -rash-- son of (father's name)
    -rasha-- daughter of (mother's name)
    and less commonly...
    -rashai-- daughter of (father's name)
    -rashar-- son of (mother's name)
    For surnames I use prefixes attached to the name of an "arparent", or the ancestor they take their name from.
    Ar- family name. A man's children take his arname.
    An- a married name. Both men and women take their spouse's arname as their anname, but women are usually the ones who use it.
    At- a couple name taken from the husband's arname. Refers to both the husband and wife together.
    Ad- refers to a whole family, taken from the father's arname.
     
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  4. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I know you prefer the prefix but if you're having trouble settling on something you like, don't discount a suffix. Slavic Languages are well known for this, but less well-known is the fact that Romance Languages also had this tradition. Hernández is "son of Hernán", Domínguez is "son of Domingo", Vázquez is "son of Vasco", etc. The suffix formula tends to evolve differently from the prefix formula. The prefix tends to use an actual word syntax to connect the name altogether, where the suffix formula tends to evolve from grammatical case systems. Not always, though. Names like Anderson and Peterson are clearly making use of a complete word as a suffix and then the surname is rebracketed over time. In fact, all these kinds of surnames tend to get rebracketed as the systems that gave rise to them fall out of use*, but tradition causes some families to hold on to the names. In this case the rebracketing takes the form of the structure no longer actually indicating the name of the parent. In short, your dad doesn't have to be Peter for your surname to be Peterson these days.

    *These systems invariably fall out of use as groups get larger and more interconnected over time. What once held meaning in a small band of 50-ish people starts to lose any useful meaning as a settlement becomes a village becomes a town becomes a small city, etc.

    "Peterson? Which Peter's son? There were at least 35 Peters in our town at last count...."
     
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  5. rktho

    rktho Contributor Contributor

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    Also, you could use "core names" from Zahn's Thrawn Trilogy for something unique. Might be too alien though.
     
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  6. Kallisto

    Kallisto Ruler of the world... somewhere... Contributor

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    If you can't find a solution entirely by the powers of your own imagination, then look to reality. How are real surnames found?

    You see these names that are like Smith. That's a Germanic way of creating a surname. People took on the surname of their occupation. If you were a craftsman of some sort your last name would be Schmidt or Smith. If you were a farmer, it would be Bauer or Farmer. If you made shoes, you were a Schumacher or a Shoemaker or a Cobbler. You can even get specific like a Messerschmidt or a knife smith. Now many of these people when they came over to the US, had their names translated so that's why there's so many Smiths and Cobblers and Shoemakers.

    In Scandinavian countries, where fame was everything, you took on your father's name. You have the famous Viking Leif Eriksson. He was named that because he was the son of Erik the Red. Get it? Erik's-son? Eriksson? If Erik the Red had a daughter, her name would be Eriktotchtor or Erik's Daughter. That's similar to what your author you cited is doing.

    There are numerous other way surnames are generated, so have fun! Look it up!
     
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  7. JPClyde

    JPClyde Senior Member

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    That's often how I do my names like Kallisto. Either their surname comes from their occupation, heraldy title, or where they came from if their occupation is not significant enough.
     
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