PROJECT Language/Culture: Naming People, Places, and Things

Discussion in 'DEVELOPING CHARACTERS & CULTURES' started by Minibit, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. Every language has it's own quirks that make it unique, and having different languages in a world can really help show diversity and roundness in it's creation; but here's the thing

    How are you going to show off your language if your roleplay/story will, by necessity, be written mostly in English?

    You can express a lot of culture in HOW THINGS ARE NAMED!



    • When naming people, consider that every culture has some basis on what makes a male name or a female name. It can be the names meaning (in English, girl's names often have meanings associated with virtue or beauty), sound (in English, boy's names often end on consonants, whereas girl's names tend to end on 'ah' and 'ee' sounds), or length (You could have boy's names be one or two syllables, whereas girl's names are long and elaborate). But make sure there's some divisor between girl names and boy names.
    • When naming places, consider the history of that place. In a country soaked in war and bloodshed, they are unlikely to have multiple villages called 'Happyville' and 'Lilytown'. They are more likely to have fortified cities than multiple vulnerable villages, and their cities will probably have names to do with fortitude, valour, victory, and strength. Conversely, a culture that values science and knowledge will probably have names that are homages to advances in technology, or nods to influential historical figures and events. This should also be considered when naming people.
    • You're unlikely to find a group of gnomes that actually call their village Tiny Town. To them it isn't tiny, it's perfectly to scale. Avoid naming things in one culture from the perspective of another. Children in Nigeria don't call it Nigerian Tag, they call it Catch Your Tail. Come up with creative names for common things that cultures might have their own variations on.
    • Does the culture you are creating have any (rational or irrational) hates or fears? If you are writing a culture that is magic-phobic, they are unlikely to call something magic, even if it is. It's more realistic for a magic-phobic society to name a found magical item something more scientific-sounding, so they can pretend it isn't really magic. This also works with cultures who have a special love or obsession for a certain thing (eg. nature; religion)
    • Let's talk geography! Many places and people are named after the area they are built on or come from. Is this country or province largely reliant on the sea, fishing and trading? Is it a mining town far in the mountains? Perhaps a culture of nomadic plainsmen? Their names are going to reflect their heritage, which is as much to do as where they are from physically as it will historically and personally.

    Done reading? Great! Let's play!

    So! Considering all of the above; let's build a country!

    You can use this form if you want, or freeform. If you do freeform, try to include some of the elements listed in the form.

    Country Name:
    Why this name?
    Common Boy's names:
    Common Girl's names:
    A children's game:
    A sport name:
    A local profession:
    A local dish:
    Some slang terms:
    The name of the Capital City:
    The name of a culturally significant area or landmark:
    The name of an important building (ie a temple, palace, or school):

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  2. Country Name: Madreega
    Why this name? Named after the first daughter of the founding family, who was the first child born on the new continent.
    Common Boy's names: Nikk, Jorna, Tryton
    Common Girl's names: Mirabelle, Luranda, Heyl
    A children's game: Oyster Bowl
    A sport name: Stratos
    A local profession: Caravan Guard
    A local dish: Sunken Fish Pie
    Some slang terms: Piratte (street thief), Hwnta (outsider), Cledda (brainy).
    The name of the Capital City: Rodham
    The name of a culturally significant area or landmark: The Wold Wood
    The name of an important building (ie a temple, palace, or school): The Aeyrie, a vast airship port a top a tall, needle thin tower at the heart of Rodham itself.
  3. Country Name: Brichana
    Why this name? When humans first arrived on this frigid land they barely survived the harsh weather and called the land Sqeknana, Frosty Death, and as they evolved to handle to cold they renamed the country Brichana, Frozen Beauty.
    Language: Oganian
    Race: Zith'ogana
    Ruler: Loun'phe & Lua'ghan
    Common Boy's names: Loun'phe, Tsek'lou, Zek'waku
    Common Girl's names: Lua'ghan, Pha'lua, Ghan'yi
    A children's game: Ice ball (slightly similar to football)
    A sport name: Esselite racing (A quick, risky and competitive sport)
    A local profession: Hunter
    A local dish: Fried tuna with potatoes, flavoured blubber and sous based on Esselite milk and fat.
    Some slang terms: Katkou (Moron), Zouli (Newbie), Ambut (Nice)
    The name of the Capital City: Aer'lau
    The name of a culturally significant area or landmark: The Frozen Waterfall [Laun Charang]
    The name of an important building (ie a temple, palace, or school): The three sacred temples of Ghania, Kadya & Priume.
    Other: Brichana is a smaller continent in the far south of Yuriaah, it is a barren tundra with a few small abies forests spread out were it the land offers best nutrition, Brichana have herds of Esselite grazing on whatever they can find and they are hunted by the Zith'ogana to provide clothing and food but otherwise people have to rely on the sea to survive. Mountains rise in the south and one of the few places where you can land a ship is in the north, in the bay by Aer'lau, but only skilled captains can navigate the myriads of icebergs surrounding the country. The people elect a leader every five years that rule from the capital city, a governor takes care of matters in other towns, a married couple rule together with equal power and can be re-elected by the people after their five years are up. A and I are mostly added in feminine names while E and O are masculine and U is used for both, children gets part or their whole name taken from one or both parents, or in some cases other relatives.