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Names..

Postby erikut » Tue May 25, 2004 11:37 am

i am really bad at making up names for fantasy and im making a story rigth now (link under) just that i have few names for my characters :oops: so i need help. anyone just make up names that may fit and ill probably use them.

Thank you... :D
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Postby Formendacil » Tue May 25, 2004 6:07 pm

Names fit for what? Elves? Dwarves? Witches?

An idea of who the name will belong to would help. Of course, if I think a really good name, I'll probably keep it for myself. But if its not suitable to my cultures, I think about passing it on. :D
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Re: Names..

Postby footsteps » Wed May 26, 2004 1:24 am

I took a quick look at your site to get an idea of what kind of world you are creating. My first impression is that you are borrowing a lot from Tolkien with your names. I would suggest that you veer away from that trend and strike out on your own.

What you need to do is set a theme for each of the peoples that will populate your world -- elves, men, dwarves, evil, etc. Tolkien set a standard of sorts for this. His elvish names drew inspirations from Finnish/Hungarian tongues. Dwarves were drawn from Norse and perhaps a bit of Central Asia. Hobbits reflected rural England.

So, choose a cultural theme for each people and use it as inspiration (though not slavishly copying either). Let names roll off your tongue and see how they feel through the spoken word. My pet peeve are names that use complicated or unnecessary letter combinations for simple sounds, so keep it simple is my advice.

Hope that helps.

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Postby Dada » Wed May 26, 2004 1:49 pm

Hello :D
Here an address which makes it possible to know the elf or hobbit translation of a "traditional" name.
I hope that will help you... :wink:

http://www.chriswetherell.com/elf/
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Re: Names..

Postby Glencaer » Wed May 26, 2004 9:15 pm

footsteps wrote:Dwarves were drawn from Norse and perhaps a bit of Central Asia. Hobbits reflected rural England.


Okay, my studies from college focused on Central Asia - so.. which names are you refering to? I never really saw much central asia-ness to Tolkien's dwarves.

As for naming in general, there are two routes I recommend. First, you can find names from a particular place you want (ie, in Norse mythology books, for example - I find success in like Ancient Assyrian and Sumerian names as they are odd and fantastical sounding but people are generally not aware of them). In addition to this, you can easily change the names slightly to develop names of your own (ie Sargon can be Sagon or Salgon).

Secondly, I've found a lot of success in trying to develop a name system that is different than normal naming rules. For example, Chinese names put the last name first (ie, my name would be Hoffman Leonard rather than Leonard Hoffman).

A system I developed was for a dwarf kingdom I kinda developed but havent built for where the family name would be a part of their name. ie, a character I created was Feftin. "Fef" was his personal name, "-tin" was his family name. Family relativity could be told by how close the family names were to eachother, beginning with the last letter moving forward. Fefdan is somewhat close to Feftin, Fefdin is very close, Fefkyz is nowhere close, Feftil would also be nowhere close, even tho it shares two of the letter of Feftin.

The personal part of the name need not be limited to any number of letters. I had a character named Odan, and a character named Methendan.

The royal family was given a special surname of "-dastar" - such as Fodastar or Kolekedastar. Generally speaking shorter names denoted a more militaristic/stronger personality (Empire was conquered by Odastar) and longer names denoted more cultured/artisitc/weak personality (The artist king, Felosheznamadastar)

This is just a basic explanation to help you develop your own system.

Of course, when in doubt, there is nothing wrong in naming your characters simply. Remember, Medieval England was populated by Georges and Williams and Johns.

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Re: Names..

Postby footsteps » Thu May 27, 2004 12:21 am

Glencaer wrote:
footsteps wrote:Dwarves were drawn from Norse and perhaps a bit of Central Asia. Hobbits reflected rural England.

Okay, my studies from college focused on Central Asia - so.. which names are you refering to? I never really saw much central asia-ness to Tolkien's dwarves.


It was more of an impression on my part. Not so much in the personal names as in place names -- lots of Zs and Ks and such just seemed to have a CA feel to them. As I said, just an impression on my mind.

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Re: Names..

Postby Formendacil » Thu May 27, 2004 3:29 am

footsteps wrote:Tolkien... Dwarves were drawn from Norse and perhaps a bit of Central Asia.


Well, somebody brought up Tolkien, and they found something to quarrel/argue/politely discuss. I guess it was inevitable that I get involved. (For the record, I am a self-styled Tolkienologist-in-training.)

I want to point out that the names of the dwarves in the LR and the Hobbit are all authentic, unaltered (except perhaps in the anglicization of the spelling) Old Norse names. Old Norse dwarf names. This is true for each ever member of Thorin & Co., Gimli, and the dwarves who we know went with Balin to Moria, and every other dwarf mentioned in passing.

The dwarf language, however, is another matter. What you need to understand is Tolkien's idea that the dwarf tongue was a mostly secret language, used by dwarves with dwarves. It is also important to know that the dwarves keep their true 'dwarf' names secret, and used 'outer' names in their place. Since most or all of the dwarves in the LR or the Hobbit come from mannish regions where the language is represented by Old Norse, the names used for these dwarves in the books are Old Norse. We are never told any of the secret names of any of the dwarves.

The language of the dwarves, used among themselves, was not kept deliberately secret at first, but hardly any non-dwarves learnt it. Very few examples of it are to be found, but here are the ones I can think of: Gimli's battle-cry at Helm's Deep (Baruk khazad, khazad ai-menu!), the names of the three mountains above Moria, (see: "The Ring Goes South", I believe), and the dwarven names of Moria, Belegost, and Nogrod (see Vol.s XI/XII of the History of Middle-earth).

When Tolkien designed these bits of language, he deliberately used sounds that were both a little unusual, and which contrasted his elven tongues somewhat. In addition, they are different from his excerpts of Black Speech. I don't believe that at any point Tolkien studied or knew much of Central Asian languages. Such similarity as there is must be coincidental. :D
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Postby Robin Hood » Thu May 27, 2004 3:51 am

Hmmm, well when I make up names. I make them up! I just put together sounds that I like.
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Re: Names..

Postby footsteps » Thu May 27, 2004 3:57 pm

Formendacil wrote:I want to point out that the names of the dwarves in the LR and the Hobbit are all authentic, unaltered (except perhaps in the anglicization of the spelling) Old Norse names. Old Norse dwarf names.

Agreed.

The language of the dwarves, used among themselves, was not kept deliberately secret at first, but hardly any non-dwarves learnt it. Very few examples of it are to be found, but here are the ones I can think of: Gimli's battle-cry at Helm's Deep (Baruk khazad, khazad ai-menu!), the names of the three mountains above Moria, (see: "The Ring Goes South", I believe), and the dwarven names of Moria, Belegost, and Nogrod (see Vol.s XI/XII of the History of Middle-earth).

Yes, this is what I was thinking about when I made the reference to CA. It was just a wild flyer on my part, trying to cover all bases. But as you say, the similarities probably had more to do with coincidence than with purpose.

Back on topic for this thread :wink: I think the consensus is to find a theme to apply to each people group and go with that.

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Postby erikut » Thu May 27, 2004 5:51 pm

thanks all you whit ideas how to do this and i guess this ill make it much easier to make names. but just continiue to helm me whit this
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Postby Robin Hood » Thu May 27, 2004 8:34 pm

Hmmm, well I can't really give names. I haven't got any at the moment. What language do you speak regularally? Don't ask why I am asking this, I am not sure myself, but maybe I will be better able to help you.
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Re: Names..

Postby doctorsparkles » Thu May 27, 2004 11:08 pm

Formendacil wrote:
I want to point out that the names of the dwarves in the LR and the Hobbit are all authentic, unaltered (except perhaps in the anglicization of the spelling) Old Norse names. Old Norse dwarf names. This is true for each ever member of Thorin & Co., Gimli, and the dwarves who we know went with Balin to Moria, and every other dwarf mentioned in passing.




As I was reading a Norse Mythology book some time ago, I noticed that all of the names of the dwarfs sounded very familiar. Then I realized that it was because each of them was used by Tolkien in The Hobbit. I thought that was kind of neat.

Anyway, when choosing names, I use a number of sources. First, I check history books, and even baby naming books. I'll take names from movies and books. There are also a couple of websites that I frequent, such as www.behindthename.com. Check out http://www.sca.org/newcomers.html and scroll down to the "Who to be in the SCA" section. All of this has been immensely helpful to me.
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Postby Daimyo » Fri May 28, 2004 1:59 am

I believe names should ahve a meaning to them. Hence, if you had an undead or necromacer, call him Cadaveras or Necrophelo, something exquisite yet death related. Just don't slap some generic name on. Suppose your guy was a thief. You could give him any first name, but give him a last name like Darkcape or Blackcloak or Daggerhand, or Shadowhood, or whatever. If he was a holy paladin, a sort of Romanesque name, like Minicus or Leotaric or something. Give the names culture.
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Postby Bricksidge » Fri May 28, 2004 2:15 am

Names that are completly related to a specific job are often very cheesy. The y also limit the ability for the story teller to expand the character, for the character to be dynamic.

Here are some good name resources:

http://www.kleimo.com/random/name.cfm

http://www.baby-name-generator.com/

http://www.behindthename.com/

http://spitfire.ausys.se/johan/names/default.htm
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Postby Formendacil » Fri May 28, 2004 3:08 am

In developing names for my characters, I generally go for something that sounds good, and seems to jive with the other languages from that culture. Explanations can wait on that.

(And no, I'll not share any of the names. They're mine, my own! My precious!) :twisted:
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