Elw naming customs
Elw naming customs have a long history and are widely used in Elwynn still to this day, also among other peoples than Elw. The Elw differentiate between given names and surnames. There are several types of surnames: dynastic (i.e. a family name), patronymic (derived from one's father), metronymic (derived from one's mother), toponym (derived from a place), epithet. An Elw individual would have at least one of these as a surname, but would often also combine some of these. There have been instances of people having very long surnames, especially when combining the already long surnames of one's parents.
In Elw tradition, a person has at least one given name, often more than one. This name is assigned at birth. As time passes, more given names may be added as the individual. An individual may use different given names in different contexts. The parents may call their child with one of the given names, but the child's friends might use another of the names, and so on.
In the last 200 years or so, names from the Ashkenatzi Holy Book and other foreign names, especially Treesian, Babkhi and Norse, have been hugely popular, with native Elw names becoming rare due to their perceived "boringness". They are perceived as boring as they do not denote any qualities or poetic aspirations for the child, but rather are matter-of-fact names
Native Elw names tend to be unisex. Among the native Elw names we find names such as:
- Isur, Isor ("guide", usually named for children who are unplanned but a welcome surprise),
- Ai ("child", "descendant", often a child is named so after the parents have tried to have a child for a long time and finally have one),
- Ken ("the older", i.e. the first child in a family),
- Adasyr ("the first", i.e. the first child in a family)
- Malu ("the second", i.e. the second child in a family)
- Nila ("the third"), i.e. the third child in a family)
- Nua ("the girl"), for a daughter
- Nuan ("the boy"), for a son
- Nunu, a mix of nua and nuan, named so for a child whose parents were convinced that it had another gender before being born, or for a child of indeterminate gender at birth
- Samu ("the fourth"), i.e. the fourth child in a family
- Li ("moon", for a child born during a moonlit night),
Elw surnames are complicated. Elw culture recognizes the following types of surnames: dynastic (i.e. a family name), patronymic (derived from one's father), metronymic (derived from one's mother), toponym (derived from a place), epithet.
Dynastic names are very similar to Istvanistani/Common surnames, are almost always of a noble or foreign origin. Common or famous dynastic names are Aireoon-Kalirion, Osmoni, Verion, Avon-El, Dariolin, Buvonzake,
Metronymic and patronymics
Elw culture is historically matrilinear for women, that is, you derive your line of heritage, tribe, family from your mother's side, and patrilinear for men. In the past 200 years, however, this has changes, and Elw society does not value one's maternal over paternal genealogies depending on your own gender; rather both are afforded equal importance. In practice, however, the more important lineage (father's or the mother's) is generally the one that is more prestigious (noble, etc.).
As such, metronymics are an important aspect, and historically, the most common form of surnames in Elw culture for women. But in the past 200 years, it has also been used commonly for men (it has always been used for men, for example, when the paternity is unknown). In constructing a metronymic or patronymic, one takes one's mother's or one's father's name, and adds a suitable suffix:
- -nai, "child", "descendant", assimilated/realized also as -ai, -ui, -oi. For example Soreaa Isurui is the daughter of Isur (in this case, her mother). As such, her name means "Soreaa, child of Isur". Another example is Li Naomiai, where it means Li, daughter of Naomi.
- -(i)on, -jon, is a loaned suffix from Hyperborean, and has been adapted in Elw as an adjective/possessive marker. Kaiseress Isa IV, born Elsa Kasanrajon is Elsa, daughter of Kasanra (Cassandra).
Sometimes people have both a metronymic and patronymic, for example: Daniel Marenai-Eqlarion; Daniel, son of Mare (his mother), and Eqlar (his father).
That said, many names that on face appear metronymic or patronymic, are not; rather they have become inherited surnames, very similar to the dynastic ones. A famous example is of course Kalirion (child of Kalir)
If one moves from the place where one has grown up, it has historically been the case that one then takes a toponymic name to explain where one is from. If Milu moves from Glenfiddich, he/she might have gotten the surname Lenfidiqion ("of Glenfiddich"). Usually, the -on/ion/jon suffix would be used, but also -nai/ai/ui/oi occurs. Sometimes, the place name of origin remains intact. For example, EWP politician Pedyr Mekaarveq is from the farm of Mekaarveq.
In these days, however, most toponymic surnames are inherited from previous ancestors. For example, Isa Kaliandaron Qor was neither from Kaliandare or Qor.