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Naming Dillema

Discussion in 'World Building' started by RiverNymph, Aug 25, 2021.

  1. RiverNymph

    RiverNymph Scribe

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    Hi there! I just joined this forum because I'm planning to write a book and this seems like a great place to get feedback! Anyway, I'm not sure how to explain this well so bear with me.

    Okay so I don't really know much about my story yet other than the fact it will be about orcs in a positive light, I've always had a soft spot for orcs and feel they're used too often in a bad way. So when it comes to making them I'm having issues. I sort of understand that orcs naming structure seems to be: First Name Tribe/Last name - Achievement (I don't know if that's the right way to phrase it)

    I want the names to sound orcish but not brutal if that makes sense, for example all I can really find are names like Ragork Elf Shredder, Borgarth Eater of Souls, Orgraok Spine Crusher. And well that's great and I love that, I need more tame and less violent names. More like when people are named after the profession in a way.

    Anyway I understand if none of this makes any sense, I'm just hoping someone has ideas or ways for me to come up with names for my Orcs that are cultural but not so aggressive and violent.

    - to add to this, I'm not sure if this is important in the naming process, but I plan to have a military hierarchy sort of like;
    High Chief > Chieftain > Personal Guards to the Royal Family (don't quite have a name yet) > Commanders/Warlords > The realms army (I still don't really have specific names for each member of the Royal guard and titles and whatnot)
     
  2. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Auror

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    Yay! Orc stuff and naming conventions. Some of it may come down to what in particular you want your orc's primary thing to do. I tend to give my personal orc's more clan oriented names. From the Fisheater's to the Redmaw's and other such with the general guttural first name naming conventions. Thus I have a character named Yurra Fisheater, a clan matron and with several given titles. The names are of importance too, despite the silliness of the last name Fisheater, said fish tended to be sharks, so the family symbol is a shark jaw. I also have some with names like Goldenfield's and the like, coming from heavy farming stock, or Waverider, denoting an island and sea going tropical orc family.
     
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  3. RiverNymph

    RiverNymph Scribe

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    Oh I like that a lot! That's more along the lines I was wanting, and it works well from peasants to high nobility!

    Last names aren't even really my issue, it's first names. How do you think of orc sounding first names?
     
  4. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

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    If you want merely occupational surnames, they could have last names like Smith or Chandler or Tailor. All of those are actual occupational names.

    You could also keep the names like Spine Crusher while making them a more peaceful race than their names imply, and explain that with a historical footnote. Maybe their situation is similar to the Cherokee, who commonly have last names like Mankiller or Sixkiller. Those names originated as honorifics given to warriors who had done well in battle, and those warriors were honored because they defended the tribe. Today, people who do a great service for the tribe might be similarly honored, although that typically doesn't mean killing.
     
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  5. Rosemary Tea

    Rosemary Tea Archmage

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    Orc sounding first names are actually names that sound vaguely Norse or Germanic, to Anglophone ears. Follow that convention, and any vaguely Norse or Germanic sounding name will do, even if it's pure nonsense. (You can, of course, say it means "great river" or "beautiful maiden" or anything you want it to mean, in the old Orcish language.)
     
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  6. RiverNymph

    RiverNymph Scribe

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    I see what you mean! I kinda want to go inbetween whatever usual orc last names are and traditional occupational based last names! Maybe a mix of the two. Thank you for your advice. :):shame:
     
  7. RiverNymph

    RiverNymph Scribe

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    Thank you! I'm gonna look more into this, maybe just create a spreadsheet of names and ways to combine them to be unique.
     
  8. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Auror

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    They do tend to be a bit, well, a bit simple. At the same time you don't really expect one to go around named Timothy Jackson the Third. I think it comes down to how one is expected to talk with tusks and more fangs then the normal being. From the likes of Granash, Azgog and to other sorts. Again, a big thing seems to be the guttural aspect. Got to be growly.
     
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  9. RiverNymph

    RiverNymph Scribe

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    Agreed :happy: thanks! Gonna keep this in mind when I start making them.
     
  10. Saigonnus

    Saigonnus Auror

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    For given names maybe the male and female names have certain commonalities. Maybe the male names always have "X" at the end... or in the middle, and use O or U near the end, while female names have "Y" and use E or A. Rixus vs. Riyas

    Tribe/Clan names might come from a geological feature within their territory. Mist Falls, Ebon Plain, Night Cave, Green Rock. Blood Lake. or maybe creatures that dwell in their lands. Bone Scorpion, Night Wolf etc.

    I like the idea above of using the profession or occupation for the surname since it gives a kind of homage to the real world; where often times people had the same name; and there needed to be a way to differentiate one John from another. That's why you get John Miller and John Baker living close to John Castle.

    Maybe for the orcs though it's a little more literal, so you can keep that brutality... Cornmasher (miller), Hidescraper (tanner), Ironpounder (smith), Grogslopper (makes/sells spirits), Oxpuncher (rancher), Tentburner (raider)

    So you have Rixus Cornmasher of the Ebon Plains clan. His wife is Fiya Tentburner originally of the Rock Gully Tribe.
     
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  11. Chasejxyz

    Chasejxyz Inkling

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    A lot of my phoenix names are just French names but I tweak the sounds and change the spelling. Piaget --> Piazhe

    Scroll through baby names.com or something until you find some names that suit what you're looking for, look for the language/culutre they're from, then search "Popular X names 1700s" or "Uncommon X last names" or some such. Make a list of things you like, even if it's part of a name, so you can mix and match later. As you alter names to fit your setting better, you'll start to get a feel of what would other types of names would fit your orcs, then you can start using parts of names or make up totally new names, too.
     
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  12. RiverNymph

    RiverNymph Scribe

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    That's a really good idea! Thank you for your input, I appreciate it a lot. It definitely helps me look at it in a simpler way, I tend to over-complicate things haha.
     
  13. RiverNymph

    RiverNymph Scribe

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    Good idea :D thank you!
     
  14. ButlerianHeretic

    ButlerianHeretic Minstrel

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    I find an easy way to make cultural names is to skim maps of a particular country and pick city names I like then maybe tweak them a bit. You can create subtle differences between cultures that way, say use German for one tribe, Swedish for another, and Icelandic for yet a third. Here are some occupational names off the top of my head:
    Wirespinner (it takes a mile of wire or about 1.5km to make a mail hauberk, incidentally), Scalehammer, Axewrought, Swampfisher, Drawhide, Barkstrip, Polesplit, Logwedge, Chopshingle, Bundlereed, Crushflaxen, Tallowmelt, Ploughfeld
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2021
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  15. ButlerianHeretic

    ButlerianHeretic Minstrel

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    Also, the "Medieval History TV" channel on YT has a lot of stuff about everyday life that might give some good ideas. Also the Timeline series "Secrets of the Castle." For more martial stuff Scholagladiatoria is a historian, HEMA instructor, and weapons collector. Knyght Errant has a lot about medieval armor. Skellagrim has a variety of destructive testing of armor with different weapons that are great. Todds Workshop has lots of testing too, including bringing in some experts in their various fields.
     
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  16. ButlerianHeretic

    ButlerianHeretic Minstrel

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    Also, good on you giving orcs a fair shake. Considering how popular they have been in WoW, I'm constantly surprised that more folks are portraying orcs positively in fiction these days.
     
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  17. LAG

    LAG Troubadour

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    Fgali
    Ugralo
    Krangi
    Fragra
    Kagno Greenbark
    Ignag Groggrower
    Gagnali Wainboss
    Ungiko Moonborn
    Nangral Redbeard
    Kraskach Tallfield
    Mongo the Mole
    Pragnok Poemspitter
     
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  18. RiverNymph

    RiverNymph Scribe

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    Thank you!! Definitely will check this out!
     
  19. RiverNymph

    RiverNymph Scribe

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    These are great suggestions, thank you!
     
  20. RiverNymph

    RiverNymph Scribe

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    I have always loved orcs and felt they deserved better representation :D
     
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