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Random name generators

Discussion in 'Writing Resources' started by filkata, Jun 23, 2019.

  1. filkata

    filkata New Member

    Hello, a coder here. Been working on a random name generator mobile app with a focus on generating truly random but pronounceable names, not something off a pregenerated list like Bob Johnson, but more like 'Lafrea' and 'Jakilson', but you wont get anything like 'Ghtrhjksx'.

    I am wondering if you guys find such a tool useful? In what context? What option would make such a tool more useful?
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  2. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    I use them already and there are a more than a few out there. One of my faves is donjon. I find the Markov generator especially useful as it lets me choose what sort of names I want it to riff off.
  3. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    I would like a tool that understands how naming works (linguistics). It would generate place names according to a set of rules on how place names work, which would be different from how personal names or family names work. Or names for objects. There is not one, universal set of rules for these things, so the software would let me pick. Ideally it would also provide some (consistent) variants of spelling.

    As an example, think of how towns are named. There is often a reference to geography appended, so we get Whateverburg or Whatevercastle. In French, lots of towns named for the neighboring river--Whatever sur Rive. This, whereas geographic entities themselves often have their attribute as part of the name; e.g., the North Sea. It's not just "the North," although it can be either the Rhine or the Rhine River. Word order gets odd here. Here in America we call it Lake Superior; almost never is it Superior Lake. But over in Oregon it's Crater Lake and not Lake Crater. Humans are funny that way. The River Styx but not the Styx River.

    Anyway, every name generator I've seen has little or no sense of these considerations. Names are generated at random rather than the name being part of a larger geographic and historical context. You can produce plenty of names this way, but it's hard to weave a world from such a source.
    Dark Lord Thomas Pie likes this.
  4. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

    I've mentioned the Everchanging Book of Names before. One of the podcasters from Writing Excuses mentioned it once, so I gave it a go. I love it. I use it all the time. I've even been able to build my own "library" based on male American names; basically, it's a data set of names that EBoN uses to generate new names.

    One thing I'll do when beginning a new project is to generate long lists of names I can return to whenever I need a new name for a story. Since each library has a cultural base, this helps to keep new names sounding like they belong in a single fantasy locale. If I have more than one culture in my world, I'll generate lists for each culture.
  5. james435231

    james435231 New Member

    I have used a random name generator tool for male name ideas and This is one of the best online name generator place.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2020
  6. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    Za'dok Khoal likes this.
  7. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    I like it. Two main issues. First, no description of what the name means; second no distinction between male and female.
    Za'dok Khoal likes this.
  8. A. E. Lowan

    A. E. Lowan Forum Mom Leadership

    I actually like both those aspects. They give us more room to play with a name and make it our own.
  9. Futhark

    Futhark Inkling

    I generally use The Meaning and History of First Names - Behind the Name because I like to have those meanings and cultural context to flavour my world. As skip.knoxskip.knox says, a random name generator that considers cultural, historic, and geographic linguistic elements when building a list (cause lists are always better) of names would be very useful. I only know the fundamentals of coding, but maybe a database of real life examples, with their appropriate tags (culture, time period, region; that sort of thing), could be used as the...source? (don’t know what it’s called)...to scramble and generate the list with possible meanings if required. For instance, Abeba means ‘flower’ and Dejen means ‘foundation, support’ in East African Amharic, so a random name could be Dejeba, which could mean ‘foundation of flowers’. Hope that helps.
    Last edited: May 3, 2020
    A. E. Lowan likes this.
  10. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

    I've used awkwords for this purpose, though it's more for doing general words than it is for names specifically (but then again, what are names but a kind of word, amirite). It's a word generator tool for conlangers. You set the allowable consonants, the allowable vowels, the allowable codas, and then the general syllable structure and then it generates a word list that satisfies those parametres. A phone app version of that would be a massive hit for conlangers, I think.
    Night Gardener likes this.

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