Names

Personal names on Ooranye, at least among the Nenns, are more purely individual than are names used on Earth.

That is to say, names do not run in families as consistently as they do on Earth.  Though "surnames" are not unknown on Ooranye, they tend not to be a reliable guide to who is descended from whom, except in the unusually dynastic-oriented Vanadium Era. 

Connected with this, another and even greater difference is that Uranians, almost without exception, are not named by their parents.  Instead, they name themselves.  A Nenn is born with awareness of nen's name.  It is the first sound that the baby utters, and is duly noted.   

Furthermore, as time goes on, the phenomenon of Uranian reincarnation becomes increasingly relevant: a Nenn born into nen's second or third life will remember nen's name from nen's previous life and use that name.  This factor alone would be sufficient to disrupt dynastic name-systems, even without the innate hostility of Uranian culture to the idea of dynastically inherited power.  The case of Fiarr Fosn is a famous instance of this, and, interestingly, his rebirth occurred in the Vanadium Era, a time to which the above observations often do not apply - but they did apply in his case.

Uranians commonly have a first and second name, as most Terrestrials do.  But the relative status of the two names is more vaguely defined than our "first name" and "surname".  Sometimes the person will be known and addressed mostly by nen's first name, sometimes by the second, sometimes by both.

Uranians are jealous of the individuality of their names.  It is very rare for something on Ooranye to be named after someone.  Rather than be considered an honour, to have something named after you would more likely be considered as an insulting dilution of the reference-power of your name, which by rights should belong to you alone.  Occasional exceptions have occurred in history, such as the naming of Norkoten Hall after the 64,702nd Sunnoad.

Of course, they are fooling themselves in thinking that every individual's name is unique.  There aren't anything like enough names to go round, when you consider all the thousands of millions of Nenns who have ever lived.  In fact at any one time, even in the same city, there are probably many Nenns bearing the same name.  But this is not something that they like to think about. 

 

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